Finnish Pulla

Finnish Pulla

1/4 cup lukewarm water
5-6 grams instant yeast (about half the sachet)
1 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter/margarine, melted

1 egg or just the yolk for egg wash
1 tbsp sugar for sprinkle

Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water.
Stir in the lukewarm milk, sugar, cardamom, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour. Beat until smooth.
Add about 1 1/2 cup of the flour, beat well until smooth and glossy in appearance.
Add salt and melted butter/margarine, beat well.
Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff.
Turn the dough out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with the inverted bowl. Let rest for 15 minutes.

Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turn the dough around to grease all over the surface. 
Cover with clean dishtowel, let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch down, let rise again until almost doubled (for about another hour).

Turn out again onto a floured surface, divide into 2 parts. Divide each part into 3 parts.
Roll each piece into a 30-40 cm long strip.
Braid 3 strip into a loaf. You should get 2 large braided loaves.
Transfer the braids onto a greased baking sheets. I used a 9x13 inch baking pan.
Let rise for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180-200 Celsius.

Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until browned. Check occasionally because the bottom (and top) burns easily.
Mine took about 15 minutes to get done. It might differ in different oven.



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