Pulla is wonderful celebration bread. This is the cardamom flavored bread from Finland. It is a highly enriched bread and has an almost cake like crumb. For a more celebratory look shape like a wreath or decorate with nuts, jams and decorative sugar.
Keyword Christmas Breads, Wreath Bread
Prep Time 20minutes
Cook Time 40minutes
Total Time 4hours30minutes
5CFlour 600g (Notes)
1C + 1 TbspMilk 260g
1/2 CSugar 125g Unprocessed , raw
1TspFine Sea Salt 7 g
1PktYeast 7 g
1/2CButter 110 g or I stick
Topping For Buns
Topping for Wreath
Warm the milk till it is 110°F or just warm to touch. Take 1/4 c (about 50g ) of the the milk in a small bowl and stir in 1 tsp of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast is frothy.
Take half the flour in a large mixing bowl. Mix in salt , sugar and the cardamom powder. Make a well in the center of this mix and add the activated yeast mix along with the eggs and the most of the remaining milk reserving a few tablespoons. Mix, using a wooden spoon or in a mixer, until the all the flour is mixed in and a sticky elastic dough is formed.
Slowly add the remaining flour half cup by half cup and knead until a soft dough forms. Add the softened butter to this dough and knead. At this time add a little extra flour (up to 1/2 C) if the dough is very sticky. On the other hand if the dough seems stiff add the reserved milk little by little to soften it. Knead until the dough is soft and supple about 15 minutes by hand or about 7 to 8 minutes in a stand mixer. At the end of kneading the dough should be smooth, elastic and a little glossy. It should not be tough or wet or sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place till almost doubled (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.).
Punch down the dough and knead by hand for 1 minute. Form into a ball again, cover and let it rise. This takes about 40 to 45 minutes under warm conditions.
For The Wreath
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Take one half and pinch off a large lemon sized ball. Divide the remaining dough into 3 equal size portions. Take one portion and roll it into a long rope of about 22 inches in length. Repeat with the other 2 pieces. Braid the 3 pieces together. Transfer the braid on to a baking sheet and form into a circle. Pinch the ends together trying to make it look as seamless as possible. Knead the reserved dough it into a long rope of about 16 inches in length. Form it into a bow and place on the wreath to cover the braid ends are joined together.
Cover and let it rise until almost doubled 20 to 25 minutes.
For The Rolls
Divide the dough into about 18 equal sized portions. Roll each into a smooth balls. Gently flatten the ball using your palm. Place the ball on teh cookie sheet and make an impression on the center as deep as possible without making a hole. Spread the jam in the depression and sprinkle the chopped pistrachios on top.
Make egg wash
Break an egg into a small bowl add 1 to 2 tsp of milk to it. Beat well.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) .
Brush the wreath with egg wash and sprinkle the decorative sugar on top. Transfer the wreath to the oven. For a smoother finish take the loaf outof the oven after 15 minutes and brush on the egg wash for a second time. If sprinkling the sugar add it after the second coat of egg wash. For the wreath bake for 30 to 35 minutes until teh tops are browned evenly.
For the buns, brush egg wash on top avoiding the jam and pistachios just before transfering to the oven. Buns are done in about 25 minutes.
Since this is an enriched bread when done the internal temperature should be 200° F (93°C)
Use bread flour or AP flour with high protein content in this recipe.
The rise timings will vary based on the room temperature and yeast quality.
The first 2 times the dough should almost double and for final rise it should just look puffed up.
If the bread seem to brown too quickly reduce t eh temperature to 350°F (175°C).
For detailed instructions go to https://oventales.com/finnish-pulla/ .