{Baking} FINNISH CHAI SPICE PULLA … Bread With a Twist for BBD!

“Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread; there may be.”
David Grayson
This month’s Bread Baking Day theme is Breads with a Twist! It’s been a while since I posted a bread, and when I saw Natashya’s call on FB, I said YES, count me in!! Ever since of course, the twist has been haunting me and coaxing me into baking bread. Power cuts galore held me back. Its been days of incessantly hot weather and long hours of power outage … global warming, power mismanagement, 46C+ … with the mercury rising & the situation worsening, the baker in me weeps!
Suddenly day before yesterday was a better day than others. We actually celebrated that the outage was just for 4 hours and not 8!! Yes, we truly bend backwards and count the small blessings in life, even if it means not getting power for 4 hours. So with things looking up, I got up early to get this bread dough going. It was what I wanted to bake for Natashya. It was a braid, it was pretty, it was sweet and it was from Julia’s gorgeous blog Melanger in Melbourne. A lady very talented, who got married recently. Now we happily have Mr Melanger who adds fine recommendations to her recipes as well. It takes 2 to tango, and in Melbourne they are doing a pretty good job!
Enough said, it was time for bread. I used to love doing braids, as in ‘plaiting tresses’! Am a bit out of practice as I haven’t been near braiding for a good 4 years. Until the daughter wasn’t a teen, she had lovely long locks which I used to French braid in a matter of minutes every morning before she left for school. Even her friends used to line up for me to braid their hair at times. Her braids were the talk of school, until the dreaded teenage years hit her! Braids were now history, and we faced Medusa’s locks! We now have untidy locks of unkempt looking hair, in her eyes all the time… so you can imagine how nostalgic it was for me to braid bread! Always a twist to fate and I set off very confident-ally to give the dough a French twist. Needless to say, it didn’t work out, ended in Greek tragedy, and I ate humble pie. The dough didn’t like my attempt, so it was kneaded right back, into dough, and divided into 3 ropes.
A simple braid was rising soon enough, got some conditioning from an egg white wash, got dressed up with some almonds, and rose to the occasion for Natashya @ Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. I used chai spice flavouring to spice the dough, a spice concentrate that I got from our trip to Mahabaleshwar. It lent mild spice flavour to the dough… cinnamon, cloves, cardamom; all subtle but like a gentle hint of goodness. I accentuated the chai spice flavours by adding a few drops to the icing on top, and it tied up the loaf nicely. I love the way it rose and baked gorgeously.
Bread Baking Day is a monthly celebration of bread baking all over the world, created by Zorra of Kochtopf . Read more about Bread Baking Day and access the previous roundups on her blog. This month’s Bread Baking Day theme is Breads with a Twist hosted by Natashya.
This bread is off to Susan @ Wild Yeast and has been ‘Yeastspotted’.

Adapted minimally from Julia @ Melangor
{I made half the recipe below, 1 biggish braid}
1 cup milk, lukewarm
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
10 gms fresh yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 drops chai spice
2 eggs, beaten
4-5 cups plain flour
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, beaten
Almond slices, toasted

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add one teaspoon of sugar and let stand for 5 minutes until yeast foams.
To the yeast, stir in the lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, chai spice, eggs, and enough flour to make a batter (approximately 2 cups).
Beat until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add 3 more cups of the flour and beat well. Add the melted butter and stir well. Beat again until the dough looks glossy. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff (you may not need all 5 cups).
Turn out of bowl onto a floured surface, cover with an inverted mixing bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Knead the dough until smooth and satiny. Place in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Punch down, and let rise again until almost doubled. About 1 hour.
Turn out again on to a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide each third into 3 again. Roll each piece into a 30 cm strand. Braid 3 strands into a loaf. Lift the loaves onto baking sheets lined with greaseproof paper. Let rise for 30 minutes.
Brush each loaf with egg white and sprinkle with almond slices along the centre of the braids.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes. Check occasionally because the bottom can brown easily.
When cooled, drizzle with icing.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3tbsps hot water
2-3 drops chai spice
Mix till you get a thick and pourable icing. Adjust with extra sugar or water as required. Drizzle over the bread once baked.
 ♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥
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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  1. Natashya KitchenPuppies says:

    Delicious! I love the chai spices. Thanks so much for doing the twist with me this month on Bread Baking Day!

  2. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    … the baker in you weeps … the baker in me is delighted with your bread and your braid story. Both pull at my heart with glorious beauty!

  3. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    A beautiful pulla! Those are wonderful flavors!



  4. Cinquefoil says:

    Hi! I was SO surprised to see this, I'm Finnish and this is one of the things my Mom makes all the time. The name for this particular pulla (ie. the braid) is letti.

    And you made a very beautiful one!

  5. TeaLady says:

    that is a stunning loaf of bread.

  6. Lazaro Cooks! says:

    Very intersting bread recipe. I learned something here. Thank you.


  7. Beau Lotus says:

    Beautiful bread and braiding!

  8. Asha @ FSK says:

    gorgeous photos of the food!! :)) love the braiding story… lol

  9. Manggy says:

    I hope Meher (and you) consider braids again. The french braid looks fab.
    Anyway, I'm intrigued by the flavors in this unusual, Indian pain d'epice. Looks gorgeous too.

  10. Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) says:

    This is beatifula and look gorgeous bread.

  11. zurin says:

    Lovely twist Deeba… I love braided bread. I rememebr the days when I used to braid my own hair before going off to school. Not any more of course …to either of them :D. So these days I braid bread instead and stay home.:)

  12. Jane Ko says:

    What a great way to incorporate chai!
    Please participate in my giveaway at http://atasteofkoko.blogspot.com/2010/05/men-can-cook-feat-classic-spaghetti.html

  13. Hey Deeba, ur bread looks fantastic. Great photos as usual. Loved ur twists with the braid. Fabulous job!

  14. Amanda says:

    Oh WOW Deeba, very impressive, looks so fabulous!!

  15. Marley says:

    The chai spice is a wonderful addition. Can't wait to try it.

  16. Maria says:

    I have definitely made and eaten a lot of pulla in my life (I'm a Finn), but never with these spices! Interesting 😀

  17. Nachiketa says:

    Braids in Bread…. Both like 'The Albatross Round my Neck'….

    Teenage saw me chop of the mane in protest of having to get up 5 minutes earlier than the siblings to have mom braid my hair….. No mane, no getting up early….
    Regret it to this day…..

    Bread… tried the 5 min artisan bread… was a super flop of glutenous mass… didn't dare try it again lest it break my heart again…..

    For you both the bread n braid both look fabulous… :) [if i may add…. as always…]

    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts – Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

  18. penny aka jeroxie says:

    Been seeing a lot of braided breads lately. BUt I like this. It has Chai spices. Especially warming.

  19. Butter Knife says:

    These look fantastic – inspirational.

  20. Claudia Lawrence says:

    Nice blog & good post. You have beautifully maintained it, you must try this website which really helps to increase your traffic. hope u have a wonderful day & awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

  21. Barbara says:

    What a wonderful way to incorporate chai! And I love your French braiding. Altogether a fabulous post!

  22. Jamie says:

    Oh, Deeba, I love it! Gorgeous, perfect braiding and I so love the spices you've added to the flavor of the bread. I have to make one now. Stunning!

  23. Nitha says:

    Looks perfect.. Wonderful pics too..

  24. Wonderful braid!! Love your pictures (as always!). I'm very intriged by these chai spices, I never heard of them before, sounds divine! I'm still braiding our daughters hair….wonder how long that'll go on 😉

  25. RamblingTart says:

    Absolutely gorgeous bread, Deeba. I'm Danish, not Finnish, but this still feels homey to me, and I can almost smell the yeast spices, lovely and warm. :-)

  26. Sukhdeepak says:

    Very delicious item. This is really a mouth watering dish.

  27. Looks super delish Deeba!!

  28. Betty says:

    this looks delicious thanks for sharing :) xx

  29. Purnima says:

    Braid story got me! The edible braids look good, ofcourse even wt the play of electricity, u are giving visibly great end product..totally zaps me! Thanks Deeba for the lovely treats tried n put up here!

  30. MeetaK says:

    gorgeous flavors! love spiced breads and you make this so perfect my friend!

  31. Cherine says:

    A gorgeous bread with wonderful flavors!

  32. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    This looks really nice, Deeba. I wish I could have been there to eat a slice with some tea. :)

  33. Magdalena says:

    Hello, Deeba! Thanks for stopping by at my blog and commenting my cheesecake.
    You have a great blog about baking; I stop by at this post, because this type of bread is popular in Poland, too (we call it chalka). I like it very much :)
    Just one remark as regards my cheesecake; I am not sure that quark is the same as curd cheese; I think that Polish style quark has a bit different texture (is more solid). Therefore, if you have quark, the proportions of flour may be different;
    Kind regards;

  34. Hi Deeba,

    though i stay away from anything to do with yeast i had to try this. the dough is resting to double. I too halved the recipe. but 5 cups of flour (i mean 2.5 cups) wasn't enough at all. the dough was so sticky. i hope it turns out well despite adding extra flour.

    your pulla does look gorgeous… those perfect braids.

  35. Latha says:

    Dear Deeba,

    oh wow i did!!! the bread has baked such beautifully… i'm falling in love with yeast. thank you for the inspiration.

  36. Julia @Mélanger says:

    Deeba, I'm so glad that you made this bread. I love the addition of chai. FABULOUS! Mr Mélanger will be so happy this humble Finnish bread is getting a little more exposure! :)

  37. Sonia - L'Exquisit says:

    I did the bread yesterday and it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  38. zorra says:

    Wow, the braid looks just perfect and I'm sure tastes so, too.


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