Cardamom bread

Cardamom breads, including the Finnish pulla (or nisu) and Swedish kardemummabröd and kardemummabullar, are a group of enriched breads or pastry flavored with cardamom. They are eaten throughout the year, typically with coffee or tea.

Cardamom bread
Finnish "pulla" cardamom bread
TypeSweet pastry
Place of originFinland, Sweden
Main ingredientsCardamom

Cardamom[1] is a spice used in several Nordic countries in cakes, cookies, and biscuits, including traditional Finnish Christmas pastries.[2]


Vehnänen, Pulla
Several pulla loaves (dark roast (tummapaahto) in the top-right corner)
Alternative namesNisu, Biscuitia
TypeSweet roll
Place of originFinland
Main ingredientscardamom seeds; raisins or sliced almonds

Pulla (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈpulːɑ]) is a mildly-sweet Finnish sweet roll or dessert bread flavored with crushed cardamom seeds and occasionally raisins or sliced almonds. Braided loaves (pitko) are formed from three or more strands of dough. The loaves may also be formed into a ring. They are typically coated with egg wash and then sprinkled with white sugar or almonds. Other types of pulla include small round buns that resemble English scones but have a sugar and butter topping, and larger cinnamon rolls called korvapuusti. The outside typically has a shiny, brown glaze, formed by a coating of egg white, milk or a mixture of sugar and brewed coffee.

Usually pulla is baked as a small, round, brioche-style loaf, which is served whole, or as a long loaf called pullapitko, which is sliced, and can be braided to make it more decorative and festive. Some variations are topping it with chopped walnuts and vanilla icing, raisins added to the dough, cinnamon rolls (called korvapuusti, sometimes topped with pearl sugar or almond flakes[3]), butter and sugar buns called voisilmäpulla, berry toppings and curd filled buns called rahkapulla. For special occasions, saffron may be added to the dough to impart flavour and a yellow tint.

In Finland, pulla is often served with coffee. In cafeterias, the quality of the pulla is considered a sign of the establishment's overall quality.

Pulla is also common in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Ontario, areas in the United States and Canada which have large Finnish populations. There it is also commonly known as nisu, an old Finnish word still in use with the same meaning in some dialects, despite originally simply meaning 'wheat'. The term korppu refers instead to a biscotti-like, double-baked breadstick for dunking in coffee that is often made from leftover nisu.[4]

In Sweden

Swedish cardamom breads include kardemummabröd (bread) and kardemummabullar (buns). Pulla is known in Swedish as bulle or kanelbulle.

Cardamom bread is considered a traditional food among Swedish Americans.[5][6][7] Cardamom buns are eaten along with coffee or tea.[8]

See also


  1. Julens alla dofter Archived December 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. Julens Kryddor Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Pullataikina". Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  4. Ojakangas, B. (1988). The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co.
  5. Lewis, Anne Gillespie (28 December 2017). Swedes in Minnesota. Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 9780873514781. Retrieved 28 December 2017 via Google Books.
  6. Kaplan, Anne R.; Hoover, Marjorie A. (28 December 1986). The Minnesota Ethnic Food Book. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 133. Retrieved 28 December 2017 via Internet Archive. swedish cardamom bread.
  7. Semion, Bill (1 June 2007). Michigan: Hundreds of Ideas for Day Trips with the Kids. Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 9780762743957. Retrieved 28 December 2017 via Google Books.
  8. Mat, Allt om. "– Recipes". Retrieved 28 December 2017.
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