Braided Cardamom Bread (Pulla)
Spiced with cardamom and sprinkled with sugar and almonds, this rich Finnish yeasted bread is a showstopper.
Yield: makes 2 loaves
- 1 1⁄3 cups milk, heated to 115°
- 2⁄3 cup sugar
- 4 tsp. ground cardamom
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 1⁄2 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.