Pulla bread

Pulla bread

Scandinavian Christmas
2 loaves
Lars Ranek

In Scandinavia, December is the time for white, glossy, heavy bread, unlike the rye bread we favour for the rest of the year... Christmas is not the time for health food! This lovely loaf is best eaten the day it is baked, though after that it makes great toast.


Quantity Ingredient
50g fresh yeast
250ml lukewarm whole milk
100g salted butter, softened, cut into small pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 more to brush
700g plain flour, sifted, plus more to dust
100g golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cardamom seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
100g raisins
50g blanched almonds, chopped, plus more to sprinkle


  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large mixing bowl, then add the butter and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and cardamom. Mix this into the yeast mixture with the raisins and almonds. Now knead the dough on a floured surface for five minutes.
  2. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Now punch down the dough (‘knock it back’), and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Divide the dough in two. Roll each piece into a rectangular shape, then cut each rectangle into three long ‘fingers’. Plait three strands of dough together to form a braid, pressing in the ends, then repeat with the other three strands. Place both loaves on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, cover once more with clean tea towels and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the loaves with beaten egg, sprinkle with a few more almonds, then bake in the hot oven for 25–30 minutes, or until golden. Leave to rest on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, then serve plain, or spread with butter and jam.
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