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Finnish Basic Pulla
Everyday Buns

5 dl milk (or 5dl water + 1 dl milk powder)
50 gr fresh yeast
1 - 2 eggs
1 1/2 - 2 dl granulated sugar
1 tablespon cardamon
1 1/2 tsp salt, or less
15 - 16 dl wheat flour (approx)
150 gr butter or margarine)
1 dl raisins
1 egg, for coating
coarse sugar or almond slivers or crushed nuts, for garnish

Bring all the ingredients to room-temperature. Crumble the yeast
in warm milk. Stir to dissolve the yeast competely. Stir in the
eggs, sugar, cardamon and salt. (If using raisins, add them in.
Some Finns feel a pulla is no good without raisins.) Add most of
the flour, first stirring then kneading by hand or with a mixer.
Add soft or melted butter and the rest of the flour. The dough
should be firm to touch and handle but not overly stiff.

Let the dough rise in a warm place under a towel or plastic wrap,
until it is doubled in size. You can speed up the rising process
by placing the dough bowl in hot water. Knead the dough again when
it has doubled in size (use a little flour if the dough is sticky).
Let it rest (under a towel again) for additional 10 minutes. Make
small (or big if you like) equal-sized balls and place them on a
cookie sheet that's covered with baking sheet/greaseproof paper.
There should be approx. an inch of space between the Pulla balls
as they will swell somewhat in the oven. Let the buns rise again
on the cookie sheet for a while before putting them in the oven.
Brush the buns with beaten egg and garnish as desired.

Heat the oven to 225C (approx. 450 F.) and bake the buns for about
10 minutes. Cool them on the cookie sheet under a towel. This
recipe claims to yield 50 small buns.

Variation: Festive Buns - Use two eggs, 2 dl sugar and 200 - 250
gr butter. Otherwise make buns as directed above.

Using the above basic (or festive) dough, you can also make a Plait.
Divide the dough into 4 parts and these further into 3 - 4 parts
(makes four plaits). Make a longish plump strip out of each of the
12 - 14 parts that you have in front of you. Let them rise on cookie
sheets for 10 minutes and then make the strips a bit longer and
thinner still (do not stretch the strips). Place 3 - 4 strips side
by side and plait like you would do with long hair. Squeeze the
ends of the plait together so that it wouldn't open while in the
oven.

Brush with egg and garnish. Bake the plaits in 200C (approx. 400F)
for 20 -25 minutes, two at a time.

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