The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do you grind whole cardamom pods into crushed cardamom, not ground cardamom?

Julie J's picture
Julie J

How do you grind whole cardamom pods into crushed cardamom, not ground cardamom?

I just wanted to ask if anyone can tell me how to grind whole cardamom pods that have the green shell removed into crushed cardamom.  This is cardamom that isn't totally ground, but has the seeds intact when you bake the bread.  My mother inlaw in Finland gave me an amazing family recipe for Finnish pulla (cardamom bread), but you can't find that type of cardamom over here in the U.S.  I have to bring the cardamom back from Finland, and I would love to give everybody here the rceipe because it is REALLY GOOD, especially when you bite into the crushed seeds of the cardamom pod.  I have tried coffee grinders,  hammers, sides of knives, etc., and still can't get it crushed the way I want.  You can get cardamom online that lists:  Cardamom seeds, but it is much larger than what you buy in Finland, and I don't how it gets crushed finer...thanks anybody!!  Everybody loves this recipe when I make it for them...


Julie J

LindyD's picture
LindyD

They are used to crush ingredients, so that may be an option.

Julie J's picture
Julie J

I tried the mortar and pestle too...much too hard!  Thanks anyway!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

You have to pinch/peel the seed covering off and discard. I know it is a pain, but it is worth it. --Pamela

xaipete's picture
xaipete

You might be able to crush the seed covering with a mortar and pestle, but it is easier to do with a canning jar bottom or a veal pounder on a cutting board (in my opinion).


--Pamela

Julie J's picture
Julie J

I tried that too, and it was a pain and even with the green shell off, I still can't figure out how to crushed the pods.  They are very hard!


 


Thanks!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Oh, I understand what you are doing now. I put them in a spice grinder (coffee grinder that reserved for spices). If you don't have one of those, you can use a combination of whacking and crushing them on a cutting board with the edge of a heavy, e.g., cast iron, pan.


--Pamela 

Julie J's picture
Julie J

Thanks for your help!  I will try the cast iron pan...I have tried a coffee grinder and it didn't work either!  I thought the coffee grinder would be the one thing that worked, but it didn't!


Thanks again!  I have never encountered such a hard spice to crush!

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I just tried crushing one with my veal pounder and it crushed fine. These veal pounders come in handy for all sorts of things, e.g., pounding the pin back into my KA mixer.


--Pamela


xaipete's picture
xaipete

Crush the green seed covering and remove it (it's like removing the covering of garlic), then crush the little seeds. This absolutely works because I've done it a number of times.


--Pamela

ejm's picture
ejm

I see I am too late to say that I use an electric coffee grinder to turn cardamom seeds into cardamom powder (veal pounder great idea!)


To clear out any coffee flavour, I clean as best I can with a soft dry cloth then whir a few grains of uncooked rice along with a few cardamom seeds. That goes into the compost and the coffee grinder is ready for crushing cardamom seeds. (I'm really surprised to hear that your coffee grinder didn't work, Julie! It takes no time at all for our coffee grinder to crush cardamom.)


-Elizabeth 


P.S. I shell the cardamom pods first. I don't think there is ever any shell in commercially powdered cardamom (unless it's accidentally there).  


 

Julie J's picture
Julie J

Thanks a bunch you guys!  This is a great forum to get the help you need from fellow bakers!  If I figure out another way, I will post the recipe for this wonderful Finnish pulla...you can make it with ground cardamom, but you don't get the wonderful bite of good taste from the coarser seeds!  I didn't try my own coffee grinder...a friend tried it and said that she didn't get it to do anything in hers, so I figured that none would work!   Thanks a lot you guys!


 


Julie

ejm's picture
ejm

I'm really looking forward to the recipe for Finnish pulla, Julie. And you're right that grinding your own cardamom seeds is better than using powdered. I make an Icelandic layer cake (Vínarterta) that calls for ground cardamom. We always like it better when I grind the seeds rather than using commercially powdered cardamom.


-Elizabeth

Julie J's picture
Julie J

Just wanted to say thanks to Pamela and Elizabeth!  Thanks for all your help!


I am going to try a coffee grinder and when I figure out how to get the cardamom the way it is in Finland, I will post the recipe for everybody!  Everybody loves it here whenever I make it for them!!!


I also printed out your Iclandic cake recipe!  Thanks for that too...my sister inlaw in Finland makes some spice cakes with ground cardamom that are really good too!


Later,


Julie

Attila's picture
Attila

How about using a rolling pin?

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I was surprised, too, that Julie had trouble grinding with an electric grinder. Mine works fine on cardamom seeds. I clean my grinder with a few pieces of leftover bread. I didn't know that rice would work too. Great tip. Thanks, --Pamela

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Which is more like a mortar and club.  It's the shape and size (inside) of a shallow soup bowl but grey and stone.  Works great.  No nut or hull has been able to resist.


I think caraway is harder.  The trick with an electric (coffee) grinder is to put in enough seeds for it to work.  If the amount is small sometimes it helps to add something else, like sugar, to increase the volume in the grinder.


Mini

ejm's picture
ejm

Good idea to add sugar to increase the volume for grinding, Mini. (I just saw one of those Indonesian garlic presses at my parents house! We didn't know it was for garlic and used it to crush brown mustard and nigella seeds. If I was still there, I'd try it out on cardamom....)


-Elizabeth


P.S. You grind caraway before adding it to bread? I've always just added it whole.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

depends on my mood if I use ground or whole caraway.  In rye bread I tend to use ground and in white bread and rolls, whole on top as well as inside, more decorative.  Use less powdered than whole.


The "garlic press" is just my name for it.   Indonesians use it for such also adding chillies, kamiri nuts, etc.   I grind all kinds of stuff in it and it sits inside an open weave casserole basket to protect the counter top (or whatever).  The nice thing about the flat shape of the stone mortar is that after grinding spices for say ...  steaks, the liquids for the marinade can be added to the bowl and the meat can be dipped right into it.  I scrub it with a brush and ever so often run it through the dishwasher.  I crack all kinds of nuts with it too. 


The stone comes from quarries in West Java, in the hills across the water from Krakatau.  (Now doesn't that sound exotic?)


Mini


 

copyu's picture
copyu

That's 'stone' in English...Heheheh!


I lived in a beach cafe/restaurant in Malaysia for 6 months or so (30+ years ago)


There was no electricity, no running water, no gas supply...all foods were hand-processed and cooked with wood or charcoal. The only sizeable 'kitchen appliance' for making curries, processing seeds, garlic, chili, etc, was 'the stone'...TWO stones, in reality...one roundish and hand-sized...the other cupped, either by design or by daily use...


Ahh! The good old days! The food was fantastic!


Cheers, and thanks for the nostalgia,


copyu

Julie J's picture
Julie J


My Finnish Mother Inlaw's recipe! It is really good!


Finnish Cardamom Buns (Pulla)



4 tsp. active dry yeast


2 ½ cups milk, heated to lukewarm


1 tbsp. crushed cardamom (not ground cardamom **)


1 stick butter, very soft


1 tsp. salt


1 cup sugar


Approx. 7 ½ cups flour


1 egg for the pulla, beaten (plus 1 later for brushing the pulla)


 


Heat milk in pan on stove to lukewarm. Pour milk into large bread bowl and stir in the yeast. Let sit for about 7 minutes to proof. Add all ingredients except the flour and butter and stir well. Stir in about 3 or 4 cups of flour, then add the softened butter and mix it pretty well into mixture. Add the rest of the flour (you will probably have to use your hands to mix and knead it now). Knead for about 10 minutes. Cover bowl with lid or dish towel and let rise in a sunny & warm place for about 1 to 1 ½ hours.


Lightly flour table and remove pulla with a dough scraper to the table. I cut it into 2 pieces to make it easier to handle, and cover half of the dough with dish towel to keep moist. Roll one piece into a log shape and cut pieces off with the dough scraper and roll into a ball, maybe a little bigger than a golf ball. I put about 12 pieces on a jelly roll pan that has either been greased or has parchment paper on it. Parchment works better. Cover with dish towel and let sit at least 15 minutes to rise again before baking it. The other pans will sit longer than that, but it is okay! Use other dough the same way, and cover for 15 min.


About 5 minutes before baking, get some cold butter out of the fridge and 1 egg. Beat egg in a small bowl and you will need a pastry brush and white sugar too. Take your thumb and make an indentation in each pulla bun on the first pan. Put a small piece of cold butter into center of each bun. Brush each bun with beaten egg and then take a small amount of white sugar and sprinkle on top of buns. Try not to get too much sugar on bottom of pan because the pulla will get black, burnt sugar rings!


Pulla burns easily, so watch it carefully! I bake them at 400 degrees and bake for about 12 to 14 minutes. I preheat my oven for about 20 minutes too. Pulla likes a really hot oven. I also put my oven rack on the highest level.


For Stale Pulla: Take pulla and fry in butter in the frying pan until browned. Let cool enough to spread with strawberry jam and top with whipped cream! Yum!


** I bring home crushed cardamom from Finland, and you can only buy whole pods of cardamom or ground cardamom in the U.S. You can make it with ground cardamom, but I don't think you will get the same bite of flavor with the ground that you do with the crushed cardamom. You bite into the seeds and get a nice burst of flavor with the crushed cardamom. You can order cardamom seeds online without the green pod, and crush them in a coffee grinder until they have a sand-like consistency. The crushed cardamom feels like sand. I've tried taking the green pod off the whole pod of cardamom and it was such a task, that I would order the seeds online! Enjoy!   Everyone loves this recipe!


Julie J


 


 


 


 


My Finnish Mother Inlaw's recipe! It is really good!


Finnish Cardamom Buns (Pulla)


 


4 tsp. active dry yeast


2 ½ cups milk, heated to lukewarm


1 tbsp. crushed cardamom (not ground cardamom **)


1 stick butter, very soft


1 tsp. salt


1 cup sugar


Approx. 7 ½ cups flour


1 egg for the pulla, beaten (plus 1 later for brushing the pulla)


 


Heat milk in pan on stove to lukewarm. Pour milk into large bread bowl and stir in the yeast. Let sit for about 7 minutes to proof. Add all ingredients except the flour and butter and stir well. Stir in about 3 or 4 cups of flour, then add the softened butter and mix it pretty well into mixture. Add the rest of the flour (you will probably have to use your hands to mix and knead it now). Knead for about 10 minutes. Cover bowl with lid or dish towel and let rise in a sunny & warm place for about 1 to 1 ½ hours.


Lightly flour table and remove pulla with a dough scraper to the table. I cut it into 2 pieces to make it easier to handle, and cover half of the dough with dish towel to keep moist. Roll one piece into a log shape and cut pieces off with the dough scraper and roll into a ball, maybe a little bigger than a golf ball. I put about 12 pieces on a jelly roll pan that has either been greased or has parchment paper on it. Parchment works better. Cover with dish towel and let sit at least 15 minutes to rise again before baking it. The other pans will sit longer than that, but it is okay! Use other dough the same way, and cover for 15 min.


About 5 minutes before baking, get some cold butter out of the fridge and 1 egg. Beat egg in a small bowl and you will need a pastry brush and white sugar too. Take your thumb and make an indentation in each pulla bun on the first pan. Put a small piece of cold butter into center of each bun. Brush each bun with beaten egg and then take a small amount of white sugar and sprinkle on top of buns. Try not to get too much sugar on bottom of pan because the pulla will get black, burnt sugar rings!


Pulla burns easily, so watch it carefully! I bake them at 400 degrees and bake for about 12 to 14 minutes. I preheat my oven for about 20 minutes too. Pulla likes a really hot oven. I also put my oven rack on the highest level.


For Stale Pulla: Take pulla and fry in butter in the frying pan until browned. Let cool enough to spread with strawberry jam and top with whipped cream! Yum!


** I bring home crushed cardamom from Finland, and you can only buy whole pods of cardamom or ground cardamom in the U.S. You can make it with ground cardamom, but I don't think you will get the same bite of flavor with the ground that you do with the crushed cardamom. You bite into the seeds and get a nice burst of flavor with the crushed cardamom. You can order cardamom seeds online without the green pod, and crush them in a coffee grinder until they have a sand-like consistency. The crushed cardamom feels like sand. I've tried taking the green pod off the whole pod of cardamom and it was such a task, that I would order the seeds online! Enjoy!


Julie J


 


 


 


 


 


 

Julieta's picture
Julieta

Hi Julie,


 


My husband's family is from Finland and we all love these cinnamon rolls. I baked some before Christmas and they turned out really good, though I couldn't find the right kind or cardamon .


 


Do you have any more Finnish recipes?


 


Julieta

Julie J's picture
Julie J

Thanks everybody!  I tried the coffee grinder with more pods of whole cardamom, and it worked pretty good...I think maybe you guys were right about putting more seeds in the grinder.  Maybe my friend didn't do that!  She just told me that she tried it and it didn't work!  Okay, I have posted the recipe!  Hope you guys enjoy it!  It is worth ordering the cardamom seeds online!


Julie

Julie J's picture
Julie J

I am new here and don't really know what I am doing yet!  I am going to post the recipe in a new topic so everyone can see it!


 


Julie

Julie J's picture
Julie J

Hi Julieta,


We lost our computer for a few days, so I wanted to reply back to your question about Finnish recipes.  What kind of recipes are you interested in?  Just breads?  My mother inlaw taught me how to make Finnish rye and a Finnish whole wheat bread too.  The rye bread is flat and hard and you need a starter each time.   I also have a good recipe for Finnish gingerbread cookies, that also have crushed cardamom, that are really good!  Let me know if you want any of these!


Also, thanks Bruce for the Finnish cinnamon pulla!  I printed a copy of that too!


Julie

LLindh's picture
LLindh

Thank you for the cardamon bread  and bun recipes.  My Finnish grandmother made the bread when we visited. It was such a treat for us.


I have a friend who makes cardamon bread. Her friend brought fresh cardamon from Finland, and she's looking for it. She, too, said it makes the best breads, but cannot find it in the USA. Does anyone know where they bought the fresh cardamon when they visited Finland?  I'm trying to find a website online where I can order it for her.


Your other Finnish recipes interest me. Could you please post your mother in law's recipe for the Finnish gingerbread cookies w/cardamon? That would be a wonderful holiday treat for my family. Thank you.

Mary Clare's picture
Mary Clare

You can get cardamom, whole pods or ground, at www.thespicehouse.com (Penzey family business).  They have terrific spices of all kinds.  I should be putting in an order soon myself!  Lovely cinnamon, ginger, Jamaican Jerk seasoning, Back-of-the-Yards Garlic Blend, etc.  


Mary Clare

Julie J's picture
Julie J

Hello to Llindh,


I tried to answer you back by answering the email that I got on AOL, but I don't know if you got the message or not!  I will also post here, just in case! 


I am glad you liked the cardamom buns!  It is great that you have Finnish roots and can finally taste what their "National coffee bread" is like!  I have been loving this for years!  The Finns use the pulla for a lot of different desserts that are all really good!  My American friends are all loving the cardamom bread too....we are all finding every cardamom recipe that we see and letting each other know about it!  Once you taste cardamom in sweet bread, it's all over but finding every recipe you can find! 


I have tried to find the company online for ordering the crushed cardamom, even going on the Finnish website and didn't have any luck!  One company is McCormick and I called them and asked about getting it and they said that you can't get it in the U.S.  About the only thing is to grind it in a coffee grinder that is reserved just for the spices (very pungent)!


The recipe is online here for the gingerbread cookies!  I posted that a long time ago too...hope you like it!


Take care,


Julie J


 

ejm's picture
ejm

I would go to any store that sells Indian spices. Cardamom is used extensively in Indian cookery. Just make sure that you get green cardamom pods (Black cardamom will be too strong for Pulla).


-Elizabeth

paulie29708's picture
paulie29708

Take the seeds out and pan-roast them first. They aren't brittle enough raw to crush nicely with a mortar and pestle.

gene wild's picture
gene wild

I have been using whole cardamon seed from Frontier spices for a 50% rye bread with anise and cardamon---was just starting a patch when I saw this post---it works well. You are correct---nothing beats the taste when you bite into one of the caroman seeds---


gene

Islandlakebaker's picture
Islandlakebaker

I am one of thousands of Finlanders here in Northern Minnesota.  Cardamom bread is a favorite.  When you purchase ground cardamom in a "regular" grocery store, the pods have been ground with the seeds thus it is much milder than what most here want in our bread.  We buy the pods, removed the seeds and grind only the seeds.  A coffee mill is the best method I have found to grind the seeds, however one must have a sizable amount to make this work.  If you just have a few seeds in the grinder, they will only bounce around rather than actually grind.


Greg

Julie J's picture
Julie J

Hello Greg and Elizabeth!


Glad to see you are still online Elizabeth!  Hope you are still enjoying the cardamom bread! 


Greg,


It is funny that you said that about the cardamom seed and needing to have a lot of pods in the coffee grinder, because when I was first trying to figure out a way to get the whole pods crushed, a friend of mine tried it in her coffee grinder and told me that it didn't work, so that was the reason I asked on the fresh loaf!  I always bring it from Finland in the crushed form already, so I don't have to worry about grinding it myself!  I have tried it with the ground cardamom from the grocery store that a friend made and it still had the same flavor, just not the burst of flavor from the crushed that is so good!  I think if I used the ground cardamom from the grocery, I would use a bit more than the 1 TBSP. in my recipe...take care and nice talking to a fellow Finn!  The Finns are wonderful people!  I love my inlaws!  Julie J

orange's picture
orange

Hello,


nice to see you've found ways that work. Just thought I'd share my idea as well... I'm from Sweden and always use ground cardamom in the dough when making cinnamon buns (the cinnamon goes in the stuffing).


I also tried a mortar first but found it to hard to crush them that way. Then I picked up from my mum that she uses a pepper grinder. I'm not sure what type of coffee grinder you use in America but at least here a pepper grinder is a cheaper option, and also takes up less space in already crowded kitchen cupboards.... :-) There are electric ones, but I use an old fashioned one, looks something like this: http://shorl.com/veganebifriva


Since it is so cheap I can afford using it only for cardamom and not have to clean it from black pepper, and it gives the perfect sand-like, irregular texture which we want.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Cardamom as ground for about 30 seconds in Krups coffee grinder(about $15 at Bed Bath Beyond w/coupon). Of course, with such a tiny amount(about 1/2 tsp), you must shake the grinder while in operation.


On the left is shown some black peppercorns as ground in my cheap pepper mill. On the right are the seeds of 3 pods of cardamom. The bottom picture left is a catalog image of the actual grinder. Right is an attempt to show operation.



Of course the Krups grinder is much more versatile for many tasks as compared to the pepper mill. I use the Krups only for grinding spices, for the last 5 years or so. The only minor issue with the Krups is spices like cloves stain(make cloudy) the clear plastic top. Really a non issue for me.

krisnr's picture
krisnr

I have found that after taking off the green shell my mortar and pestle will work just fine as long as I don't try to do too many seeds at once. (Patience, just do a few seeds at a time.) I like the control I have over the size of my seeds-- and really want that burst of flavor that comes from the cracked, rather than ground, seed. Dad's job as a young boy was to grind the seeds for his mom using a milk bottle.


Kris 

Janell's picture
Janell

Thank you.  I discovered this yesterday and it helped my cardamom dilemma.  The recipe I made is a dessert from India.

Burfi

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar                                                             1 cup condensed milk or cream
6 tablespoons water                                               1/3 cup nut paste (optional)
1 tablespoons grated ginger                                   coloured sprinkles if desired
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
4 cups full-cream powdered milk

Directions:

  1. Grease a 9×9 inch glass dish
    2. Combine sugar, water, and ginger in small saucepan
    3. Boil for about 6 minutes, just until sugar spins a thread**
    4. Combine 2 cups milk with cream and cardamom, mix thoroughly
    5. Pour sugar syrup into milk mixture, mix well
  • If adding nut paste, do it here and decrease powdered milk in step 6 by 1/3 cup

6. Stir in the additional 2 cups of powdered milk, mixing well.
7. Push mixture into greased dish using the back of a spoon
8. Decorate with sprinkles if desired
9. When almost set, cut into squares.

** Thread is a higher temperature stage when the sugar spins a thread when dropped from a spoon. 

LaurelBay's picture
LaurelBay

This comment is a little late but hopefully someone will be helped by this post.  Cardomom seeds are very hard but with the right mortar and pestle, they crush fairly easily.  The standard smooth, white mortar and pestle that is a a hand-me down from the lab, is too smooth for something like cardamom.  I have a nice marble one that is textured somewhat in the bowl.  The texture gives enough grip to crush the hard cardomom pods.  Also makes quick work of other seeds, such as cumin or pepper.

Hope that helps someone!

Susan k.'s picture
Susan k.

I make Norweigian Christmas bread...a modified recipe that I got from my mom who got it from my dad's mother. (My dad and his family are all Norweigian.)  Anyway, I've had this issue with cardamom for many years, and had resorted to mortar and pestle. I always took the seeds out of the pods and always thought they were too small to even attempt to grind in my krups grinder. I will try pan roasting them next time....as a matter ofa fact, I have four loavesjust baked! Unfortunately, my hubby was recently diagnosed with celiac disease, so I'm searching for decent recipes and mixes to substitute (with limited success).