Short introduction to pulla, part 1

I told you about our baking bee last week, and that we made pulla. If you’re already familiar with this great Finnish pastry, you can skip the rest (unless you might want to discover new ways to switch it up). However, if you’re never heard of such a thing, or if it sounds vaguely familiar, read on…

Pulla is, as mentioned, a Finnish pastry. It’s almost like bread in texture, made with yeast, not too sweet. The basic dough has many, many possible applications, and I will introduce a few of them. I spent years in Canada not baking any pulla, mainly because I’m used to baking it with fresh yeast and I could not find it anywhere. I’m not used to dry yeast; I tried a couple of times and ended up with flat, rock-hard lumps. Not tasty.

So, in the name of tradition, I will offer you the fresh yeast recipe. However, realizing it’s limitations, dry yeast application will follow…

Pulla 1

500ml milk
50g fresh yeast
2 eggs
150ml sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cardamom
1 – 1.2 liters all-purpose flour (approx. 1kg)
150g butter, melted (approx. 100ml – you can also use vegetable oil)

Warm up the milk to 37 degrees Celcius (skin temperature). Dissolve yeast into the milk.

Add eggs, sugar, salt, cardamom and half the flour mixing vigorously. Add more flour, kneading gently, until you have a soft, pliable dough. (The exact amount depends on various factors like the size of the egg, the dampness of the weather, etc… It’s impossible to give an exact amount. If you don’t get it right the first time, don’t give up…)

Add melted butter and knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to your hands and the bowl anymore.

Let the dough rise until it’s doubled in volume.

************************************************************************************************************************

Pulla 2

500ml milk
2 tbsp dry quick-rising yeast
2 eggs
150ml sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cardamom
1 – 1.2 liters all-purpose flour (approx. 1kg)
150g butter, melted (approx. 100ml – you can also use vegetable oil)

Warm up the milk to 42 degrees Celcius. Add eggs, sugar, salt and cardamom. Add yeast into half the flour; add into the dough and mix vigorously. Add more flour, kneading gently, until you have a soft, pliable dough.

Add melted butter and knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to your hands and the bowl anymore.

Let the dough rise until it’s doubled in volume.

DISCLAIMER: I have not actually used this recipe, ever… I will try it out in the next couple of days and edit if needed… If you try it tonight and it doesn’t work at all, please don’t blame me… 😛

***********************************************************************************************************

The pulla recipe we used last week had one part whole wheat flour, two parts all-purpose flour. You can do that as well, just remember that whole wheat flour makes a drier dough so you’ll need less flour overall. Add the whole wheat flour first, and all-purpose flour as needed.For variations, you can also add raisins, chopped almonds or dried fruit into the dough, or leave out the cardamom. For Christmas and other fancy occasions, little bit of saffron can be added into the dough.

The dough rises better in a warm place. If your kitchen is cold, fill the sink halfway with hot water. Place a cookie sheet over the sink and the bowl of dough onto the cookie sheet.

The possibilities are endless from here. You can shape the dough into small buns – let them rise, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with some sugar or chopped almonds. Bake in 225 Celcius for 5-10 min. Or you can shape the dough into loaves (braided loaves are typical – I’ll show that to you later). Once again, let rise and brush with egg wash. Bake in 200 Celcius for 20-25 min.

Stay tuned for more ideas – like braided loaf or wreath, cinnamon rolls or twists and little fruit tarts… 🙂

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s