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Swedish tea ring on a plate with a cup of tea
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5 from 1 vote

Swedish Tea Ring

This Swedish tea ring recipe will be a favorite with your family for Christmas morning breakfast!  This pretty loaf is swirled with brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts and topped with pearl sugar.  This is the perfect sweet treat to enjoy during the holidays!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time23 mins
Proving Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 38 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: swedish bread types, swedish tea ring
Servings: 20 slices
Calories: 236kcal
Author: Emma


For the Dough

  • 4 ¼ cups bread flour
  • 3 teaspoons fast-action yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

For the Filling

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter softened
  • ½ cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup walnuts chopped

For the Topping

  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 3 tablespoons pearl sugar


Making the Dough

  • Scald the milk by bringing to a boil over medium heat. Let it cool to 115 F before using.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in the microwave and let it cool slightly.  Measure out the other ingredients.
  • Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl, adding the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Mix each one in with your finger.
  • Stir in the sugar and ground cardamom, then add the eggs and melted butter. Mix until a dough forms, then gradually add the milk and mix until no flour remains in the bowl.
  • Knead until smooth, about 10-15 minutes.  Check to see if it is kneaded enough by doing the windowpane test.  Break off a lump and stretch it between the thumb and forefinger of each hand to create a windowpane shape.  The dough should stretch to be translucent without breaking; if it does, knead for a minute longer and check again.
  • Shape into a tight ball, place in a buttered bowl, and set aside to prove in a warm place until at least doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Shaping the Tea Ring

  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down all over to knock out the air pockets.  Use a rolling pin to shape it into a 13x17 inch rectangle.
  • Spread the softened butter on top with a pastry brush or angled spatula.  Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon, then spread evenly over the buttered dough.  Scatter the chopped walnuts on top, pressing them in lightly.
  • Tightly roll up the dough from one of the long sides to create a log.  Pinch the seam and ends to seal, then shape the log into a circle and firmly squeeze the ends together.  Place the wreath on a large baking stone or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  • Use clean kitchen shears to snip just over halfway through the log every inch or so.  Once you've gone all the way around, lean the slices over and fan them out to display the swirled interior.
  • Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to prove.  The dough is ready to bake when it springs back quickly when gently prodded with a fingertip.
  • About 10 minutes before it is ready, preheat the oven to 400 F.

Decorating & Baking the Tea Ring

  • Once the tea ring has proved, brush the top of each swirl and the inside of the circle with beaten egg.  There's no need to egg wash the swirled part of the bread.  Sprinkle generously with pearl sugar.
  • Bake the bread at 400 F for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 F and bake for 13-15 minutes, until the bread is well browned and has an internal temperature of at least 190 F on a meat thermometer.  Watch the bread carefully and cover with a sheet of foil if it's getting too dark.
  • Let the bread cool for 10 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing and serving.


  • Use bread flour.  A loaf made with all-purpose flour won't rise as high or be as soft and fluffy.
  • Make ahead.  Cover the bowl of kneaded dough and refrigerate overnight.  Shape the loaf the next day.
  • Slow rising dough?  Place the dough in a cold oven and put a pan of boiling water on the shelf beneath it.
  • Check the loaf as it bakes.  Cover it with foil if the crust is getting too dark.
  • Let the bread cool completely before eating to allow it to finish cooking in the middle.


Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 272mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 262IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg