Pulla- Finland

So, this is more of a holiday bread. It’s braided, spiced, and just delightfully winter-y. But it’s September, which means it’s fall, which means that it’s pretty much winter, which means that winter is almost over, which means that it’s spring, which means that it’s summer, which means we should start putting up Fourth of July decorations! At least that’s the logic of most stores. Pulla is really, really easy and yummy. It’s also fun to make- and it’s a great way to practice braiding. Alternately, you could practice on actual hair, but who has the time for that? Certainly not you.

 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 c milk

2 tablespoons warm water

1/2 tsp yeast

1/4 c sugar

Salt

Cardamom

2 eggs

2 1/4 c flour

2 tablespoons butter

Inexplicably, I don’t have an ingredient shot. I was quite sure I’d taken one. Oh well. Start by heating up the milk. NEVER heat milk on high heat! It’ll burn and you don’t want to have a pot of burnt milk on your hands. Or your stove. While the milk is warming,

proof the yeast in the warm water.

By this time, the milk should be warm, so take it off the stove, and get out a large bowl.

The yeast should also be proofed

Mix the milk, sugar, salt, yeast, cardamom, and one egg

Whisk the milk in in a slow, steady stream so that it doesn’t scramble the eggs. Scrambled eggs are a healthy and nutritious breakfast (as well as the first thing I learned how to cook. I was 7, and thought I was Julia Child), but have no place in pulla.

Now pour in the melted butter- also in a slow stream. Just once, when I was making mac and cheese, did I forget to temper something hot, and ended up with a curdled, scrambled mess. It haunts me to this day.

Mix in the rest of the flour. 

At first, it’ll seem way too dry,

but keep mixing it, and you’ll end up with this sticky dough.

Let it rise for 15 minutes, then knead it for a good 8 minutes. 8 minutes is always my magic measure of time for kneading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now lightly grease a bowl with butter or oil, and let it rise, covered, for an hour.

Remove it,

Remove it, then slice it into three equal parts. I used a dough cutter for this, and let me tell you, I have never felt so professional.

Now roll them out into long strips,

press the top part together,

and start braiding. If you don’t know how to braid, google it. This is a cooking blog, not a hairstyling one! Okay, fine, I’ll tell you. Take one of the outer strips, and cross it over the middle. Then take the other side, and cross it over. Keep alternating crossing the three parts, until you’ve run out of dough and you have a beautiful loaf of braided bread. I quite firmly believe all bread should be braided.

Cover it with a damp (not sopping wet, mind you) tea towel, and let it rise for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Beat an egg,

and when the bread is done rising, brush it with the egg wash,

and sprinkle some sugar over it.

Now bake it for 25-30 minutes, and enjoy! Eat this plain, slather it with butter or Nutella, or make French toast!

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