If you’re a Finn you know you must have pulla at Christmas! I’m sure if I lived in Finland I could eat pulla any day I wanted. Since I haven’t lived in Finland for decades, pulla holds a very special place in my heart, and making pulla brings up all kinds of special memories. My sister Liisa and I have made it our tradition to make pulla every year before Christmas. I’ve lost track of how long we’ve been doing this. It’s been quite a few years already! We’ve had our mom here baking with us too, to give us pointers and guidance, but, when she moved away, it’s been just Liisa and I. We try to get better each year with our pulla techniques, to mimic as closely as we can, what we used to experience as little kids with our mom and granny baking for us.
My friends as me what is pulla all the time, especially around Christmas? I usually say it’s a type of sweet bread. That’s basically what it is. Pulla is flavoured with cardamom, is not overly sweet, and is delicious dipped in coffee (my preference) or tea. It’s made with yeast, we use fresh yeast, flour and a little bit of sugar. You can make a cinnamon roll out of pulla too which is called korvapuusti and they are the three little guys on the plate above, loaded with cinnamon sweetness. They were absolutely delicious and are all long gone! I just found My Blue & White Kitchen and she has a wonderful traditional recipe for korvapuusti and demonstrates how these little guys are made. It’s always a challenge for me to get them to look pretty. So, the dough for pulla is quite basic, but, it’s the cardamom that cranks up the flavour and makes this basic sweet bread so heavenly!
It’s an all day production for us every year. But, Liisa and I look forward to this, because we get to spend the day together just chatting and catching up. We try to schedule the day when we have the house to ourselves! It’s a long production for us and yet my mom tells me, every Sunday, used to be pulla day when she was growing up in Finland. We spend hours at this… I couldn’t imagine doing this weekly. The pulla process has two risings plus a lot of kneading takes place! I’ve never used my Cuisinart attachment for this yet, because, I’ve wanted to experience the full kneading process… hahaha. But, I’ll try it out very soon.
The recipe for our pulla comes from my mom’s very old, and very well-loved, cookbook from Finland. We have always used it and looked up recipes online too. This year is the first year I have made the pulla vegan! It was my first attempt and if I say so myself, it turned out great! The only thing that isn’t as pretty is the glossy, golden, brown colour when its baked. That’s because I didn’t use an egg wash. I have a few more things I’m going to try to improve on the vegan pulla and then I’m going to post the recipe. I used store-bought vegan butter replacement in this recipe, but, I’m going to make the next batch with my own vegan butter replacement. That means no soy, no pea protein, just some healthy oils and a bit of sea salt.
By the way if you haven’t watched Food Choices on Netflix, you should. I watched it with one of my son’s yesterday. It’s really interesting and I really believe most of what they talk about as I’ve seen many of the issues first hand. I learned some new things too. Very, very interesting. Actually my daughter recommended that I watch it. She’s such a smarty pants.
Have you watched any good plant-based eating shows lately? Also, any vegan Christmas baking recipes that you love and would like to share would be greatly appreciated!
Have a wonderful week! Anneli