Finnish Pulla Cardamom Bread

So lets just say that I love pulla. Get it out in the open, when it comes to Finnish cardamom bread, I love it! I eat it plain, with butter, toasted, toasted with butter and jam, toasted with butter and cheese and if it gets a little old, dip it in coffee.

Finnish Pulla. Cardamom bread. Traditional Finnish recipe

Pulla is usually baked as a loaf. However for special occasions the Finn’s or Swedes will braid it into a ring, add a glaze or almonds to the top.  This dough is very versatile. You can use it for small single buns or cinnamon buns. I like to make 2 batches and use one for the traditional loaves and one for cinnamon buns.

Pulla is also called Nisu, which simply means” wheat” or depends on who you ask “this bread”. Pulla simply put means “bun”.  Pulla is typically served at most coffee tables throughout Finland. The Finn’s enjoy their coffee at a prepared coffee table set with napkins, cookies, pulla and of course coffee in cute cups.  There is a saying in Finland “Parempi leipä kuin kulta” which translates to “better bread the gold” I think I would agree.

For better results make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Also I like to use whole cardamom seeds that I crush with a mortal and pestle or a coffee grinder. It gives much better flavor then the cardamom you buy in the spice section already ground.

Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in water  fairly hot to touch.  Mixture will be light brown in color and foamy.


Pour the milk that has been scalded and cooled to room temperature into the bowl. Mix in eggs, sugar, cardamom and salt.

Add 5 cups of flour. Mix until smooth. Add melted butter. Then add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough is smooth to the touch.


Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled.

Divide risen dough into 3 equal parts.

Divide each 1/3 into 2 equal parts and roll out until approx 30″.

Fold 1 of the rolled pieces of dough over the other. See photo above

Braiding with 4

Follow the guide above for the traditional braiding. The pulla can also be braided with 3 strands. Braid as you would a regular braid.

Egg wash on pulla
Egg wash

Place braided dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Let rise about 20 min. Brush loaves with a beaten egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar.  In the photo above I used raw sugar. I have also used a cinnamon sugar mix.

Baked pulla loaves

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 min. Cool on racks.

cutting cinnamon buns
Cutting the cinnamon bun dougn


Each 1/3 can be rolled out flat and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  Roll up the dough length wise and cut at an angle. See photo.

pressing the cinnamon bun
pressing the bun

Place each bun onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and press down in the center with your index finger. See photo

Cinnamon bun with pulla dough
ready to bake

Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with your choice of sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 min.

cinnamon bun
Baked cinnamon bun


5 from 4 votes


A slightly sweet dense cardamom flavored bread.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 16 slices


  • 2 cups scalded and cooled milk
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 whole eggs beaten
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7-7 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg beaten for egg wash on loaf


  1. Scald milk. Let cool to room temperature. Set aside. 

    2.  In mixing bowl add yeast and 1 tsp of the sugar. Pour in warm water and stir. Cover and let site for 5 min. 

    3. In the mixing bowl stir in milk, sugar, eggs, cardamom and salt. Stir until blended. Gradually stir in 5 cups of the flour. 1 cup at a time. Mix until well blended. Slowly pour in the melted butter until dough is shiny. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time. 

    4.Place dough into a greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled. Approx 45 min. Divide the dough into thirds. Working with a one third at a time. Cut in half or thirds and braid. Move braided loaf onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Let rise 20 min. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with choice of sugar. 

    5.Bake for 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

    6.Cool on rack.

I hope that you enjoy this Finnish treat as much as I do. It makes a great gift!

6 Replies to “Finnish Pulla Cardamom Bread”

  1. Mmm! I think I’ll be in the kitchen today… The braiding – thank you! Thanks to your finger- poker helper, too!

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