Pulla (Finnish Coffee Bread)

Pulla Bread

Pulla (Finnish Coffee Bread)

Northern Ontario with its rugged Canadian landscape, predominantly coniferous forest and cold snowy winters, has often been compared to Finland. It is not surprising then that there are many Finnish speaking Canadians, including my grandparents, that love this part of Canada. Being served warm Pulla bread with a slather of butter and a hot cup of coffee was a common welcoming treat when visiting neighbours in my hometown. So, at a young age, Pulla was the first bread I learnt to make. Golden brown with a light sugar topping and scented with a generous amount of cardamom, this bread always reminds me of home and making it around Christmas time keeps my hometown close to my heart.
YIELD : 3 braided loaves
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course breakfast, snack
Cuisine Finnish
Servings 36 slices
Calories 160 kcal


  • 2 baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • optional: thermometer


  • cups milk scalded
  • cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • tablespoons ground cardamom or 10 cardamom seeds finely crushed
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • cups all-purpose flour

To activate the yeast:

  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast alternatively you can use instant dry yeast and omit activating it with sugar and water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup lukewarm water

To brush the tops:

  • 2 egg yolks slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar pearl, coarse or regular sugar


  • Scald the milk by microwaving it on high for 3 minutes. Alternatively, heat until just boiling on the stovetop. (Scalded milk is achieved at 180°F)
  • Add the butter to the milk and let sit until melted. Put aside and let cool for 15-30 minutes, you want to make sure that the temperature of the liquid is warm enough to promote growth in the yeast but not so hot as to kill it. Ideally you will allow this mixture to sit until the temperature reads between 100°F-110°F. (If you do not have a thermometer, stick your figure in the liquid, it should feel a little warmer than lukewarm. If it feels too hot for you it will be too hot for the yeast and the yeast will die.)
  • Ten minutes before your milk mixture is ready to use proof your yeast. Add the one tablespoon of sugar to the yeast in a small bowl and whisk in the lukewarm water. Allow this mixture to sit for 10 minutes. (If you are using instant yeast, skip the proofing. Just add it in the next step.)
  • To a large bowl, add the milk mixture, sugar, yeast mixture, cardamom, eggs. Mix to combine. (Wait to add the salt until you have added in most of the flour.)
  • Add in 6½ cups of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Then, add the 2 teaspoons of salt. Add in additional flour until you get a soft dough. This is usually around 7 cups.
  • Knead the dough with your hands for 5-7 minutes. The dough will be slightly tacky to start and will get less tacky as you knead it. Once you are done kneading the dough put it in a bowl that has been greased lightly with butter.
  • Cover with a tea towel and allow it to rise in a warm place for 1½-2 hours. It may not double in size but it should be obvious that the dough has risen.
  • Cut the dough into thirds and then divide each third into three. You will then have three braids for each loaf of bread.
  • Roll the dough into ropes breaking any bubbles in the braids. Tightly braid and form three loaves. Place the braided loaves parchment-lined baking sheets. Set the loaves to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour. Note: You want the rise to finish in the oven so do not worry if they have not doubled in size.
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F
  • Brush each loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with sugar.
  • Put the sheets in the oven and bake each at 375°F for about 30-40 minutes. The tops should be golden brown and the center should not feel doughy.



Serving: 1sliceCalories: 160kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 171mgPotassium: 61mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 138IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 1mg
Keyword braided, bread, cardamon, Christmas, coffee bread, Pulla, sweet bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

5 Replies to “Pulla (Finnish Coffee Bread)”

  1. 5 stars
    Very successful Pulla. Love it. It came out beautiful.. Not too dense and very flavorful!
    great instructions.
    I adjusted my mom’s recipe just a little to match yours.
    Your YouTube video is great to follow or to watch before you start.

  2. Thank you for the detailed video. It had been years since I had baked pulla bred with my mom. Your video and recipe made baking very accessible. Merry Christmas!

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