In a new feature I’d like to call “Mark Hasn’t Made This One Yet,” allow me to introduce The Crazy Food Lady, a.k.a S.N.Arly. She just posted a Youtube video on how to make Pulla using my Mom’s recipe from Celebration Breads: Recipes, Tales, and Traditions. I’m sharing her video and the contents of her post below. Her video is a very nice walk-through of how to bake Pulla – and her finished loaves look beautiful!
S.N.Arly is a writer of young adult and adult speculative fiction – check out her author site.
From S.N.Arly’s post:
Pulla is a traditional Finnish entertaining bread made with lightly-sweetened, egg-and-butter-enriched dough. A full loaf is often braided and sprinkled with pärlsocker (pearl sugar). I usually make smaller loaves so I can either give some of it away or so I can freeze some. The recipe doubles well and the baked loaves can be wrapped in foil and placed in a bag for freezing.
While I’ve found many similar recipes, my go-to comes from Betsy Oppenneer’s Celebration Breads: Recipes, Tales, and Traditions.
1 scant tablespoon or 1 ¼-ounce-packet active dry yeast
¼ cup water warmed to no hotter than 110º F (~43º C)
¾ cup light cream* warmed to 110º F (~43º C)
2 large eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of whole cardamom seeds
½ cup granulated sugar
4 to 5 cups all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with optional tablespoon of cold water)
Pearl sugar (pärlsocker) or coarsely crushed sugar cubes
* You can use buttermilk, liquid whey or heavy cream that has been thinned with whey or milk
1) Combine active dry yeast and warm water in a mug an set aside in a relatively warm place to activate while you prepare everything else (this also gives the melted butter time to cool).
2) Pour yeast mixture into your large mixing bowl. Add cream, eggs, sugar, cardamom, salt and 2 cups (or about half) of the flour. Beat vigorously until smooth and well combined.
3) Gradually add the remaining flour ~¼ cup at a time while mixing (you can go a little heavier if using a mixer). When dough starts to pull away from the side of the bowl you can switch to kneading (with or without a mixer) and add flour one tablespoon at a time. There is enough flour when the dough is soft and slightly tacky, but not sticky.
4) Knead by hand or mixer until smooth and elastic (if using a mixer, use a low setting).
5) Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a lid or damp tea towel, and place it where it won’t be disturbed (I like to use the microwave).
6) Let the dough rise until doubled (about an hour).
7) Grease your baking sheet (s) or place parchment down.
8) Gently deflate the dough, and divide it for shaping. For small gift loaves, I split one batch of dough into three loaves.
For each loaf, divide into three pieces for a simple braid.
For a large loaf, the braid can be made into a wreath
9) Cover with a damp tea towel and place where it will not be disturbed. It needs to rest about 45 minutes.
10) Preheat the oven to 325° F (~163° C). Breads with milk tend to brown too fast, especially on the bottom, at higher temperatures.
11) Prepare egg wash (beaten egg or beaten egg with some cold water).
12) Right before placing the bread in the oven, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
13) Bake until golden and inner temperature reaches 190° (88° C). A large loaf takes 40-45 minutes and smaller loaves take 25-30 minutes.
14) Place on a wire rack to cool.
Check out her other recipes at S.N.Arly’s food blog.