Pulla – Finnish Cardamom Bread



Okay!  It’s the Finnish Dish and finally!  A real Finnish dish. My grandmother used to make it best. She would make several loaves at a time and we would enjoy a slice or two with coffee. Whole cardamom seeds are a must vs ground cardamom. This bread reminds me of the unique way my grandfather used to drink coffee. Grandma always made coffee on the stove top in a percolator. No Mr. Coffee, Bunns or Keurigs. So the coffee was VERY hot. My grandpa would pour coffee from his cup into his saucer, balance the saucer on one hand and drink it with a lump of sugar in his cheek and a slice of buttered pulla to go with his coffee.   But I digress. Let’s make a loaf.



2 tsp dry yeast

3/4 cups plus 2 T milk

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

4 T sugar

1 T whole cardamom seeds

2 eggs beaten

4 T unsalted butter melted

egg glaze made with 1 egg yolk beaten with one T water

Sprinkle yeast over warmed milk and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center and pour in dissolved yeast. Use a wooden spoon to draw in enough flour to form a soft paste. Cover the bowl with a dishcloth and let it sit for 20 minutes until frothy and risen.



Add the sugar, cardamom seeds,  beaten eggs, and melted butter to the flour well. Mix in the flour from the sides to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, shiny and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or you can knead in a mixer with a dough hook. After kneading put the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with a dish towel, and let it rise until doubled in size. About 2 hours.



Preheat oven to 350. Punch down and let the dough rest 10 minutes. Divide into 3 equal pieces and roll to form 3 ropes (about 16 inches each). Attach the ropes and braid. Place on a buttered baking sheet, cover with a dish towel and proof until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.



Brush with egg glaze and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes until richly golden and hollow sounding when tapped from underneath. Cool on wire rack.

If you’re Finnish or grew up around people who were hopefully each slice will bring back happy memories. If you grew up eating challah it may remind you of that. Pulla makes great toast, French toast or grilled sandwiches.

I watched an awesome video recently of a French lady making a variety of braided breads. Some had three ropes, some four, some five…  They all looked easy when she did them. I tried the one with four ropes that I thought I remembered. Well, I didn’t remember and after several failed attempts to make it look as awesome as hers I gave up and just did my best. Hence the irregular shape of my finished product. Next time I’ll stick with three ropes.

TIP: I was always told that when dissolving yeast the water/milk should be the temperature of a baby’s bath. If you’re unsure use a cooking thermometer. Yeast can be killed by temps of 130F or over. Ideal temp is approximately body temp, 98.6F.

Lemon Breaded Breast of Chicken


I have a dear friend who is famous for her lemon breaded chicken. She makes tons of it every year for her Fourth of July party and it’s one of the first things to go. I’ve never tried her special recipe because I know mine would never taste quite like hers. But today I decided to try my own variation and it was pretty darn good!  I served it with Amish noodles in a creamy chicken sauce.  It’s what was for dinner tonight.


2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut each in 2 and butterfly)

2 T olive oil

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (home made are best)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 generous T lemon pepper

2 cloves fresh garlic

1/2 cup fresh parsley

salt and pepper

2 eggs

1 cup flour

2 T butter

4 lemon slices

Preheat your oven to 350.

Save your stale bread; that good crusty loaf that you didn’t finish makes the best bread crumbs for breading, topping Mac and cheese, etc etc.  For this recipe cube your bread and run it through your food processor.  After the first run through measure out 1 1/2 cups of crumbs and put them back into the processor along with the garlic cloves and parsley. Process once more and then put them onto a plate. Grate your Parmesan cheese and add it to the bread crumbs as well as the lemon pepper and toss to combine.



Get out a casserole dish and spread the olive oil in the bottom. Dip your chicken pieces first into the flour that you’ve added a little salt and pepper to, then the egg that you have lightly whisked, and finally the bread crumbs. I like to do this whole process with my hands but if you like you can use tongs and keep your fingers from getting gooped up.  Lay the breaded chicken pieces in your greased casserole dish. Put a small pat of butter on top of each piece of chicken as well as a thin slice of lemon.



Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes or until chicken is 165 degrees. Bake time depends on the thickness of your chicken pieces but don’t over bake or your chicken will be dry.

I always like to have cranberry sauce with chicken dishes but I didn’t have any. That’s the next canning project!  There will be plenty of fresh cranberries in the grocery soon and I’ll be grabbing up lots of those. The noodles sounded good tonight but any sides would go well with this dish.

Tip:  I ended up with a few extra cups of breadcrumbs today. I put them in quart freezer bags, get as much of the air out as possible and I freeze them. I can take them out another time when I need them for topping a casserole or a vegetable dish. Just toast them on top of your stove in a skillet with a little butter. Good food is a terrible thing to waste.


Enjoy the chicken. I may have to invite my friend over to sample it next time I make it.

Lemon Poppyseed Loaf



Today was a baking day. I found a recipe for lemon loaf and made some modifications including the poppy seeds. I remember having lemon poppy seed muffins frequently at the Courtland Room in Jacobsons and when I tasted this loaf it reminded me a lot of those muffins.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 T poppy seeds

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 T butter at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp lemon extract

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 T lemon zest

1/2 cup canola oil


Preheat oven to 350. With a hand mixer on low speed beat the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon juice until well combined. Whisk together dry ingredients including lemon zest and poppy seeds and gradually add to egg mixture beating on low until well combined. Add canola oil and mix well.


Pour batter into a greased 9×5″ loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. After 10 minutes or so invert the pan.  Allow the loaf to cool completely before adding the glaze.


1 cup powdered sugar

2 T milk or lemon juice

Add the liquid to the powdered sugar gradually and continue whisking until the glaze is smooth and has a good drizzling consistency.  You may not need a full 2 T of liquid. I used lemon juice for my glaze because I liked the additional tartness.


This will be a new favorite for us. I have some key lime extract so I may try using that with key lime juice and zest for a little different taste experience. But it’s all good.

TIP:  If you have extra lemon or lime juice measure it out, put it in a zip lock snack bag, and store in your freezer. Next time you need fresh lemon juice for a recipe and you have no lemons you’ll be glad you saved that extra juice.