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!