I thought it is time to add some recipe that is particularly Finnish. Obviously almost every Finn remembers this ”pulla” recipe by heart. You can find this basic recipe on every plain flour package that is sold in the stores in Finland.
The best thing with the basic Pulla receipe is that you can make so many different variations: basic pulla, ”laskiaispulla” (Shrovetide pulla), ”korvapuusti” (cinnamon rolls), ”bostonpulla” (cinnamon rolls baked in the cake dish), ”pullapitko” (long pulla braid loaf) and so many more. I attach the pictures of those different types of pullas into this post so that you can get an idea of those different variations and maybe try them all.
1/2 l (=2 cups) milk (1,7% fat, skimmed)
50g fresh yeast
1 1/2 tl salt
2dl (3/4 cup) caster sugar
1 tbs ground cardamom
900g (14dl) plain flour (not self raising flour!!!)
150-200g salted butter (cut into cubes)
On the top:
1. Heat up the milk as warm as the body temperature (It is very important not to heat it up too much, 37 celsius degrees is ideal. If you use dry yeast the temperature needs to be 42 celsius degrees.) Mix yeast with milk so that it soaks in, you can add tiny bit of sugar (1tbs) to help the yeast to ferment. After that add the egg. Add salt and sugar and cardamom. Start adding flour slowly. In the end of your flour adding process (after approximately 12dl) add the soft butter (if you cut the butter into small cubes it helps this kneading process). Keep on adding the rest of the flour. Do not use any machine to mix these ingredients. You will get the best and authentic flavour by kneading the dough with your hands. When the dough does not get stuck to the corner of the bowl anymore the kneading s ready. Cover the bowl with the kitchen towel and let the dough rise for at least half an hour, until it is double the original size (key rule!).
2. Set the oven to 200 celsius degrees.
3. Remove the kicthen towel. * Knead the dough and cut it to small pieces to make pullas. Knead each individual pulla separately and form them to become small balls. Set these small pullas to the baking tray. When you have formed all of them, cover them with the kitchen towel and let pullas rise for another 10-15 minutes.
4. Brush the top of the pullas with egg ( to get the golden clolour when they get cooked) and add the sugar on the top of each pulla.
5. Bake them for 8-10 minutes.
Serve with cold milk! Yummy!
*To make cinnamon rolls. After removing the kitchen towel in the phase 3. Roll the dough so that it becomes a huge square ( 1cm thick). Spread some soft butter on it (25-50g). Sprinkle a lot of sugar on the square and ground cinnamon too. Roll the square together. Cut it into pieces, triangle form (zic-zac). Turn the skinniest side up and push it with your finger and it becomes a cinnamon roll. After all of the cinnamon rolls are ready waiting on the baking tray to be cooked. Brush them with egg and sprinkle some coarse sugar on the top. See the picture for some further tips in rolling and cutting process.
If you want to make Boston pulla. Make first these small cinnamon rolls. Gather them into the cake baking dish, brush them with egg and cook in the 200 celsious degrees for about 20-25 minutes. See the picture.
To make ”Laskaiaispulla”, Shrovetide pulla, you need to make basic pullas but after you have cooked them you fill them with jam (or almond paste) and whipped cream. See the picture.
If you want to make a pulla braid loaf in the phase 3 instead of mking small individual pullas you divide the dough into two pieces and knead these pieces to become long ”pipes”. Ten you braid them together and bake the loaf in the 200 celsius degrees for 20-25 minutes. See the picture:
ENJOY! Finnish pulla is unbeatable! If you live in London (or in the UK) you may found their yeast a bit strange. It seems to be less efficient in fermenting. I buy my baking yeast in the Swedish store in London (in Crawford Street, Marylebone) or I bring it from Finland with me. Also to ”warn” you a little bit, for some reason British flour does not raise as well as Finnish plain flour,so I recommend you to search for the plain flour that is not too thin (not like durum) but still a bit coarse and has gluten to give the dough a good consistency. If you live in London you can find amazing Finnish pulla flour from Canada Water from the store that is attached to the Finnish church. The similar type of good pulla flour you will also find from the Scandinavian kitchen (store attched to theis cafeteria) in London or the Swedish store.
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR PULLA BAKING!