Pulla (Finnish cinnamon scroll bread)

12 Jun

Apparently Nordic cuisine is totally a big thing now. How uncool and mean does Woman now feel for her past, unreceptive attitude to some of the Finnish fare that Man has previously touted as delicious.  Bring on the pickled herring and shrimp paste in a tube! It’s all cool now.

One thing that has always been wholeheartedly loved (and feared – despite the fact that this is less sugary and buttery than other versions, this is NOT healthy food) is pulla – pron. bull-la. The pillowy soft bread and lemony cardamon swirled up in a frenzy of cinnamon sugar – it’s just very good.

This recipe is a combination of Man’s mum’s traditional recipe and a cookbook one. We’ve added egg in this incarnation, but you can make it without and happily substitute vegan dairy alternatives – although I wouldn’t tell Finland you did that.

Pulla/korvapuusti/sweet Finnish cinnamon bread (makes 18 small scrolls and one plaited loaf)

  • 30g fresh yeast (or 15g dried active yeast)
  • AT LEAST 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 80g sugar
  • 80g butter
  • 500g flour
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • Touch of salt
  • Cinnamon for sprinkling
  • Sugar for sprinkling
  • Melted butter for the above sprinkling

If using dried yeast, slightly warm the milk and then add to yeast. Let sit for a couple of minutes until a little frothy. Melt the butter over low heat.

Mix all the dried ingredients (except the salt), then add butter, milk and egg and knead. Once combined, add a pinch of salt, then knead for a further 5 minutes.

Put the dough in a greased bowl or tray, cover with a clean cloth and set aside – wait for it to double in size.

Once doubled, knock the dough back. This is now when you get to shaping. You can do mino-scrolls, large scrolls, a plaited log or just a bread loaf. We decided to do those first three.

The easiest way to make mini scrolls is to roll out a long sausage of dough. With a rolling pin, flatten it ’til it’s about 1cm thick. Brush this with melted butter and dust with cinnamon and sugar. Dust generously. Really. Then roll into a firm scroll and cut cross sections about 3cm thick.

To make bigger rolls, do the same but with a narrower, thicker piece of dough.

To make the plaited loaf you need 3 thick ‘sausages’ of dough. Begin at one end by squeezing the ends together. Then plait. It’s easier just to do trial and error. You don’t have to really brush this with sugar and cinnamon, but go for it if you want to.

Now leave whatever you’ve rolled or plaited again to rise until doubled.

Pre-heat the oven to about 220C. Once the bread has doubled, perhaps brush with an egg wash or just milk or butter. Bake for about 30 minutes. This’ll vary according to what you’ve made/your oven/etc so do check on it. You want a golden crush, but no browning.

Eat as soon as possible. These also freeze rather well – this recipe makes a ridiculous amount.

Estimated cost: £2.50

Musical accompaniment: Tune-Yards


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