We've been blessed lately with snow and temperatures dropping down to -25 Celsius degrees. With this weather, I feel one is entitled to turn to real comfort foods. For me, besides all forms of potato, one of the most comforting and relaxing foods will have to be sweet bread, in Finnish called "pulla". And with cold glass of milk, please. Pulla gets eaten all year around, at festive occasions, or on your everyday coffee break. The dough is pretty simple, but you can be creative as to how you want to shape it. A big plaited loaf, cinnamon buns, simple ball shape or pulla-boys or girls with raisin eys are probably the most common ones.
These photos are of me mum making her trademark pullas. I truly apologise for the bad quality of some of the photos, my excuses are, on top of not being a professional photographer, a) although taken in front of a window, there just isn't much daylight at the moment in Finland, b) she was going pretty darn fast.
Anyway, for the dough you will need:
0,5 litres milk
50 g yeast
2 tsp salt
2 dl sugar
2 tsp cardamon (not the pods, but open them and use the bits inside)
14 dl wheat flour
100 g butter
Add yeast to hand warm milk. Mix with salt, sugar, cardamon and egg. Add flour little by little, whisk more at first to mix some air in to the dough. Then knead until it feels alive in your hands, say maybe 10 minutes or so. Add soft butter towards the end of kneading. Let rest in a warm place, covered with a tea towel. When the dough size has doubled, knead it softly to remove the airbubbles, for couple of minutes.
Cut pieces of the dough with knife and start rolling it under your hands to form long shapes.
Cut pieces of app. 10 cms.
Press two pieces together at top.
Twirl one of the dough pieces around the other. Press the ends together to form a circle.
Set on a baking sheet on a baking tray, brush with some egg and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in oven, 225 degrees for 10 minutes or so, until golden brown.