Sunday, December 04, 2005


Originally uploaded by wanderingcoyote.

This is a Finnish recipe I got from my friend Anita, who is half Finnish. Her mom gave her a copy of a cookbook (keittokirja) put out by the Emmaus Lutheran Church in Burnaby and all most of the recipes are from the homeland, and all are printed in both Finnish and English. Anita has fond memories of pulla, as her grandmother used to make it. She was craving it last weekend and I offered to make her some. She frowned and said, "It's a little complicated." I frowned back and said, "I'm a professional." That sealed it, and away I went.

This is very similar to the French milk bread (pain au lait), only flavoured with cardamom. Try to get the freshest cardamom you have for the best results.

Finnish Pulla Dough

2 cups milk, 120 - 150F (or very warm but not scalding)
2 tbsp quick yeast
2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cardamom
approx. 2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter, softened

1. Throw all your dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the milk and mix. Add the egg and mix. Remove the dough onto a floured surface and begin kneading it, gradually adding the butter in knobs. Alternately, put the warm milk into the Kitchen Aid bowl and throw all your dry ingredients on top. Add the egg and mix on speed one. Develop the dough on speeds 2 - 6, gradually adding the softened butter.

2. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. It might be slightly sticky after the butter is added, but that's ok. By hand, this'll take a good 6 - 8 minutes of muscle power; in the KA it'll take about 4 - 5 minutes.

3. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Then roll it out into a rectangle approximately 1/4" thick. Spread it with thin layer of butter, and on top of this sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon. Dot with more butter. Roll up as in a jelly roll and slice into 1 cm thick slices. I got 9.

4. Place in a greased baking dish. In this case, I used a 9" glass pie plate. Allow the dough to rise to double its bulk. I typically turn my oven onto low and turn the light on. Once the temperature light has gone out, I let some of the heat out and place a pan of boiling water in the oven. This should be sufficient heat to rise and mine took about an hour to double.

5. After the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 400F. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. (The original recipe calls to brush the dough with sugar water before baking.)


- You can do several things with this dough other than make cinnamon buns. You can make Boston Cake, which is like a cinnamon bun only includes raisins and apple chunks. You can make Shrove Tuesday buns, which involves dividing the dough into small buns and baking them. Once out of the oven, you cut the buns and spread them with the following filling: 2 cups icing sugar, 2 cups ground almonds, 1 egg white. Whipping cream can also be added to the middle along with this filling. Additionally, you can braid this dough, dividing it in 3 and rolling it out into 15" strips. Braid, pinch ends, and tuck under.
- I halved this recipe to make the 9 cinnamon buns, and that's about all the Kitchen Aid bowl I used could tolerate.

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