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Pulla (Nisu)

Pulla bread is Finland’s (and Scandinavia’s) go-to coffee bread. It is uniquely flavored with aromatic ground cardamom. Histroically, pulla has been called nisu, and this term is still used occasionally. While traditionally the bread is braided, pulla can be enjoyed as thick slices from a loaf or as pulled buns. Cinnamon and nuts may also be added according to the cook’s preferences.

Recipe Servings: 4

Prep Time
1 hour 30 minutes
+ 1 hour resting
Cook Time
30 minutes
Total Time
3 hours
Gluten Free
Dairy Free


  • 2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1 Tbsp instant active dry yeast
  • 4 cups and 2 Tbsp bread flour, divided, plus more for surfaces
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ground cardamom 
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water


  1. Add warm milk to a large bowl.
  2. Combine yeast with 2 tablespoons flour and stir into warm milk, dissolving yeast.
  3. Add sugar, cardamom, salt, and egg. Mix well.
  4. Gradually stir in 4 cups flour and mix into a soft dough.
  5. Mix in butter, and knead dough until it leaves the sides of the bowl.
  6. Shape into a ball, cover, and let rise for 60 minutes in a warm spot.
  7. Preheat oven 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  8. Punch down dough and roll out on a floured surface.
  9. Form three 15–18-inch strands and braid into a roll. 
  10. Place dough on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 20–30 minutes to a light gold. Be careful not to overbake.
  11. While bread is baking, dissolve powdered sugar in water. Drizzle over pulla while still warm.

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