Swedish Cinnamon Buns
Today is National Cinnamon Bun Day!
When I announced this fact in my Daring Bakers post, many people asked me to share a recipe for Swedish cinnamon buns. And oh, you know, I just couldn't resist - of course I will! I took this opportunity to try out a new recipe from a new book on the Swedish market called "Bara Bullar". This translates into "Just Buns" and it's a whole book with only different bun recipes. Very nice! The author is Åsa Swanberg, and it's photographed beautifully by Wolfgang Kleinschmidt. It has tons of recipes that I want to make, but these ones were labeled as "the best cinnamon buns" and obviously I want to try the best first.
This recipe differs slightly from others I have used. First and foremost, it uses more yeast than others, and it has a pre-rise at a batter-like stage before it becomes a dough. It might sound fiddly, but it helped me get really light and fluffy buns, and I'd definitely do it again. The total rising time is no more than two hours anyway, so it's well worth it. The recipe calles for "raw sugar" which is here interpreted as demerara or possibly muscovado sugar. This gives the dough a slightly darker color, and a less intensely sweet taste - I like it!
You can use finely chopped or flaked almonds for the topping as well as the pearl sugar, but I made these for Per (and I) to take into work today, and as there are people with nut allergies there, I skipped them. The buns are delicious no matter what!
What makes these different from American cinnamon buns then? Well, while there are many recipes out there, I'll point out a few things. First - cardamom in the dough. Very important. Second, these are baked in a very hot oven for just a few minutes. This makes them light and fluffy, with a nice brown surface yet not dry or overbaked. Third, they're always baked in individual paper cups. (Bun cups - they're like slightly lower muffin cups.) Fourth, no glaze!
A few notes on the recipe. You might need a little more flour than stated. It's hard to give an exact amount, as it really depends on a lot of things, but the dough should be soft and never dry, but it shouldn't stick to your hands, either. Remember, you're going to roll this out, and you don't want it to stick to the rolling pin or whatever surface you're using. (You can use extra flour when rolling it out - but not a lot, or your buns will be tough.)
I don't have exact amounts for the filling - I just sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon until I have a fairly even amount on the whole dough. Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get it right, too.
Swedish Cinnamon Buns
based on a recipe from Bara Bullar of Åsa Swanberg
80 g fresh yeast
500 ml finger-warm milk (2 cups)
1 kg wheat flour
200 g demerara or muscovado sugar
150 g butter, softened
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cardamom
80 g butter, softened
demerara or muscovado sugar
1 egg, beaten with 1/2 tsp water, and a tiny pinch of salt
Crumble the yeast into a bowl. Add some of the tepid milk, and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the rest of the milk, half of the flour and both of the eggs. Leave to proof, covered, for one hour.
Add the rest of the flour, the sugar, salt, cardamom and butter. Work into a smooth and silky dough. Here's when you might need a bit more flour. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover and leave to proof for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into two. Roll out each part to a large rectangle. Spread with butter, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll each rectangle into a tight roll, starting at the long edge, and cut each roll into about 20 pieces. Place each piece in a paper cup on a baking sheet (covered with parchment paper so you won't end up with a mess), cover and leave to proof for 30 minutes.
Beat the egg with a pinch of salt and 1/2 tsp of water, and brush this carefully on the buns. Finish by a light sprinkling of pearl sugar.
Bake at 250°C for 6-8 minutes, until they're as golden as you like them.
Recipe in Swedish: