Swedish coffee bread: A Christmas tradition

Swedish coffee bread: A Christmas tradition

As soon as I saw the Swedish coffee bread on Elise’s Simply Recipes, I knew I’d make my own. The original plan was to bake it last Sunday because I thought that Sam would just love to drizzle the glaze over the newly baked bread but she went back to the condo early Sunday morning, I lost momentum and baked nothing on Sunday. Yesterday, I was by myself in the house and I decided to do some baking. I made one wreath of Swedish coffee bread and eight cheese and sausage rolls.

According to Sara, Elise’s reader who sent her the recipe, coffee bread is a traditional Christmas dish in Sweden. So, although most recipes yield a braided bread, Sara likes to form her coffee bread into a wreath which I found lovely. My Swedish coffee bread closely follows the recipe from Simply Recipes (Elise is one of the few food bloggers whose recipes I trust) although I did make a few tweaks here and there (I didn’t add any egg), and I used my own concoction for the filling.


  • 1/2 c. of full cream milk
    1/4 c. of water
    1 tbsp. of instant dry yeast
    1/8 c. of melted butter, cooled
    6 tbsps. of sugar
    1/2 tsp. of salt
    1/2 tsp. of ground cardamom
    1 c. of all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
    1/2 c. of bread flour
    1 tsp. of vegetable oil

    For the filling, mix together:

    1/4 c. of butter, softened
    1/4 c. of dark brown sugar
    1 tsp. of ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. of ground nutmeg
    1/2 c. of chopped pecans


  1. Make the bread. Whisk together the flours, salt and ground cardamom.

    Scald the milk. Pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in the water. Leave until lukewarm. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture. Leave for 10 minutes.

    Add the sugar and melted butter to the yeast mixture. Stir. Add half of the flour mixture. Mix. The dough will be wet, sticky and lumpy. Add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together.

    Dump the dough into a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, dusting with flour sparingly, until no longer sticky. Form into a ball.

    Brush the inside of a bowl with vegetable oil. Put the dough in the bowl, turning it around to coat the surface with oil. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise for about two hours.

    Punch down the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Form into a log. With a rolling pin, flatten the log to make a long rectangle.

    Spread the filling on the dough.

    From one of the two long edges, roll the rough…

    … keep rolling until you have a neat log.

    Take the log and transfer to a lined baking dish (I used a pizza dish), forming the dough into a ring. Pinch the two edges together so that everything is neat.

    Using kitchen shears, slice the dough diagonally at two-inch intervals without cutting all the way to the inside of the ring. Ideally, the slices should be an even number.

    Take one slice of dough and pull it toward the inside of the ring. Do this alternately. And this is why the slices should, ideally, be an even number. But I’m bad in Math, I cut and cut without counting so I had an extra slice which, I hope, you won’t notice.

    Leave the dough to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.

    Ten to 15 minutes before the dough is done rising, preheat the oven to 325F.

    Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes.

    The bread should be nicely browned on top by the end of baking time.

    Make the glaze. Place 1/2 c. of sifted powdered sugar in a bowl. Add a teaspoonful of water. Mix. If the mixture is pourable, drizzle over the bread. If the mixture is still too thick, add more water, a few drops at a time.

    The Swedish coffee bread is so called because it is best served as an accompaniment to coffee. I had mine with iced coffee yesterday. When Speedy got home, he had his with hot coffee. And he loved, loved, loved the Swedish coffee bread. It just might become a tradition in our family, Christmas or not.

Cooking time (duration): about 4 hours

Number of servings (yield): 1 14-inch wreathwreath

Meal type: dessert

  • paruparu

    Hi Connie,
    I am very glad with the 2 posts you did on Swedish Christmas food. I have been spending 7 straight years of Christmas in Sweden with my husband and 2 toddler sons. Meatballs is a must for 2 kids as well as Prinskorv (small finger sausages) during Christmas eve dinner. I miss Philippines terribly especially during holiday seasons. Reading both Pinoycook ad House on a Hill helps a bit to diminish homesickness. More power and thanks again!

    • Connie

      I’m just discovering Swedish food and, so far, I l’m liking it a lot. :)

  • dyosamom

    Nice Ms. Connie! =) I saw that extra slice you were hiding.. hehe

    • Connie


  • Doddie


    I love your countertop! This recipe might be a hit with hubby who loves anyting with a glaze on it.


    • Connie

      My original plan was to make three different glazes — red, green and white — but I got lazy hahaha

      • http://www.pinkmagaline.com Mrs. Kolca

        Waaah. I wish I have a nice oven to bake this with :(

      • Ebba

        I cringe on the thought of baking..as much as I cook ok, baking for me is such a disciplined task; even making boxed brownies – it does not come out good.. but I love freshly baked bread and this recipe seems so less intimidating. The step by step picture is so helpful that I might try it this Saturday, along side with this wheat pandesal recipe that I found in Utube. Thanks so much. I have been a lurker but has not left a comment. This time, I make sure I do drop a note. Salamat ulit.

        • Connie

          I’m uploading my pan de sal recipe today. :)

          • Nadia

            Hi there..just finished making this today and i want to thank you for posting this recipe. It’s soooooooo good! Since there’s just 2 of us here i was thinking that next time i would cut the dough in half and make 2 smaller wreaths para mabaon sa office yung isa hehe. Now i know what i’d be contributing for our Christmas day lunch. Thank you so much Connie!

          • Connie

            You’re welcome! Nice departure from the usual cakes and brownies, ‘no? :)

          • http://mintlair.blogspot.com mintlair

            ms. connie, question po uli. is ground cardamom readily available in supermarkets? Cherry Foodarama doesn’t have it. I’m going to try at Landmark Trinoma later. I’ll be cooking 4 of your recipes for our Christmas Noche Buena. :) hope it’ll be successful. Thank you again :)

          • http://mintlair.blogspot.com mintlair

            ms. connie, is ground cardamom readily available in supermarkets? if wala pong makita, what would be a good substitute? I’ll be cooking 4 of your recipes for our Noche Buena. :) thanks again, ms. connie :) happy holidays!

          • Connie

            Try Santi’s.

            There is no substitute, unfortunately.

          • http://mintlair.blogspot.com mintlair

            hello ms connie! is the dough really sticky? i have a problem kneading it kasi sobrang lapot po :( I am not sure po kung ano yung mali na ginagawa ko. Any tips po? thank you.

          • Connie

            It is sticky at first (but not very after adding the second half of the flour) so you dust it while kneading. The stickiness goes away after about 5 minutes of kneading.

          • http://mintlair.blogspot.com mintlair

            thank you, ms connie. yung sa akin po kasi watery siya after adding the first half of the flour then sticky by the time I add the second half. I did it twice na po, kasi baka naparami lang po yung water ko and milk the first time. pero ganun pa rin po ang results. I’m determined to try it again.

            thank you also for the quick reply. :) merry christmas po!

          • Connie

            The total liquid (milk and water) is only 3/4 cup. After adding the first batch of flour, the mixture shouldn’t be watery at all. See the photos in the pandesal recipe — that contains even more liquid.

          • amoritak

            Hello Connie,

            I love your cooking and I love your Swedish coffee bread. I am a Filipina who live in Sweden (20 yrs now) and this bread is my family’s favorite. They come in different versions. This version is actually called kanelkrans (cinnamon wreath). The quintessential Swedish coffee bread is topped with gourmet sugar/pearl sugar (Swedish: pearlsocker) and has 2 different names depending on the filling. One is kanelbullar (cinnamon roll) and the other one is vanilj bullar (vanilla roll, when it’s filled with vanilla sugar only and softened butter). I love the sugar mixed with water as topping though as I don’t want any sugar crystals falling when am eating. This coffee bread is also excellent with just a glass of cold milk. Hope you’ll post more Swedish food recipes…maybe the equally popular Swedish meatballs?

          • Connie

            I know that you’ve found my a la Swedish meatballs after you posted your comment. :) And, yes, there will be more European dishes on the blog as we discover new things everyday.

  • dyosamom

    My cousin in law is Swedish and everytime his parents visit Pinas, they always bring bottles of Lingon berries which were handpicked by Farmor (Swedish term for Lola).. So yummy and perfect for baked ribs and other dishes as simple as baked luncheon meat with cream… and very timely for the holidays too! =)

    • Connie

      I just came home from the supermarket and there was no lingonberry jam. Will look elsewhere. I’m really curious.

  • http://simplyrecipes.com Elise

    Your Swedish coffee bread is gorgeous!

    • http://joyjoycreativeoutlet.blogspot.com Joy

      That is so cool.

    • Connie

      Thank you, Elise. You’re such an inspiration. :)

  • http://mintlair.blogspot.com mintlair

    hi ms connie! what’s the size of your pizza dish? thank you :)

    • Connie

      15″ I think.

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  • Donna GM

    looks yummmyyyyyy! will definitely try this one. saw the extra heheheh. I’m cooling the Perfect custard cake, can’t wait c if its perfect :)

  • Connie

    Oh I hope it is perfect. We love custard cake.