Braided Cardamom Bread (Pulla)

  • Serves

    makes 2 loaves


Spiced with cardamom and sprinkled with sugar and almonds, this rich yeasted bread is a showstopper. In Finland it's traditionally eaten with coffee or tea; we think it makes a perfect addition to a weekend breakfast. Note: See how to braid Pulla in the gallery, below.


  • 1 13 cups milk, heated to 115°
  • 23 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 12 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 (1/4-oz) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Crushed lump sugar, for garnish (optional)
  • Sliced almonds, for garnish (optional)


Step 1

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine milk, sugar, 3 tsp. cardamom, and yeast; stir together and let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. Add eggs; mix to combine. Add flour and salt; mix until a dough forms. Replace paddle with hook attachment; knead dough on medium speed for 2 minutes. While kneading, slowly add butter in batches, mixing until incorporated before adding next batch, 3-4 minutes; continue kneading for 4 minutes more after last of butter is added. Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down dough; cover again with plastic wrap and let sit until fully risen, 30 minutes.

Step 2

Heat oven to 375°. Transfer dough to a work surface and divide into 2 equal pieces. Set 1 piece aside and divide other piece into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion between your palms and work surface to create a 16-inch rope. Braid ropes together to form a loaf, following the instructions below. Transfer loaf to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat with second dough piece. Cover loaves with plastic wrap and let sit until slightly puffed up, about 20 minutes.

Step 3

Whisk together remaining cardamom, cream, and egg yolk in a small bowl; brush over loaves. Sprinkle with sugar and almonds (if using); bake, one loaf at a time, until golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Transfer to a rack; let cool 10 minutes before serving.
How to Braid Pulla

1.  Arrange the three ropes of dough side by side, perpendicular to you, and pinch the ends farthest from you together.

How to Braid Pulla

2. Slide the left-hand rope and middle rope away from the right-hand rope at a 45-degree angle.

How to Braid Pulla

3. Pick up the left-most rope and cross it over the middle rope, laying it down next to the right-hand rope.

How to Braid Pulla

4. Pick up the right-hand rope, cross it over what is now the middle rope, and lay it down next to the inside of what is now the left-hand rope.

How to Braid Pulla

5. Repeat with the new outside left-hand rope, taking the outside rope of each new parallel pair and crossing it over the new middle rope to create a braid.

How to Braid Pulla

6. Continue braiding in this fashion, making sure to keep even tension in the dough throughout the process to avoid creating sections that are either too tight or too loose, as these may misshape the loaf.

7. Once you reach the end of the braid, pinch together the loose ends and fold them under the loaf; pinch and fold the other end in the same fashion.

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.