It may be the simple fact that both are braided, and both have “ll” and a soft “a.” But really, not to insult the Fins, Pulla is, essentially, Challah. Just as moist, just as sweet, and just as delicious. A plus to this Pulla, perhaps over many Challah, is that it is gigantic. A certifiable 18” wreath. A life preserver. Big enough to put your head through.
So if you are left with one or two slightly depressed yeast packets, if you aren’t offended by the bucking of tradition in favor of close to a pound of chocolate, if you aren’t necessarily a fan of cardamom, if you like delicious things and the smell of bread baking, make the Pulla. Just imagine, a gigantic Pulla, floating in a bathtub of coffee. Mm.
Not that this is an excuse, but I would like to apologize for that lack of posts over the past months. Due to college, no kitchen, and general lack of ingredient funds, Bakelist went on a little vacation. But it’s back now, never fear.
Loosely adapted from Baking with Julia
Makes one wreath
1 ¼ cups milk, warm about 110 degrees F
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
½ cup white sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon high-quality honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 ½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
12 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup slivered almonds
One egg beaten with one tablespoon heavy cream
1. Stir 1 teaspoon sugar into milk and scald or microwave until just warm too the touch, but never over 110 degrees. (Poor yeast, can’t handle the heat.) Whisk in the yeast until combined and let sit for about five minutes or until the yeast has created a thick foam on the surface of the milk mixture. If, after 10 minutes or so, the milk looks exactly the same, most likely the yeast is dead. The yeast is dead! It’s okay though; thankfully yeast packets come in groups of three.
2. While the yeast mixture is foaming, whisk together the eggs, honey, the remaining ½ cup sugar, cinnamon, and salt. After yeast has foamed for about five minutes, whisk the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the egg mixture and 2 cups of the flour until just combined. Add the melted butter and ½ cup of flour. Add the remaining ½ cups of flour until dough is stiff but not dry. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about three minutes. Turn the dough ball out into a lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then cover with a kitchen towel. Set dough in a warm place and let rise until at least double in size, at least one hour and up to three hours.
3. While dough is rising, put chocolate, and the remaining butter, white sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until the chocolate reaches a fine powder with very few chunks left, scraping down the side of the food processor as needed. Set aside.
4. After dough has doubled in size, punch down the dough. Lightly oil a surface. Reserving about ½ cup of the chocolate mixture, knead the remaining chocolate mixture into the dough. Divided the dough into three equal sections and roll each section into a 36” rope. Braid the rope together and then, on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, form the wreath by pinching together the ends of the dough. Brush the surface of the dough with the egg wash and then sprinkle the ½ cup chocolate mixture, almond slivers, and sanding sugar over the wreath. Cover the wreath with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes or until puffy, but not doubled.
5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, with an oven rack in the middle. Bake the wreath for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature and then eat. Keeps for approximately two days when covered. To freeze the wreath, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then keep for up to three weeks in the freezer.