Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TWD: Finnish Pulla

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking with Julia
by Dorie Greenspan
Contributing baker: Beatrice Ojakangas

I was not going to publish this post after the tragedy in Connecticut. I felt guilty going on with the enjoyments of my everyday life. I realize that life does, and must go on after such horrific incidents. That all we can do is keep the victims in our hearts and thoughts and never, ever, forget them, and hope that we can somehow curb these horrible acts from happening in the future; and to love and cherish those around us.

Therefore this post is dedicated to all in Newtown, Connecticut ~ my heart goes out to them.

As I have mentioned before, everyone should at least once try their hand at bread making. The aroma of the yeasted bread rising alone, not to mention the bread baking, fills your kitchen with a heavenly wonderfulness, and prepping the dough really isn't that difficult; it's easier then you would think and the braiding of this loaf was a lot of fun.

The finished bread is soft, sweet and with just a hint of cardamom spice. As with all breads, it is best the day it is baked. I placed leftovers in a Ziploc bag, by day three the bread was stale - but a short stint in the microwave (ten seconds or so) it was back to its first day softness.

Success meter (1-3): 3

There is no comparison to the aroma of freshly ground cardamom and the ground cardamom you purchase in the store; the difference is night and day.

Beautiful cardamom flecks.

Did anyone else have problems with the dough shrinking after being rolled? They were shorter than the suggested thirty-six inches. I just tugged and stretched them while braiding..

Wreath formed and ready for its last rise.
(A bit uneven, but not bad for my first braided loaf!)

I did not need to add yet another type of sugar (pearl is called for in the recipe) to my collection, so I took Carmen's (Baking is my Zen) suggestion of crushing sugar cubes. Thanks Carmen!

Not so pretty after the rise ~ I may have let it go too long.

Topped with sugar and sliced almonds.

It turned out beautifully in the end.

I pulled my Finnish cookbook from the shelf to see if it had a Pulla recipe, and to my surprise the food editor of this book is Beatrice Ojakangas, the contributing baker for this TWD recipe. The ingredients are the same, though in different increments.

Beatrice recommends (in Fantastically Finnish) to serve the pulla with Egg-Cleared Coffee (recipe follows). I vaguely remember hearing something of this egg & shell in coffee grounds bit before, but never have tried it myself. Have you?

This would be a wonderful bread to serve on Christmas morning. If you would like the recipe you will find it on Erin's blog The Daily Morsel, or you can purchase the book, Baking with Julia (the recipe is on page 106).

Do make sure and check out my fellow baker's take on this recipe. There are always interesting variations from ingredients to finishing techniques.

Egg-Cleared Coffee

8 cups cold water
1 egg, well washed
16 slightly rounded teaspoons coffee, plus one for the pot

Bring the cold water to a boil in a coffee pot or saucepan. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, crush the egg (shell and all) into the dry coffee grounds and mix thoroughly. When the water has come to a rolling boil, add the egg-coffee mixture and stir quickly. Let it come to the boiling point, and remove from the heat. Repeat this twice more. Then cover and let stand about 5 minutes so the grounds can settle.

Makes 8 cups.

(source: http://finnishfood.blogspot.com/2007/11/kahvi-finnish-egg-cleared-coffee.html)

Coat of Arms


  1. Posting this week was a bit of a struggle, wasn't it?
    Your bread came out beautifully and it definitely does not look like your first time braiding! Bravo

  2. Nice, dedication, Cathleen...this tragedy has sure put a damper on the holiday season.

    PS...your loaf is gorgeous.

  3. Gorgeous!! And I love your photos!! Wish I saw this yesterday…that darn bow made me crazy…LOL! I'm just a little lame!!

  4. I think it´s the best unbaked pulla I´ve seen so far. Gorgeous bread! I just skipped the bow completely.
    It hurts to go on with our lives in the face of such tragedy I know.

  5. Cathleen, the photos are just terrific - I love the way they showcase your picture perfect Finnish Pulla with that pretty bow! What a great presentation - love that you mentioned the recipe for the egg-cleared coffee, that sounds so intriguing.

  6. Lovely photos Cathleen and a beautiful dedication.
    Congratulations on your first braided loaf!

  7. Thanks for sharing the coffee recipe - so interesting to see what the recipe contributor suggests serving alongside this bread.

  8. WOW! So beautifully presented. Can only hope that, when we get to finally make it, ours will turn out equally well.

  9. What a good post!!!!
    Good work, your Pulla looks wonderful!!
    Congratulations and Happy Holidays!

  10. How fun to find that the recipe contributor was the editor of your Finnish cookbook! Great looking bread, but I think I will pass on the egg coffee...very...interesting! Ha! Happy Holidays!

  11. Your pulla looks fabulous. Great job with the braiding. And your photos are absolutely wonderful!

  12. Your wreath is gorgeous! It doesn't look overproofed at all! Mine were super puffy and baked up kinda flat. Still tastes good, though! Happy holidays!

  13. Cathleen, your post is a beautiful dedication to the Newtown tragedy, and what a fun surprise to see the Finnish cookbook and Beatrice's recipes! Blessings and Merry Christmas!

  14. I'm glad you posted. Yes, live goes on even when our hearts are breaking.
    I haven't gotten around to baking this one yet, but I've done quite a few braided breads and your pulla looks beautiful.

  15. Wow, what a nice post. I felt the same as you about posting but life does go on and while we are all sad, perhaps it is best to keep celebrating the simple things in life- like baking bread. Yours is beautiful!

  16. So sweet to dedicate your post. I'm glad that this went well for you.

  17. You did a great job with the wreath, looks beautiful.. I heard that coffee-egg thing on food network from a show of a canadian chef, he was telling his dad will do that while camping or something.. Sounds weird to me, but I guess it works..

  18. I like how the cardamom flecks look like vanilla... The strands do shrink a bit because of the gluten (I think), but if you roll them, give them a couple of minutes to relax, then quickly re-roll them out again just before you braid them, they hold their stretch a bit longer, at least until they've been wrangled.

  19. Very nice post this week. You are a master braider; your bread looks great!

  20. Cathleen,

    Very pretty braid. Glad to see my suggestion of crushing cubed sugar was beneficial. I learned about it when I was making Liege Waffles. Will finally be attempting this recipe soon. Look forward to it...I see from other bloggers that it was a hit.



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