Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pulla- A Finnish Coffee Bread

If you follow me in the Twittersphere you may have heard me recently tweet about making something called "pulla". Pulla is a traditional Finnish coffee bread that is scrumptious. Growing up, I remember my Finnish grandmother (Grandma Aili) making such rolls....but I had been under the belief my entire life that they were "grandma's cinnamon rolls". This past July I took a trip to Finland to see my best friend Pauliina. She lives in Kemi and while there I had a roll that reminded me of the so called "cinnamon rolls" my grandmother used to make. Then and there, I realized my grandmother hadn't been making cinnamon rolls, but she had been making pulla! I now had a new mission: to bake pulla that tastes like what Grandma Aili use to make!

1/2 cup butter
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 packet of yeast
2 cups of milk
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
8 cups flour
beaten egg to glaze
1 cup brown sugar
cinnamon (just a touch)
Preheat the oven to 350

1- Melt the 1/2 cup of butter, then leave to cool. Add the yeast in a bowl with the lukewarm water and mix until the yeast is dissolved. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, eggs and cardamom.

2- Stir in two cups of flour to create a batter, beat until smooth. Add another two cups of flour and the melted butter; mix together well. Mix in the last four cups of flour. Lightly flour a surface to plop the dough onto.

3- Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic, then let rest for 15 minutes before kneading the dough again until it's shiny. Set it in a warm area to rise for an hour or till it is at least double in size.

4- Knead the dough a third time, then let rest for another hour or until it has doubled in size.

Side note- This recipe will teach you patience....but its worth EVERY second! Your taste buds WILL thank you!

5- Grease three baking sheets. Roll the dough with a rolling pin until its about 1/4 inch thick, and try to roll it so that it is longer than wider. You will need A LOT of space for this. Note: I did mine at about 1/2 inch which worked fine.

6- Spread the brown sugar over the dough so that there is an even layer. You may go more or less depending on your preference.

7- Sprinkle a VERY small amount of cinnamon over the brown sugar. If you prefer more cinnamon, go for it!!

8- Next, CAREFULLY roll up the dough. This will make one huge pulla log. I cut my dough into three sections so that it was easier to work with. If you want to make a pulla loaf, brush the dough with a beaten  egg and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown. If you prefer to make the pin-wheel shaped breads, cut the logs into slices that are about 3/4 inch thick, brush with beaten egg and bake for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Let cool and ENJOY!

Pulla is known to freeze really well. This recipe creates a lot of pulla, so please throw some in a zip lock bag in the freezer to enjoy later. Try toasting it!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oregon Yak Burgers

Last weekend Beau and I went to the Beaverton Farmers Market. With only two weekends left to shop at the farmers market, I made it a priority to go. Armed with $40 dollars and a reusable Trader Joe's bag, we were ready to see what the Beaverton Farmers Market had to offer. As expected, it was stocked with copious amounts of fresh produce, breads, meats, candy, and more. Two words: pretty epic.

All the goodies we got from Beaverton Farmers Market!

One of the exciting things we stumbled across was a farm from Central Oregon that sold exotic meats. I love to explore odd foods, so finding yak meat was EXCITING to me. We decided to get some ground yak to make gourmet/foodie burgers with.

The ingredients used to complete our meal.

Fall time brings squash to the farmers market and I love squash. A side dish to our burgers was a _____ squash that we purchased. I prepared the squash by slicing half of it into thin slices to bake, while the other half was baked with the flesh side down in the pan. I coated each of the slices in a little butter and brown sugar to give it a sweet buttery glaze.

This week New Seasons had some killer deals on mushrooms, so I picked up some shitakes for $7.99/lb. For the burger we had the mushrooms both in the burger meat, and also reduced in pinot noir as a garnish. 

The mushrooms reducing in the pinot noir.
The diced up mushrooms for the yak burger meat.

The ground yak meat was about $10.00 a pound, and for you health buffs; it is very lean. The only ingredients we added to the burger meat was one egg and some sauteed mushrooms.

Beau had the task of making the yak burger patties.

On the burgers we added bacon, cheese, lettuce, onion, ketchup, mayo, and the reduced pinot noir mushrooms. Almost all of our ingredients for this burger were local except for the bacon, cheese and burger bun. It was only later that we realized we could have bought the buns at New Seasons, and sourced the cheese and bacon from other local markets. Next time!

The finished yak burger!

To pair with the yak burger Beau decided on a 2008 Von Holt syrah from the Russian River Valley in California. The pairing was spectacular. Syrah's natural fruit elements pair well with the gamey yak flavor, while it's peppery finish was a great foil to the rich, smokey bacon.