Finnish Easter Bread

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Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by Chef Mireille

Finnish Easter Bread – Paasiaisleipa, from the Karelian region, is a delicious sweet, egg rich bread perfect to celebrate the Easter Holiday.

Finnish Sweet Bread on a plate

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Many countries have a version of traditional Easter breads. These are often very rich breads – using much butter and eggs for super soft textured breads. This Finnish version is no different. This recipe is Karelian in origin.

Where is Karelia?

Karelia has been hard fought land over centuries between Sweden, Russia and Finland. It is currently shared with it partially under Russian rule and the other part belongs to Finland. Two forms of the Karelian language exists, Russian Karelian and Finnish Karelian.

In 1617, much of Karelia was ceded to Sweden but conflicts arose between the Karelian’s and the Swedes and thus began a mass exodus to Russia. Since then, Finland and Russia have fought many wars over Karelia. When Finland lost much of Karelia to Russia in 1939, all of the population had to be resettled into Finland. Vyborg, one of the largest formerly Finnish Karelian cities was lost to Russia but the cuisine was moved to Finland. I’ve already made Vyborg Pretzels here. Let’s make another Karelian recipe!

This recipe is another Finnish one adapted from Anja Hill’s The Cuisine of Finland book. As I was going back and forth from the recipe to the kitchen, I forgot to add an extra cup of milk after the first rise. When I realized it, it was way too late as the bread was in the middle of its final rise. I went ahead and baked it. The bread still tasted good, although a bit yeasty. I have indicated below where the extra cup of milk should have been added. No time to redo it, since I was still able to enjoy the bread, I am presenting it anyway as such.

Karelian Easter Bread

Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 7 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons chopped candied orange
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (I used lime)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped sliced almonds

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

In a small bowl, combine 2 cups of the milk and water. Heat in a microwave or saucepan until lukewarm (110 – 115 F). Sprinkle yeast on top and leave for 5 minutes, until foamy.

Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 1 3/4 cups of the flour and blend until smooth.Cover with a kitchen towel. Leave for about 45 minutes, until risen.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add to risen flour-yeast mixture. Add salt, cardamom, orange, lemon zest, raisins and almonds. Mix well. Add butter. Mix well. An extra cup of milk should have been added at this point.

Add the remaining flour a little at a time. Using a dough hook, knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.

Place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Place in a greased bundt pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise until the dough has risen to the top, about 1 hour.

bread -edit

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a high bundt pan with non stick spray. Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown. Leave in pan for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Meanwhile make the icing by mixing the sugar and the water. Mix until thoroughly combined. Pour over bread.

Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

sweet bread -edit

Notes: Traditionally, this is baked in a Russian kulich pan.

Easter Bread -edit
Finnish Sweet Bread on a plate
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Easter Bread – Paasiaisleipa

A delicious sweet bread flavored with cardamom and citrus to celebrate the Easter holidays.
Prep Time2 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: Finnish
Servings: 20 people
Calories: 364kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 7 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons chopped candied orange
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest I used lime
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped slivered almonds
  • Icing Ingredients:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine 2 cups of the milk and water. Heat in a microwave or saucepan until lukewarm (110 – 115 F). Sprinkle yeast on top and leave for 5 minutes, until foamy.
  • Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 1 3/4 cups of the flour and blend until smooth.Cover with a kitchen towel. Leave for about 45 minutes, until risen.
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add to risen flour-yeast mixture. Add salt, cardamom, orange, lemon zest, raisins and almonds. Mix well. Add butter. Mix well. An extra cup of milk should have been added at this point.
  • Add the remaining flour a little at a time. Using a dough hook, knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Place in a greased bundt pan. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise until the dough has risen to the top, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a high bundt pan with non stick spray. Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown. Leave in pan for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  • Meanwhile make the icing by mixing the sugar and the water. Mix until thoroughly combined. Pour over bread.
  • Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Notes

Traditionally, this is baked in a Russian kulich pan.

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 239mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 498IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I’d love to share them!
Finnish Easter Bread on a plate with text

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Thank you for sharing!

About Chef Mireille

CHEF MIREILLE - AUTHOR, RECIPE DEVELOPER AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR Global Kitchen Travels
***
Chef Mireille is a NYC based freelance chef instructor and food photographer. Due to her very diverse family background, she was able to travel and learn about global cultures and flavors from a young age. Her passion for culture, cooking, history and education had made her an expert on developing traditional globally inspired recipes & delicious fusion cuisine.
Her extensive travel history provides a plethora of background information and Travel Tips!

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