Arabic Coffee & Cardamom Brioche

Simple recipe for a great breakfast loaf

I'll always prefer espresso to any other type or method of coffee preparation, but Arabic coffee always brings back childhood memories of Sunday mornings.

All the Middle Eastern countries have their own claim to the way this type of coffee is prepared - in my house it was always the Armenian way; coffee, water, cardamom and sugar in the pot stirred then heated and risen twice.

This recipe combines the sweet coffee flavour with a rich brioche - best served lightly toasted to bring out the smell at breakfast time.

Makes 1 loaf


For the dough

  • 400g strong white flour
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 90g whole milk
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 30g caster sugar

For the filling

  • 6 heaped teaspoons of finely ground Arabic-style coffee
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 25g unsalted butter

For the glaze

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 10g whole milk


  • Arabic coffee pot
  • Muslin cloth
  • Large loaf tin (3lb)

Start both the dough and filling the day before you want to make the bread.

Make the dough

While I generally like to do things the traditional hand-made way, brioche is not the world's most fun thing to work with - so, place your dough hook on your stand mixer, and combine everything except the butter. Heat the butter very gently in a pot so that it melts almost completely, then let it cool slightly. Combine this with the rest of the ingredients, and turn your stand mixer to its lowest speed setting. Leave to knead for 10 minutes, then remove to a bowl, cover with cling film and put in your fridge for at least 7 or up to 24 hours.

Make the filling

You'll need to prepare 3 servings of coffee. Gently crush your cardamom pods to release the seeds within, then discard the dry outer shell.

Place a bowl large enough to hold 3 coffees next to your stovetop. Place two heaped teaspoons of coffee into your pot, followed by 10g of sugar. Fill the pot approximately 1/3 up with water and place on a medium-high heat. Don't take your eye off it or you'll get a volcano of coffee all over your kitchen.

As the coffee rises up the pot, pour half into the bowl then return to the heat for a moment. This will then bubble up again; so then pour the rest into the bowl.

Repeat this process twice more with the rest of the coffee and sugar. When you're done, take a sieve and place it over a jug. Put your muslin cloth over that, and carefully pour the coffee through in order to take out the grounds. Don't squeeze too hard as Arabic coffee is very finely ground, and some might make it through.

Next, place the cardamom seeds into the filtered coffee and whisk in the butter while it's still reasonably hot. Leave it out to cool and infuse, then cover in cling film and place in the fridge.

The rise

After your dough and filling are suitably cooled, take them out of the fridge and lightly dust a work surface with flour. Roll out the dough into a reasonably square shape approximately twice the length of your loaf tin, making sure you add a bit more flour underneath if it starts to stick.

Spoon over the cooled filling, then use a flat spatula to try and spread it over the dough evenly. Next, start to roll one side in on itself, and keep rolling until you reach half way across your dough. Repeat with the other side so you end up with the two rolls meeting in the middle.

Butter your loaf tin, then gently cut the whole double-roll in half length ways so that you end up with two pairs of rolls. Place one set with the seam upwards in the bottom of the loaf tin, then invert the other so the smoother side is on top.

Leave this to rise for 3 or 4 hours, pre-heating your oven to 200 degrees C after about an hour.

After it has proved, make your egg wash by whisking the yolk and milk, then paint the top of your loaf and place it in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes are up, reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake for a further 30 minutes. If your top looks too brown, cover in silver foil to stop it burning.

Once done, remove from the tin and let it cool for at least 15 minutes. Cut it, toast it, butter it and generally be happy.

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