Pulla: Traditional Finnish Bread Recipe


Pulla is a traditional Finnish bread. It is made of rye bread dough kneaded with butter, milk, eggs and salt. The dough is then shaped into a ball and left to rise in a bowl for two hours before it is baked in an oven.

The dough can be mixed with raisins, currants or candied citron peel. The bread can also be topped with sugar, cinnamon or cardamom.

The word “pulla” means “to pull” in Finnish language and this name originates from the way the dough is shaped into a ball before it is baked in an oven.

Continuing my search for the perfect cardamom bun. After a trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm years ago, I became obsessed with recreating the amazing buns I got there. Not too sweet, spiced just right, and chewy but soft dough. These buns are tasty, not perfect, but good. The first batch I baked exploded in the oven and lost all their nice little spirals. For the second batch, I chilled before going in.

They kept their shape very well but were more dense than the first batch. All a bit wonky, but nothing that still isn’t great for a breakfast treat. I will definitely keep my search up for the ultimate kardemummabullar recipe I can find. Maybe it was the magic of a new city and the small hole-in-the-wall bakeries that made the buns even more fantastic…


  • 1 cup (236ml) milk, lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 tbsp (113g) butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups (500g) ap flour

In a small bowl, combine the milk, sugar, and yeast and stir. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves and starts to bubble.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, add the eggs, butter, cardamom, and salt and mix everything together. Next, add the yeast mixture and continue mixing until well combined.

Change to the dough hook and add a cup of flour at a time and mix until you add all the flour. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour, but continue mixing until the dough separates from the bowl and forms a ball.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for an hour or two until doubled in size.


  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 cup (56g) butter, softened
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling over the rolls, or regular sugar

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom together for the topping. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Punch down the dough, then place it on a floured surface, cut into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, cover the other rolls so that they don’t dry out. Roll each piece about as thin as you can, should be about 12 inches by 18 inches.

With a brush or a knife 1/4 of the butter onto it. Sprinkle 1/4 of the spiced sugar over the entire surface. Roll it into a tight log starting from the narrower side. Line up the dough log in front of you and cut it slightly on the diagonal, alternating up and down, so that the slices are fat ‘v’ shapes, with the point of the ‘v’ about 2 cm (3/4 inch) and the base about 5 cm (2 inches). Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.

Let the rolls sit for about 30 minutes to rise. Brush the rolls with egg wash and then sprinkle with Turbinado sugar or plain sugar—Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

recipe @ Joanna Cismaru

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