Jan 27th 2005Pulla recipe
Here's the recipe for Finnish cookie / sweet bread called "pulla" (in Swedish "bulla"). It's by heart, so you might need to be a bit critical. :) But the principle is simple so if you know anything about baking then there shouldn't be any problem. There are some "insider things" in this recipe as I wrote it originally for a friend of mine, so that you don't need to wonder.
So basically the dough is sweet wheat dough. You use 1 piece (50 g) of yeast to half a liter of warm liquid, and whatever liquid goes but I usually use milk. In Norway I used apple juice. Then you put sugar or honey or syrup. The important ingredient is cardamom, which you put some amount. You will feel when it's enough. :) This is the traditional pulla spice. Also you put a little bit of salt (little). Some other things I have put is soya sauce (this is pretty weird pulla spice, I only tried it yesterday (Jan 05), just for fun, and it didn't come bad at least :) ). Cinnamon, cocos, cocoa, you can use them also. Quite a bit of butter as well (50 g for 1 piece of yeast maybe), or oil, that belongs to it, too. But I think you can put smaller amount if you want them healthier. Before you put them into the oven (not yet), you can brush them with egg, to get nice color on them. If you make this size dough, you don't need the whole egg, so you can mix a big part of it to the dough. This is not necessary, but I usually put it. So, here were the ingredients.
You start the dough like any else yeast dough, by putting the yeast in the warm liquid. Then put some flour in it, to make it a root for the dough. I usually do it that much thick that it's like porridge. This is to get the yeast going. I think the recipe says to let it rest for a while, but I many times only let it rest while I start the oven and do some other little work around the thing... like melting the butter or such. You can add the spices (cardamom, salt, sugar) now. Don't add the butter or oil yet. Then you mix in the flour. Put so much that the dough is so thick that it's almost hard to mix by hand. You have enough flour when the dough doesn't stick to your hands any more. You have too much of it if it doesn't mix in. You can add the oil/butter in the end phase of mixing. (Maybe it doesn't matter too much when you do it.) If it comes too wet after it, put a little bit of flour more. Now you have the dough.
With the dough you can do what you come up with. Whatever you make, you can let them rise a little time before baking them. And before you put them in the oven, you can brush them with egg, or coffee for vegetarian pullas, or something good which would give them color in the oven.
Little balls are easy and fast to make. Usually I stick quite a pit in the middle of balls, and put a little piece of butter into it, plus sugar. This is good to be done after you have put the egg on them, because that way the sugar sticks on them and makes them look nice. But before you put the sugar and butter, remember to let them rise for a while (10 min maybe) in a warm place. (Sometimes I don't do this.) Sometimes you see pullas which have cinnamon sprinkled on them.
Then how to make cinnamon rolls (korvapuusti, ear-flaps). You make a flat rectangle of the dough with a rolling-pin, little thinner than 1/2 cm, and put a layer (thin one but enough to taste) of different fillings on it. I use melted butter in the bottom (it's good to spread all over the dough sheet), sugar, cocos and cinnamon (syrup, honey, ...). Then you roll it tight so that it becomes like a long snake (or sausage). Then you cut it so that first you turn the knife 30 or so degrees left and cut, then 30 degrees right and cut, so that each piece has 1 cm narrow side and 5 cm wide side. \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / like this. :) Then you can turn them so that the wide side is down and narrow side is up, and push it with your finger in the middle of the thing. That makes them hold shut. Look the figure below to see what I mean.
On the pit which you get when you punch them, you put some good things, just like in ball pullas. Sprinkle the sugar/syrup/honey after you have put the egg/coffee on them, again.
The oven should be maybe 215 degrees or so. They are fast to bake. You take them off the oven before they get burned.
The recipe is scalable, you just remember to keep the yeast-liquid ratio same (1 piece for half a liter always).
Ok, I hope this does it. :) Uh-huh, this became a long one... hopefully not too long.