finnish pulla recipe!

today i am sharing a recipe from my motherland, finland. pulla is a traditional, popular coffee bread enjoyed by everyone. it’s the kind of food my mummo always had on hand to offer people when they came for a visit.Β 

we make pulla for all the major holidays. it’s a special treat and something yummy we love to enjoy!

the original recipe is from “the finnish cookbook” by beatrice a. ojakangas, but we make a few modifications to suit our own taste and fit our allergy needs.


1 package active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
7-8 cardamom pods or 1 tsp ground cardamom
4 eggs (or egg substitute)
8 cups flour
1/2 cup melted butter

1 egg beaten
1/2 sliced almonds
1/2 cup coarse granulated sugar


1. dissolve the yeast in warm water. stir in milk, sugar, salt, cardamom eggs and 2 cups of flour to make a batter. beat until the batter is smooth and elastic. then add 3 more cups of flour, ensuring the dough remains smooth and glossy.

2. add melted butter and the remaining flour stir until a stiff dough forms.

3. place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Β once the dough is smooth, place it into a greased mixing bowl, turning it over once to grease the top. let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour (doubled in bulk). then, punch the dough down and let sit for another 30 minutes.

4. preheat the oven to 400F. lightly flour a board or your flat work surface and divide the dough into three even sections. roll out each section until about 16 inches long, and then braid the three sections together. pinch both ends and tuck under. let sit and rise a little longer, approx. 20 minutes.

5. glaze the braids with your beaten egg mixture. add almonds and sugar as desired. bake for about 25-30 minutes on a lightly greased baking sheet. ensure they don’t get overcooked as they will dry out. remove from oven when braids are golden brown.

6. serves 3 braids. slice and serve with a fresh cuppa coffee!


xo, mama lola
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  1. says

    I made this for the first time this year. (Julia Child recipe) And it was the first time I baked with cardamom. It was AMAZING! And I now use cardamom more and more. (even crush a pod or two and throw in coffee before the pot brews)
    Your bread looks great.

    • says

      i love cardamon! it is very common in finnish cooking and baking, unlike here in canada. i love the idea of throwing some in your coffee. will have to try that! thanks for stopping by!

  2. says

    One of my friends who is Finnish share this bread with us and it was AMAZING! Stopping by from Skip to My Lou πŸ™‚

  3. ElinaMS says

    Hei! I’m a Finnish-American type, and traveling to my future-in-laws this Christmas I had to look up a pulla recipe to make for them as mine is back home. Kiitti! Just curious, what do you do for topping your karjalanpiirakka with the egg allergy? I’d be curious to see hear of any experimenting you have done to make a substitute for egg butter.

  4. Jen says

    I am teaching my oldest daughter how to make Pulla and was wondering if there are other ways to shape the bread.

    Thank you

    • mama lola says

      hi jen! thanks for stopping by!
      i have never seen pulla served in any other shape, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t. since it’s just dough i’m sure you could make various shapes with it! baking times may vary depending how thick or thin parts of the loaf/ shape.
      i hope this is helpful!
      xo, mama lola

  5. Kaarina says

    Hi There!! Made this bread tonight…Havent had Pulla since I was a child, my late Aunt would have some baked when we visited πŸ™‚ Followed your recipe, but holy smokes, the loaf was the size a small baby…Was I suppose to split it into 3 separate loaves?? lol Thanks!! – Kaarina

  6. Cindy Triff says

    Why does the recipe ingredient list 8 cups of flour however the recipe directions only show 5 cups being used?

    • mama lola says

      good question! clearly a type due to not enough coffee! thanks for bringing it to my attention.