Swedish Cinnamon Buns (like Mamma makes them) - a recipe
Makes around 40 buns.
There are as many recipes for cinnamon buns in Sweden as there are people who bake them. We like this recipe: it is simple and straight forward. It works.
Over time you will develop your own version of this one. We all have our little tweaks. Bronte likes to add a pinch of vanilla to the cinnamon mixture - and sometimes she makes the buns with spelt flour instead of plain flour; sometimes she even adds seeds and nuts to fool herself it is better for you to eat. Each develop their own little way over time.
The result is the same, though: once you have made your own 'kanelbullar', you will never buy a pastry version again or one of those bad imitations from a cornershop.
On top of all that, they make your house smell amazing.
Its a big ol' recipe. You can eat half, freeze half or give some away - if you have any left. Which you won't have because you'll feel obliged to eat them all they are SO GOOD. Don't say we didn't warn you.
For best result, don’t be stingy with the filling and don’t try to use low fat anything: whole milk, good quality butter... We also prefer using fresh yeast, but if you can’t get hold of any, you can use dried (see footnote). If you are new to cinnamon buns, don’t worry: there is a lot of cinnamon in these – and ground cardamom. You can hold back a bit if you are not sure you’ll like it as strong as we do – but remember: they’re called Cinnamon Buns for a reason.
50 g fresh yeast
1000 g plain bread flour (we like Swedish Vetemjol) - note this is approx, you may need less or a bit more, depending on the gluten content on your flour.
85 g caster sugar
150 g unsalted butter
500 ml whole milk
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cardamom
150g butter (soft and spreadable)
4-5 tsp ground cinnamon
120 g sugar
1 egg for brushing
Around 100 g of pearl sugar for decoration (If you can’t get it, omit - or used a teaspoon of finely chopped nuts)
This is how you do it
Melt the butter and add the liquid (milk) – check the temperature (should be between 37-46 degree Celsius for optimal yeast). Add the yeast and stir.
Once the yeast has dissolved, add the sugar, salt, cardamom and enough flour to make the dough combine (probably 700-800g) (hold a bit the rest for kneading). Work the dough until it almost stops sticking and has a shiny surface – probably around 10 minutes by electric mixer, longer by hand. Keep kneading, it makes for a better bun. Hold on the flour - you can always add more later and if you add too much, your buns will be dry. The dough should only just reach the point of not being sticky.
Please the dough in a nice warm cozy place for around 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Place the dough on a floured surface and work through with a bit more flour until the dough stops sticking and can be formed.
Cut the dough in half and roll out each piece in a rectangular shape, around 30 cm long and 20 cm wide. Butter the whole piece liberally and dust over with the cinnamon and sugar. Roll each piece lengthways so that you end up with a long sausage looking roll. Cut 2 cm big bites and place them carefully on baking trays (take care to keep them separated as they will rise). For ease, you can add large muffin cases if you wish, but this is not essential. Let the buns rest for another 30 minutes until doubled in size. You should get between 34-40 buns out of this batch. TIP: we like buns that have thin layers between the cinnamon - roll the dough out quite thinly and you will get a really neat roll of perfectly layered buns.
Brush gently with egg and pour over a bit of pearl sugar on each bun and then bake in the over on 220 degrees celcius (fan oven) for about 8-10 minutes (turn the heat down a bit half way if you feel they are getting too brown). Let them cool down under a clean tea towel – this will stop them going dry too quickly.
Footnote: Fresh yeast is available at Scandi Kitchen, in some health food stores and some supermarkets. You can also befriend a real baker if you can find one. Alternative, replace fresh yeast with dry yeast – and add this to the flour/dry ingredients and NOT to the wet mix. Follow instructions on dry yeast packet for equivalent to 50g fresh yeast.