Friday, October 7, 2011

Finnish Pulla

We had a combined YM/YW Activity a couple of weeks ago.
Summer signed (me) up to make something from another country.
She chose Pulla.

 When Cole saw this pan of braided bread, he said, "Mom, WHAT is that?"
I said, "braided bread."
He said, "Wow mom.  That looks terrible.  I thought you knew how to braid."
 The YM men at the Church said something different.
They asked what it was and I told them.
Then they asked what makes Pulla so special or different.
Luckily I had asked myself the same question and I had found this information:

What is Cardamom:
The fruit of a large bush that grows wild in the Cardamom Hills in southern India, cardamom is cultivated in Tanzania, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea -- and Guatemala, which is the world's largest exporter.

Traders carried cardamom along the spice routes from India. The Vikings brought it from Constantinople to Scandinavia, where it's still popular, but used almost exclusively in baking. (I can't quite picture a Viking baker. Can you?)

Cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice, after saffron and vanilla, because it too must be harvested by hand, when the pods are only three-quarters ripe, or the pods will split open and spill their seeds.

The paler the green husk, the older the 15-20 small, dark brown seeds inside. The seeds should be sticky; if they aren't sticky, they aren't fresh.

From ancient Rome, three facts about cardamom that might be related: it was used in perfume-making, as an aphrodisiac, and to cure bad breath.

In India, cardamom often flavors tea; in Arab cultures, it flavors coffee. Bedouins will first show the cardamom pods to their guests, as a sign of respect, before pouring coffee over them (the pods, not the guests).

Ssshhh... it's the secret ingredient in Swedish Meatballs.

This important trivia was very impressive to the YM.  
I could tell by the way they listened to attentively as they scarfed down the bread.
Cole must have decided that my bread braids didn't look good, but they tasted just fine.
The bread didn't last long at home either.

Here is the recipe that I used:
2 c. milk
1/2 c.warm water
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 c. white sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. ground cardamom
4 eggs, beaten
9 c. flour
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
2 T. white sugar

warm the milk in a saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat.  Let it cool until lukewarm.

dissolve the yeast in the warm water.  Stir in the milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (abt. 2 cups).  Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Add about 3 cups of flour and beat well.  The dough should be smooth and elastic.  Add the melted butter and stir well.  Beat again until the dough looks glossy.  Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff.

Turn out of bowl unto a floured surface  Cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes.  Knead the dough until smooth and satiny.  Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top.  Cover with a clean dishtowel.  

Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  Punch down and let rise again until almost doubled.

Turn out again on to a flour surface and divide into 3 parts.  Divide into 3 parts again.  Roll each pice into a 12-16 inch strip.  Braid.  You should get 3 braided loafs.  Lift onto greased baking sheets.  Let rise for 20 minutes.

Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 for 25 to 30 minutes.

Check often because the bottom burns easily.

*The recipe says to make sure you have plenty of time because it takes 4 hours to make this.* 
*This is true*


Kristine said...

mmmm...I LOVE PULLA!!! Could you send some my way because I don't have 4 hours to make it? It's best dipped in hot chocolate or when it's getting dry, for French toast.

Amara said...

Also yummy with crushed candy canes on top and --yeah, dipped into hot chocolate...