Pulla: Finnish Dessert Bread

Baking, Recipes
Pulla Finnish Dessert Bread

I grew up eating this dessert bread.  It’s was one of the few food items that I can connect to my ancestral homeland.  This was something that came out on special occasions and was quickly devoured by any person of Finn ancestry in the room.  It was also enjoyed many non-Finns too. I remember going to baby and bridal showers and hearing women excitedly whisper, “They’ve got Pulla!” like they had hit the jackpot.  There was something about that soft flaky bread, with the spicy cardamon and gentle sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.   It’s a hit with just about everyone.

BreadmakerMy mom made it occasionally but most of the time we bought it from the Finnish bakery or the little Finn granny who sold loaves at the local fall and Christmas fairs.  When we did make it, I knew why we bought it.  It took us forever to make and is so much work.  By they time you blend and knead, let rise, knead again, braid, let rise, bake, and top, it’s like 8 hours of work.  Not to mention how exhausting it is to knead bread repeatedly.  I made some the first time Stephane came to my parent’s place for dinner, and it literally was a whole day affair.  But so yummy!

So a few years ago, I heard a rumour that you could make Pulla in a breadmaker.  I decided to research this and it turns out it’s true.  Well, sort of.  I tried several recipes, and while they were good, they were never perfect.  So I set out to make the best and easiest Breadmaker Pulla.  And I finally have it!  The secret is the cardamon.  If you can get it whole and grind it yourself, do it!  It is so much better but the pre-ground stuff is great too.  So break out the breadmaker and make some of the best Pulla you’ve ever had.

Pulla Finnish Dessert BreadIngredients:

  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast (breadmaker friendly yeast is best)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup of butter softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups flour
  • *optional – 1/3 cups raisins

Topping:

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp milk

 

Pulla Finnish Dessert Bread

 

 

Directions:

  1. Pour ingredients into the breadmaker in the order given.  Make sure that you start with the milk and end with the flour.  It’s important or the yeast won’t activate properly.
  2. Set it to a dough setting and hit start.
  3. If you choose to add raisins, do after the first round of rising.
  4. Once the machine is done, remove the dough from the machine and divide it into 3 balls.  Roll and stretch  each ball until it makes a rope about 14” long.
  5. Braid the 3 ropes together.  To finish the braid, pinch together the ends and tuck them under.
  6. Cover with a clean towel and leave it to rise for about 10-15 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F
  8. Brush the top of the loaf with milk and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
  9. Bake for 20-23 minutes.

Pulla Finnish Dessert Bread

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