Finnish Easter Bread

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Appears in

Making Bread at Home

Making Bread at Home

By Tom Jaine

Published 2005

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Country life in Finland can never have been easy: the climate sees to that. Small wonder, therefore, that their breads - which used to be predominantly of rye, barley and oats rather than wheat (and even of root crops and potatoes when the corn ran out) - were often designed for long keeping. There is a wonderful variety to them, kept alive by many self-sufficient and conservative home bakers (towns and villages were too sparse for there to be much professional baking trade), ranging from the unleavened barley and oat breads of the north, the softer rye breads of the eastern regions, to the dried discs.

True to type, festivities occasioned their own special loaves, and this Easter loaf made with yoghurt is baked as a hemisphere, a common festive shape, enriched with sultanas and nuts, and sweetened with a malt glaze. Perhaps to mark the fact it was a high-day, the bread was often a wheat and barley loaf, not everyday rye. As this shape is difficult to provide from implements commonly found on one’s pot shelf, I suggest you make it in a well greased 2.4 litre/4 pint saucepan or even a large cake tin, and cut it like a cake.