Finnish Nissua Recipe -
Finnish Nissua Recipe
  • READY IN 3+ hrs

Finnish Nissua

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"Nissua is a tender Finnish sweet bread made with cardamom. This bread is formed into braided loaves or wreaths, and topped with a simple frosting."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 3 - 1 pound loaves Change Servings
  • PREP

    40 mins
  • COOK

    30 mins

    3 hrs 20 mins


  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Stir in the margarine, sugar and salt until melted. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour milk mixture into a large bowl. Beat in eggs, 1 1/2 cup flour, cardamom and yeast mixture. Cover and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly.
  3. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and supple, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  4. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and then divide each piece into thirds. Roll out with your hands until the pieces are long enough to braid. Braid three pieces together to form a loaf; repeat twice to make three loaves. Place on lightly greased baking sheets and let rise for 40 minutes, until nearly doubled. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together butter and confectioners' sugar. Stir in vanilla and 2 teaspoons milk to make a spreadable frosting. Spread the frosting over the cooled bread.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jan 09, 2004

This was FABULOUS. My husband has been begging me to make the bread his Grandmother had made in his childhood. This is the best Nissua recipe yet - a keeper for sure. The only thing he said was that there should be more cardamom. I made 1 loaf regular, and made 2 into cinnamon-raisin loaves to share with the neighbors. It recieved rave reviews there also. Thanks so much for sharing!!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Sep 11, 2007

The correct name is 'Nisu' or 'Pulla'. You may want to try them like this: after making and raising the dough, roll buns a bit larger than golf balls and let them rise for ca 15 mins. Then make a hole in the middle of the buns with your finger. Fill the holes with butter and cover the butter with some white sugar. Put some egg wash on the buns and bake them in the oven (375 degrees) for maybe 10 minutes. The beatiful brown color will tell you when they're done. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk, that's the proper Finnish way to do it!

May 05, 2007

This is a great bread with a wonderful taste and a very good texture. I had a hard time choosing between 4 and 5 stars, but I settled on 4 because of a few minor issues that I have with the recipe. As a few people commented, I think it's better with double the cardamom, and I also had to increase the flour quite a bit (although I used all-purpose flour, so maybe that's why). But my biggest complaint is that the frosting looks kind of silly to me. Maybe I did something wrong, but it seemed to cover up the attractiveness of the bread, and lumpy things don't frost very well. Since I just made the bread for my family, it didn't really matter, but I think I'll have to experiment with the frosting to get it looking better. I'll probably try thinning it out into more of a glaze. UPDATE: I made this again and added more milk to the frosting to thin it out. The bread was much more attractive and was a huge hit with everyone who ate it! This is going into my permanent recipe box.

Apr 09, 2003

Tried many nissua recipe's for my husband, this by far was the best, even my Finnish mother-in-law thought it great. I did have to use 1 more cup of flour than it called for. I also made 2 braided loave's and 1 cinnamon loaf, the cinnamon loaf was my husband's favorite.

Jun 26, 2009

Have searched for 3 years for the perfect Nissu recipe and THIS IS IT! My bread came out identical to the picture above. I baked my bread on parchment paper on a cookie sheet for 21 minutes at 350 degrees and it was golden brown. I used my Mom's Glaze Recipe: 1 TBSP plus 1 Tsp of hot milk, 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar and 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract. I used a fine pastry brush for applying the glaze while it was still warm. This bread is a keeper! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I'd give it 10 stars!

Jan 09, 2007

Great recipe! I agree with those who recommended doubling the amount of cardamom...after all, that's what gives this bread its distinctive flavor! We prefer a bit less sweetness and omit the thick glaze. Instead, I mix 6 tablespoons of strong coffee with 6 tablespoons of sugar and brush this mixture on the loaves when they come out of the oven. When making these for Christmas, I'll sometimes brush with the coffee mixture, then sprinkle the loaves with red and green decorators sugar to make them festive. This bread is also great toasted and topped with cream cheese!

Nov 16, 2010

I used to eat a lot of nisu in the UP of Michigan. I brushed my loaves with egg wash and sprinkled them with sugar. Delicious. Thanks for the recipe! P.S. This bread makes GREAT French toast.

Dec 22, 2009

I have made this for gifts and have brought to Christmas partys. In using it for the partys...I split the frosting up and die them green and red and drizzle over the top. Looks very festive. I find it tastes best the same day, so it has to be made and eaten.


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  • Calories
  • 216 kcal
  • 11%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 36.6 g
  • 12%
  • Cholesterol
  • 22 mg
  • 7%
  • Fat
  • 5.2 g
  • 8%
  • Fiber
  • 0.9 g
  • 4%
  • Protein
  • 5.5 g
  • 11%
  • Sodium
  • 133 mg
  • 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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