Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Loaves

Sourdough Cardamom Brioche

June 02, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Sourdough Cardamom Brioche

Sourdough Cardamom Brioche

Sourdough Cardamom Brioche

After trying the Sourdough Cardamom Buns, I am in love with cardamom.  I used my Sourdough Brioche recipe to create this Sourdough Cardamom Brioche.  The texture is fluffy, soft and moist. It keeps quite well for several days too at room temperature. I added some orange zest to the dough as someone was telling me orange goes well with cardamom and she is right!  

This recipe uses a high percentage of sweet stiff starter to help cut down proofing times and make the bread rise faster.  This Sourdough Cardamom Brioche only took 1 hour and 45 minutes to proof before baking.  It is not sour at all.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.


Yields:  1 loaf


Sweet Stiff Starter:
70g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), preferably use at its peak 
215g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
90g water
35g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
150g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All stiff starter (above)
25g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 1/8 tsp (5g) salt
30g milk powder
4 tsp ground cardamom
Zest from half orange (optional)
125g egg, whisked (from 3 medium egg, balance use for egg wash)
90g butter, room temperature

Egg Wash: 
Balance of eggs + 1 tsp milk

Topping (optional):
8 - 10 black cardamom pods

Baking Tray (15" X 13"), lined with parchment paper

  1. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together. 
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. The starter should look smooth and round dome.  It shouldn't collapse.
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter), including all the sweet stiff starter into a bowl of stand mixer.  I slightly torn the stiff starter
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated. This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 13 - 15 minutes or until the dough become smooth, silky and reach window pane stage.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  3. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 15 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 15 minutes.   I did not find any big differences between 15 minutes to 60 minutes rest.  So, please follow your schedule.
  4. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 6 equal portions. Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    2. Form each portion into a ball.  Flatten with rolling pin. Roll each dough like a swiss roll into into a rope about 15 - 16 inches long. 
    3. Please watch the video how to braid 6 strands bread.
    4. Place the braided bread onto the prepared baking tray.
    5. I made marks with a pencil about 1.5 cm away from the original size of the dough.
  5. Final Proofing:
    1. Let it proof at a warm place until the dough rise double in size or when it reaches the pencil mark.   This one took approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes at room temperature 29 - 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  6. Topping:
    1. Remove seeds from the cardamom pods then grind the seeds with the pestle.  Please omit this step if you do not have cardamom pods.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 180C (fan-forced)  for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash.  Sprinkle with some ground cardamom seeds (optional).
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for 18 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  
    4. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack.

Sweet Stiff Starter

Main Dough 



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 

If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. Would this type of bread be good at a Thanksgiving meal (U.S. Holiday)? In other words, does this have a dinner roll consistency, or is it better as a breakfast sweet bread?

    1. Hi, thanks for asking and reading this recipe. This bread is more buttery and sweeter compared to normal dinner roll. I think it is better serve as breakfast sweet bread. However, you can cut down the sugar in main dough.

      You may want to use this Burger recipe to make dinner rolls. You can bake as pull-apart buns in 8 inches square pan.

      Burger Buns:

      Cheers :)


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