Finnish Nissua Bread Recipe

This Finnish Nissua Bread Recipe is a family favorite during Christmas! It does take a fairly long time to make this recipe (about 5-6 hours in total), so I usually set it aside to make on a weekend.  The loaves make excellent gifts to give to friends and family- which is why I usually make a huge batch of Finnish Nissua at this time of year.  This bread has the rich taste of Cardamom, and can also be iced with a white frosting glaze if you like, and topped with sliced almonds. This Finnish Nissua Bread Recipe has been passed down from many generations of Finns, so I’d reccommend giving it a try! I also made cinnamon rolls using the dough from this bread, as you can see in the photo below.  To make the cinnamon rolls, you just add raisins and assemble into rolls, you can also see my recipe here! Finnish Nissua Bread 

Finnish Nissua Bread Recipe

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 8-10 medium Loaves of Bread

Finnish Nissua Bread Recipe

This Finnish Nissua Bread Recipe is a Finnish Classic! Perfect for serving this Christmas season!


For Bread:
4 cups milk
1 cup margarine or unsalted butter
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
6 eggs
2-3 teaspoons ground cardamom
10-12 cups all purpose flour
For Glaze:
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons milk


    For Bread:
  1. Begin heating milk in a saucepan on the stovetop until it starts to bubble, then remove from heat.
  2. Add butter, sugar, and salt until melted. Let this mixture cool until lukewarm.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let sit for around 10 minutes until it is frothy at the top.
  4. Pour milk mixture into a large bowl. Beat in eggs, 3 cups flour, cardamom and yeast mixture. Cover mixture with a towel and let stand for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in rest of the flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Knead for 15 minutes. Keep adding flour until the dough is moist (but not sticky) and has pulled together.
  7. Lightly oil a large bowl and once the dough as pulled together into one giant ball, add the dough to the bowl.
  8. You can also split dough in half, this makes it much more manageable for kneading.
  9. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let rise for one hour.
  10. After it has risen, you can begin assembling the bread into loaves and braiding each loaf.
  11. Braid using three pieces of dough per loaf.
  12. Place on lightly greased baking sheets, set aside and let the loaves rise again for another hour.
  13. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  14. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  15. Cool on a wire rack for around an hour. Once cool, you can make the optional glaze below!
  16. For Glaze:
  17. In a small bowl, mix together melted butter and powdered sugar.
  18. Stir in vanilla and 2 teaspoons milk.
  19. Spread Glaze over the bread.

10 thoughts on “Finnish Nissua Bread Recipe

  1. Pingback: Cinnamon Rolls by Finnish Food Girl

  2. Saliha

    Hi to you from Finland! Nice that you like that Finnish sweet bread. Maybe you already know that word “nisu” (nissua) is dialect word and we usually call that one as pulla. I also noticed that your sweet bread looks quite pale, that´s because you use milk and butter for glazing it. More typical way is use egg (before baking of course) – then color of the baked bread will be a bit of darker. Have a nice day to you! Regards from Saliha

  3. Susan Linnsen

    I’m looking for a recipe of a bread my father made when I was little. He died young so I don’t have recipe, it’s brown I remember different flours round and poked it with a fork. Do u know of this bread.

  4. Elizabeth N Balcom (Mattila)

    I am sooo Glad a came accross your website. This recipe is the one we make every Christmas and I am over 50 so that is a long time. I have found many recepies for Pulla, which looks like Nissua. We never called it Pulla.
    Thanks Soo Much
    Elizabeth in Silverdale, WA

  5. Jane Yahraus

    I was delighted to find this recipe after enjoying Nisu bread in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this summer. This is a bit time-consuming after making regular white bread for years, but it is oh-so-worth-it! On the advice of other reviewers, I doubled the amount of cardomon. It was delicious! I had to add substantially more flour to get the dough to come together and more when kneading the bread. I was concerned it would be tough, but it wasn’t. I braided half the dough and it made a huge loaf. I more than doubled the icing and was glad I did to put a consistent layer of the entire top. I took it to Thanksgiving dinner today and it was a big hit! I sliced the bread, further cutting each slice in half. The other half of the dough is split into a regular loaf and a braided wreath and refrigerated to bake tomorrow. I ran out of time to bake those today. I will definitely be making this bread again (and again)! Thank you, Amanda!

  6. Gail Eason

    Because she died before I was born, I had my Mummu’s recipe but no step by step instructions. This was very helpful My Aunt always had a loaf in her freezer to be brought out whenever we stopped by for coffee

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