Take one bite and you’ll understand why cinnamon buns are a staple of the Finnish cuisine!
The scrumptious and soft Finnish pulla is an everyday sweet treat here in Finland. It comes in many forms: twirls, rolls, braids, and butterfly-like shapes called korvapuusti.
The core is always the same: the sweet, buttered, cardamon-dotted bread dough. In fact, a good dough is the only secret behind an amazing pulla.
Baking pulla is super easy and cheap. You don’t even need a mixer!
The Story Behind This Pulla Recipe
I’m sharing the same pulla recipe which my mom wrote in my recipe book when I was 11. I’ve been using this recipe religiously ever since.
This small batch of Finnish cinnamon rolls is suitable for beginners because kneading a bigger dough may feel like a workout.
You’ll make around 25 buns with this recipe. Empiric studies show that two adults and two school-aged kids eat that amount easily in a day. At least in this household.
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In Finland, we use deciliters but I have converted the amounts to American cups. To avoid weird conversions like ”0,38 cups”, the American version is slightly bigger than the Finnish version.
So roll up your sleeves and be prepared for some kneading!
Ingredients to Finnish Cinnamon Rolls
Dough with Finnish measurements
- 2,5 dl milk
- 25 g fresh yeast*
- 1 dl granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar
- 1 tbsp cardamom
- 1 tsp salt
- 75 g butter
- z. 7 dl bread or coarse wheat flour
Dough with American measurements
- 1 generous cup milk
- 1 oz fresh yeast*
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 heaped tsp vanilla sugar
- 1 heaped tbsp cardamom
- 1 tsp salt
- 2/3 stick butter
- z. 3 cups bread or coarse wheat flour
- 2/3 stick or 75 g butter
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 0,5 dl granulated sugar
- 1 egg, whisked
- pearl sugar
*In Finland, you can buy fresh yeast (next to milk in shops) or instant yeast powder (in spices). Both work! Check the instant yeast package for the exact amount you should use for this amount of liquid. In Finland, this dough requires one sachet of instant yeast (11 g = z. 2 tsp).
Add yeast to warm milk and mix well. Milk needs to be z. 99°F / 37°C to activate the fresh yeast. If you are using instant yeast, the milk should be z. 108°F / 42°C. I heat the milk in a microwave and check the temperature with my finger. If the milk doesn’t feel cold or warm, it’s perfect for fresh yeast!
Whisk in sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, and cardamom.
Stir in flour one cup at a time and a dough begins to form.
Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl. It should become elastic. Add butter and continue to knead the butter in. In total, around five minutes of kneading should be fine. Now you have a smooth dough ball in the bowl.
Cover the bowl with a towel and leave in a warm place. I often use a microwave, but off-mode! Preheat the microwave by heating a cup of water. Take the cup away. Then put the bowl with the towel into the microwave and leave to rest.
Wait for at least 30 minutes so that the dough rises. The dough should double in size.
Put the dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a 15x15 inch (40x40 cm) square.
Spread softened butter evenly over dough. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.
Roll up the dough. Cut into 1/2 inch or 1,5 cm sections with a knife.
Place the cinnamon rolls on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Cover them with a towel and let rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 390°F / 200°C.
Whisk one egg and brush it to the tops of the cinnamon rolls to help them brown. Sprinkle pearl sugar on top. Then bake the rolls for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Allow the buns to cool a bit under a towel and eat immediately!
Have you baked Finnish cinnamon buns yet?
PS. If you love pulla, check my tutorial for Finnish winter buns with whipped cream and jam!
Looking for more Finnish recipes? Check out some of my other Finnish food posts: