July 16, 2011

Spelt pulla - Finnish cardamom buns

There are some classic recipes one should not try to modernise. Pulla, or Finnish bun, probably falls into this category, and there is no doubt some people who are orthodox about this sweet, cardamom spiced treat, would not consider my version to be called 'pulla' because it is lacking some essential ingredients. All Finns are supposed to learn to make pulla from a very young age and most of us grow up in a household where fresh pulla is baked at least every fortnight.

I have taken the classic recipe and made it my own. I've replaced plain wheat flour with whole spelt and used olive oil instead of butter. Does it work? Yes. Does it taste like pulla? Yes! These are soft and sweet, just like they are supposed to be, and they have a distinct cardamom flavour. Cardamom is the most quintessential flavour in the dough, so everything else in this recipe, give or take, you can experiment with, just please don't leave cardamom out!


 Spelt pulla
(makes 20-25)

500ml warm milk (42C)
22g dry yeast
300g whole spelt flour

1 large free-range egg
80g raw caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
600-800g whole spelt flour, extra
150ml olive oil

1 large free-range egg, extra, for brushing
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, for topping
2 tablespoons rapadura sugar, for topping

1. For the starter, mix the dry yeast with 100 grams of the flour, then stir the mixture into the warm milk. Add in the remaining 200 grams of flour and stir well to combine. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 15-20 minutes or until the starter is bubbly.

2. Stir in the egg, sugar, cardamom and salt and start kneading in the flour. Once the dough feels soft and starts unsticking your hand, knead in the olive oil, followed by a bit more flour. Leave the dough to rest (in a bowl, covered with a tea towel) for 20-30 minutes.

3. Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface. Divide the dough into equal portions (about 20), then roll the portions into balls. Place the balls on two baking trays lined with baking paper. Cover the trays with tea towels and leave to rise for a further 20 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C. 

5. Brush the buns with the egg and sprinkle each bun with a cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack covered with tea towels.Serve warm with a glass of cold milk.

PS. Here is my mum's original recipe for the Finnish cinnamon rolls
http://scandifoodie.blogspot.com/2009/08/aivan-ensimmaiseksi-pullaa-tietenkin.html


47 comments:

  1. They look amazing and I love the changes you have made.

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  2. This heakthy version is fabulous! Very different from the traditional Pulla. I'd love to bite in on of those lovely babies.

    Cheers.

    Rosa

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  3. wow! these look incredible! I've never heard of them until now!

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  4. Finnish pulla, oohh, so lovely! Have a great day Maria!

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  5. I love it when you have things that work out, even with substitutions and tweaks

    "Does it work? Yes. Does it taste like pulla? Yes! These are soft and sweet, just like they are supposed to be, and they have a distinct cardamom flavour."

    YAY!

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  6. I've yet to use Spelt flour as I onced purchased a product w it as the primary ingredient that I didn't care for- You've convinced me that was just a fluke and I'm going to try these! Love your blog as always:-) xoxo
    ~Juliane

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  7. Let me just tell you once again that LOVE your recipes :) All the things you bake look perfect! They are also very 'my kind' of bakes!
    SO healthy, simple and rustic!!

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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  8. Your buns look really delicious and I bet some rich butter will do them justice!

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  9. I love traditional recipes. But there's nothing more interesting than "messing" with them.
    These buns look amazing.
    Magda

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  10. oh soo nice, perfect for breakfast!

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  11. never tried pulla before *shock* but oh they look so delicious!

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  12. I love cardamom and am trying to use it in desserts and baking. Thanks for sharing this traditional recipe. Should I use regular AP and butter, what are the measurements?

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  13. I have a really good friend from Finland. She was always talking about pulla. I've always been intrigued by it but I didn't remember the cardamom ingredient. It looks lovely.

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  14. I like mildly-sweet buns, especially Finnish "pulla" or Swedish "bullar".
    Your pullat look so delicious!

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  15. Such delicious looking buns. Having them warm out of the oven would be pure bliss!

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  16. Your use of olive oil makes pulla sounds really luscious and elegant. I would say this is a welcoming tweak to a classic recipe. Well done.

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  17. I can always appreciate a bun that is mildly sweet; as opposed to the common sickly sweet store bought variety.

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  18. I am already having fantasies of waking up to these tomorrow; nice thought! I should bake them right before too!

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  19. Thank you all for your comments!

    Here's my traditional recipe for the cinnamon rolls, if you're keen to try

    http://scandifoodie.blogspot.com/2009/08/aivan-ensimmaiseksi-pullaa-tietenkin.html

    In the recipe above, you can use the same amount of all plain flour instead of spelt and 150g melted butter instead of olive oil.

    Maria
    x

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  20. I didnt know that cardamom is so popular in Finland too--we use it a lot in Indian cooking..Its gives so much warmth to sweet treats.I think I will try these buns for my husband- he is not much of a cinnamon fan- cardamom will work perfect for him!

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  21. I've never tried pulla before but these look yummy :) I love the cardamom! I love using it with fruit in desserts, but in buns I bet the smell is amazing. I think the spelt flour and olive oil are great changes :)

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  22. I love anything Cardamom and these look delicious!

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  23. I've nevr heard of pulla but this look so tasty!!

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  24. I've heard about pulla buns, but I've never tried making them. They look amazing with that tender crumb, and the cardamom flavor sounds great!

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  25. Maria - largely for health reasons I have not been baking. Your blog is changing my mind bigtime! Oh, I remember making and eating and loving pulla in my childhood days in Estonia. Spelt flour and olive oil - I believe it is time to start 'playing' around with yeast again! :D !

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  26. When I saw "cardamom", I wanted to go straight to the comment box, saying "yes yes, cardamom's aroma and flavor is so distinctively special!"
    I add them (to infuse) in milk for Chai Masala - with or without it, it is so different!

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  27. Cardamon is one of my favorite spice. The aroma of this spice transforms the food into another level.
    The finnish buns look scrumptious with spelt flour and I love this variation of the traditional recipe.

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  28. I dont fancy cardamom... Your photos are enticing me to try and make some... Gorgeous pulla :)

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  29. Can't wait to try these. I have been thinking about doing a sweet-spice version of my whole wheat bread and think I may just make this instead! lovely.

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  30. They look absolutely gorgeous Maria! I don't think it matters so much that you changed the flour, you still retained the essence of the Pulla by using cardamon :)

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  31. Oooh, These cute buns look simply beautiful, Maria! I could just eat one of those now :)

    Hugs,

    Aldy.

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  32. These fresh from the oven would be sensational. Love the substitution with the spelt also.

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  33. I could just imagine the aromas wafting around the house with these baking in the oven - nothing better than freshly baked bread. They sound quite scrumptious - nice and simple flavours.

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  34. These look amazing! I love the flavours you have used and your pics are beautiful as always.

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  35. I don't know the original pulla but I know that I am loving your version. There is nothing like a piece of warm bread straight out of the oven. Thanks for sharing and beautiful photos Maria :)

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  36. Mmm I adore cardamom and such a new use for me seeing them in buns. I've heard so many good things about spelt but have yet to try it. I think it's about time!

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  37. I love the sound of these, traditional or no! Cardamom is my favorite spice, and I don't think I've ever had it quite like this.

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  38. mmmmmm....cardamom....It's the cornerstone of Scandinavian baking. I love it! Your pulla sound fantastic and I love that you haven't been mean with the cardamom - I can smell them all the way down here in Melbourne!

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  39. looks delicious id love to have these for breakfast everyday, maybe dipped in some condensed milk!

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  40. Oh cardamom, I love it so. And these buns looks so unique and tasty.

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  41. Perfect! Thats the only word I can use to describe all the bread you make :) it always turns out perfect!

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  42. I love cardamom flavor, these are great!

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  43. Mmm these sound comforting. Loving cardamon at the moment, especially with chocolate in popsicle form :)

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  44. i love the subtle and complex flavor of cardamom--what a great idea to incorporate it into some fluffy buns!

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  45. I love your bread recipes. These are such perfect, tempting rolls and I love the sweet touch.

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  46. I had a Finnish kindergarten teacher growing up in Australia and learned to make braided pulla. To this day it is my FAVORITE thing to eat. Thanks for posting your modified version, I'll be trying it out asap!

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  47. oh i just made these and they're very yummy! i'm in canada and definitely had the oven on 180 fahrenheit for a little while. whoops--celsius is needed, clearly. eventually, things all worked out. mmm

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