Braided Cardamom Bread (Finnish Pulla)

Preparation 02:00
Cook Time 00:20
Total Time 2:20
Serves Makes 2 large loaves     adjust servings

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 packets instant yeast (or active dry yeast)
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons pearl sugar

Instructions

Add milk and sugar to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add the butter and stir until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat. Allow the milk to cool down to the temperature of a warm bath (not too hot and not too cold) and stir in yeast. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, you should see bubbles on the surface and it should grow in volume. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, add milk mixture, 2 cups flour, salt, cardamom, and 1 egg. Mix until combined. (You can also make this bread by hand.) 

Add 3 more cups of flour and mix until completely incorporated. Add remaining 1 cup flour a little at a time until the dough forms a ball and is no longer sticky to the touch. (You may not need the whole cup of flour.)

Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in a size, about one hour. 

Punch the dough down and knead by hand for 1 to 2 minutes on a well-floured surface. Let rest for 10 minutes. 

Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each piece into a skinny rope about 15 inches long. Line 3 ropes side by side on the counter in front of you. Pinch the three pieces together at the top and braid the three pieces into a loaf. When you reach the end, pinch the remaining dough together and tuck it under the loaf. Repeat with the second loaf. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and rise for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 375°. 

Make an egg wash by whisking the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon of milk together. Brush the tops and sides of the loaves with egg wash. Sprinkle each loaf with pearl sugar. 

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the loaves are browned on top. Let them cool before slicing. 

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Recipe Notes

Pearl sugar can be ordered online. 

This bread can be made by hand, a stand mixer is not required. 

This bread freezes well. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.

Leftover bread makes excellent French toast.

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