food. family. life.

finland: cardamom sweet bread {pulla}

I love early mornings where I can sit quietly with my freshly brewed espresso or cappuccino and a breakfast treat that is just slightly sweet.

There are many Italian sweet breads, one which I will share soon for the Easter holiday, but a few years ago I found this recipe in Saveur Magazine for a wonderful sweet bread called Pulla from Finland. I made it that day and have been making it for longer than I can remember. No revisions or changes to this recipe.

It’s perfect. I have become an adopted daughter of Finland with this sweet bread recipe.

This recipe uses a unique spice to me, cardamom, a spice I quickly found I just loved both in flavor and in the aroma when baking. It has a warm, subtle spice appeal, much softer than cinnamon and a spice I actually prefer since trying this recipe.cucinadimammina_pulla cardamom bread_03

The dough comes together quickly and when the rise takes place, I prepare the glaze topping from the traditional mixture of heavy cream and egg yolk sprinkled heavily with organic coarse sugar or you can choose the option of brewed espresso and organic coarse sugar blended together to create an even more unique finish to this slightly sweet bread.

Serve it warm or room temperature with strong coffee; tea or a cup of warm cocoa… I serve it morning, noon and night, it’s that good.


{finland: cardamomo pane dolce – pulla}

for the dough:

1 1/3 cups lactose-free or whole milk; warmed to approx. 115 degrees fahrenheit

3 tsp. ground cardamom

3 tsps. powder yeast

2/3 cup of sugar

3 whole organic eggs, slightly beaten

6 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour

1 tsp. sea salt

5 tbsps. unsalted butter; cut into chunks, sitting at room temperature

for the glaze:

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp. of heavy cream

1 tsp. ground cardamom

organic coarse sugar (sprinkle liberally on top after glaze is brushed on)


1/4 to 1/3 cup brewed espresso

1 tsp. ground cardamom

organic coarse sugar

Note: Blend the espresso and some of the sugar; beat well until fully combined, mix in the ground cardamom and brush the tops of the braids (sprinkle extra sugar on the top of the glaze before baking.)

Measure out the sugar, dry yeast, 3 tsp. of the ground cardamom and the warmed milk. Blend slowly and let sit until yeast starts to foam.

Add in the slightly beaten eggs and mix well with mixer.

Slowly begin adding the flour and mix well; add in the salt and more flour until all is mixed and combined.

A few chunks at a time, begin adding in the softened butter and mix until blended in completely; do this with all the butter slowly blending until the butter has disappeared into the dough.

Once the butter is all mixed in and blended well; remove the formed dough from the mixer bowl and place in a large deep oiled bowl and cover with top with wrap.

Allow to rest and rise for one hour or so.

After completing the one hour rise; remove the wrap and punch down the dough and cover bowl with wrap and let rest and rise for approx. 30 minutes or so.cucinadimammina_pulla cardamom bread_07

Line two baking trays with parchment paper or use a silpat liner. Place the prepared dough on a work board and cut the dough into two equal segments.

Cover one segment and cut this segment into three equal size pieces.

Very lightly flour the surface of the work board and begin to roll out the first of the three sections into a 1″ thick or so rope about 16″ or so in length.

Roll out the other two segments in this same manner.

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Lay the three ropes down on the board vertically and overlap and connect the tops.

Now begin to “braid” the dough using the three segments overlapping and wrapping as you go.

Pinch the bottom of the ropes together at the end and set on top of the baking sheet.

Repeat this process to create the second braid with the remaining dough.

Place on prepared baking sheet.

Mix together your glaze ingredients (choose one of the options above.)

Brush the tops of both braids with the mixture and sprinkle both liberally with the coarse sugar.

Bake one loaf at a time for approximately 20 to 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven;

Remove from oven and let cool slightly; serve warm immediately or freeze in well sealed plastic bags to serve later. This also makes a lovely hostess gift for the spring season and Easter holiday to come.cucinadimammina_pulla cardamom bread_21








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Note: Photography provided by Annette L. Venditti


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