SAVED Pulla (Traditional Finnish Cardamom Bread)
- 7-10 cardamon pods or sub 1 - 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamon
- 1 cup whole milk soy milk or half and half
- 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 extra large eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 - 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour more for the counter
- 1/4 cup soft butter
- 1/2 egg for egg wash
- coarse sugar for sprinkling
- optional additions: raisins sliced almonds, coarse sugar (pearl sugar). Feel free to sub other dried fruit and other nuts! You can sub turbinado sugar instead of pearl sugar.
- If using whole cardamom pods, crack open the pods and lightly toast the seeds in a dry skillet for 45-60 seconds, stirring over medium heat until fragrant. Grind down to the consistency of sand with a mortar and pestle. You could do this step ahead, or use ground cardamom.
- Heat milk to lukewarm, not over 110F. Add a pinch of sugar and stir in yeast and let stand for 7 minutes. Check that yeast is dissolved and frothy indicating it is active.
- In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add the frothy milk and yeast, cardamom, and salt and beat until smooth.
- Mix in 1 cup of flour cup by cup, mixing until smooth and no lumps.
- Add the softened butter and mix well – the dough will get beautifully glossy. Continue adding the flour, a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing to incorporate, adding flour until stiff enough to knead, yet still soft about 6 cups. Knead using a dough hook or by hand, adding a little more flour as needed until the dough pulls away from the edges, and is satiny, about 5 minutes. (The key here is to use as little flour as possible.) Alternatively, kneed by hand on a well-floured surface, for 6- 7 minutes, adding a little flour at a time, dough will be slightly tacky but not sticky. At this point, if you wish, you could knead in some raisins and almonds. Shape into a ball.
- Place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat the top, cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm area (80F) until it doubles in size. (I like to turn my oven on at the very start at the lowest setting, then turn it off, letting the dough rise inside, or place it on top of the stove.)*** Having a warm spot for it to rise is imperative here.
- TIP: You can also place this in the fridge overnight- and shape and bake in the morning.
- Divide dough into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into long ropes about 1 1/2- 2 inches thick. Braid the 3 ropes and tuck under the ends. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or in lightly greased, or parchment-lined loaf pan).
- Beat the egg with a tablespoon water. Brush the loaf with the egg wash. Sprinkle with pearl sugar over the top and sliced almonds if you like.
- Let rise again until doubled. Place in a preheated 375-degree oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until skewer or toothpick pulls out clear (or internal temp is 200F) and the top is nicely golden.
- Pull it out of the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Slice and slather with butter.
Instant yeast will cut the rising time in half. Store the pulla, covered tightly on the counter. Or freeze (sealing well) for later.