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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pulla-Bulle Cardamon buns

I love to bake Finnish breads, and these little buns are delicious.  They are lightly sweet with a delicate cardamom flavor.  You can find these everywhere in Finland, they are very traditional.  I baked a couple of batches yesterday to give to friends and for my family to eat on this cold, snowy day.

50g cake yeast = 1 packet dry yeast
150 g butter =1 and a half sticks
5 dl milk =2 cups
half tsp salt
1 dl sugar = quarter cup
2 tsp fresh ground cardamom
about 1 and a half liters flour = 6 cups

Melt butter and warm milk (98 F).  Add yeast and stir.  Add salt, sugar and cardamom.  Stir in flour until dough pulls away from bowl.  Let rise covered in a warm place until about double (30-40 minutes).  Knead in rest of flour.  Divide dough (64 small pieces, divide in half, in half again, in half again …) Shape each piece into a rope and tie in a knot.  Let rise again, covered (about 20 minutes).  Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 450F for 5-10 minutes (Do not overbake).

I use pearl sugar to sprinkle on top, it looks a lot like pretzel salt and holds up to baking. 

This recipe is adapted from the book Parhaat Leivonnaiset, OTAVA 1993 ISBN 951-1-1804-8, my absolute favorite baking book! 

When I was an exchange student, one of the girls didn't realize at first that there are two official languages in Finland, Finnish and Swedish.  When you go into a coffee shop, everything is labeled twice, usually first in Finnish, then in Swedish.  These delicious traditional sweet buns are "pulla" in Finnish, "bulle" in Swedish, but she always ordered "pulla-bulle."

Interestingly enough, people who are "pleasantly plump" in Finland would be called pulla.  I've always wondered if this was because of the shape of the buns or the amount of butter!


  1. I'm so happy I found your blog. I had a Finnish kindergarten teacher (in Australia) who taught me how to make braided Pulla as a child and many years later it remains my FAVORITE thing to eat! I will be trying lots of your recipes! Thanks.

  2. How wonderful! There is nothing like fresh pulla!