The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Pulla, fresh flour and HOLY oven spring!

Skibum's picture

Pulla, fresh flour and HOLY oven spring!

I began browsing the fresh loaf mid 2009, when I was trying to learn how to bake proper bread. Over the years the suggestions, advice, support and references have taught me much about baking bread. I enjoy the breads I bake.

Perhaps the best early advice I adopted was from a poster who suggested that if you can buy your flour from your local artisan baker do so. I have done so ever since, in Canmore and now in Golden where I just bought my second bag of bread flour from our local bakery.

Now I bake pulla about every 10 days to two weeks, but the starter loaf I mixed Tuesday with the new batch of flour resulted in more oven spring than I have ever seen. Mind you the pulla loaf I baked 2 weeks ago was with 5 month old flour, but holy cow I have never seen such oven spring before!

The result was a nice loose crumb, great flavour and eat ablility! The dark on the crust is from the granulated sugar I generously sprinkled on the egg wash coating prior to baking. There is much to be said for an active, well fed starter, but I think the real hero here is the flour. the owner and head baker of this 50 year old family run bakery has been buying flour from the same southern Alberta mill near Lethbridge since the bakery opened. I feel blessed to be able to bake with such a good flour and have been loving the results!

Happy baking! Ski

PS anyone wants the recipe, please just ask and I will post it in the comments.


Danni3ll3's picture

Hubby is Finn and he loves pulla. His mom made great pulla but I never got the recipe from her. Hers had cardamom in it. Now, I resort to buying it but it’s not the same. 

DesigningWoman's picture

Would very much like to have the recipe for this lovely bread... 

Thanks so much and keep on baking!


Skibum's picture

For my pulla recipe, I have converted a traditional yeast recipe to a 'sourdough' or natural yeast recipe. First I make a sponge:

190 g whole milk scalded to above 135F

150 g liquid levain (100% hydratiion wheat starter, well refreshed)

85 g granulated sugar

8 cardamom pods hulled and ground 75 g beaten eggs

150 g strong bread flour

Let the cardamom steep in the hot milk and dissolve the sugar. When the milk has cooled below 100F add the 75g egg - about 11/2 eggs. Use the rest for the finishing glaze. Let the sponge get bubbly for a couple of hours

Final dough


135 g strong bread flour

Mix flour until smooth and then add

50 g melted butter

beat dough until smooth then add

135 g strong bread flour and

7 g salt

1 tsp instant yeast

Mix until well blended and rest for 10 minutes. To develop the dough, I do 4 sets of stretch and folds, or stretch knead and folds with 10 minutes rest in between. Bulk rise until2.5-3x size, 2 or three hours.

Divide the dough in three equal pieces, which for me go about 332 grams, pre-shape and rest for 10 minutes. After the rest I roll out some short tubes by hand, then roll out some thin strips with a pastry roller. The strips are then rolled into longer fat tubes and rested again covered for 10 minutes. After rest the tubes are hand rolled again into long slim tubes nearly ready for braiding. Another 5 minutes rest and a final shaping of the tubes and braid it up.

Finished with two coats of egg wash, followed by two generous coats of granulated sugar. Baked at 400F for 14 minutes with steam and finished for 12 minutes no steam.

I hope you both give it a try. It is not difficult to bake and really is a delicious coffee bread. Nothing like starting a morning with some fresh pulla from the oven and esprsso coffe one can stand a spoon up in!

Happy baking! Ski!

DesigningWoman's picture

It's on the list!


PalwithnoovenP's picture

The almost black crust makes it look more mysterious than usual.

Skibum's picture

It refreshing for me to return to tfl and see familiar faces. I have been sprinkling a lot more granulated sugar on the pulla than before and it s the sugar that blackens. It still gives a  nice sweet taste, but with a slight bitter note. In browsing the posts here once again, I was pleased to read that you now HAVE an oven! Pleased to here this news!!! Please continue to entertain us with your unique breads and intereresting narrative!

Happy baking! Ski

dabrownman's picture

it is better than the other 'palefaced' ones!

Happy skiing and boldly baking Ski

Skibum's picture

I hope you and Lucy and still coming up with creative things to bake and eat. Returning here to the fresh loaf has inspired me to break out of my baking rut. Okay baking pulla every 2 weeks will never be a rut. I really was astonished at the oven spring from this new fresh batch of premium bakery bread flour. Never seen it blow up that big. Must be a great batch of flour! Not much of a skibum anymore I'm afraid. Wth age, my fire of getting out 80 - 100 days a season has subsided. I have one ski day this season. I may go tomorrow, but brrrr it is going to be pretty cold. getting soft in my old age.

Happy baking! Ski

SweetBreads's picture


This and other recipes I have been reading on TFL give me hope for converting my ethnic holiday sweet bread recipes to "sourdoughs."  I look forward to the challenge!  First I have to resurrect or bury my languishing sourdough starter in the fridge.  Make some decent traditionally sourdough breads with my resurrected or new starter.  Convert my existing customary measurements to weights and learn the difference between a soaker and a sponge.  I think I am currently using a quick sponge method to hydrate a portion of the flour and dry ingredients with my osmotolerant yeast (SAF Gold).  The original recipes called for proofing dried instant yeast prior to mixing it with the warm wet ingredients and slowly incorporating the dry.  Since converting to home-milled wholegrain flours, I have found that hydrating about half of the flour with the warm wet ingredients and yeast for about 8 to 10 minutes works better.  Currently, I use a 50/50 blend of Kamut Khorasan wheat and Prairie Gold white hard spring wheat.  I also have Bronze Chief red hard spring wheat, but my family is not as fond of the earthy flavor of red wheat so I mostly blend that into more savory applications.

Your dark crust makes me feel better about my Lussekatter that tend to get dark very quickly.  I still prefer a lighter crust on my houska (Vánočka) and stollen, but that is what I am used to from childhood.  I never had the joy of eating our holiday breads fresh from a wood fired goals.

Your bread looks beautiful.  I may have to try baking a loaf of my own soon, especially since our local Finnish group seems to have given up on trying to host an annual Christmas Bazaar.  The option to buy Pulla is no more for me.  :'-(  Thank you for providing your recipe in the comments.  Cardamom is one of my favorite spices, especially when it is ground fresh.  Mmmm!  Heaven!


Skibum's picture

Well I am still an active baker but haven't posted here for a year it looks like. Pulla is my favourite loaf to bake and has been my favourite to eat since childhood. In converting yeasted breads to sourdough, I use 15-20% of the water dough weight. So for 400g flour and 300g water = 700g, I would use between 105 - 140g starter. You will need to subtract the weight of the flour and water in the starter from the leasd recipe amounts. So the 400g becomes 300g and the water 200g with the addition of the starter.

I hope that isn't too confusing. Happy baking! Ski