Thursday, October 04, 2007

Swedish Cinnamon Buns

kanelbullar 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

Makes 40

80 g fresh yeast
2 eggs
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
pearl sugar

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:
Bästa kanelbullarna


Anh said...

Beautiful buns! I can't wait to try this out. By the sound of it, I actually prefer this to the American version. I love cardamom, and don't really like the sweet glaze on the DB buns... Thanks for sharing!

Karen Baking Soda said...

Ah...I like the sugar on top. Thanks for posting the recipe, fairly sure my kids wouldn't like the cardamom, last holiday in Sweden they learned pretty fast to ask in almost-swedish if there was any cardamon in the baked goods..

Dagmar said...

How funny. I saved this recipe when it was published in Svenska Dagbladet last weekend as I wanted to try them out for today. But I still havn't decided if I'll bake any cinnamon rolls at all today. Were they better than "normal" Swedish ones?
Pre-rise stages are very common in Polish recipes, and I really like the result.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Makes 40! That won it for me straight away!!

Kajal@aapplemint said...

I really like this recipe. Love how you've made then in cup cases, gr8 on presentation and yes the cardamon in the dough is also a ++. Found u thru Ahn's blog.

Jeanne said...

Just the thought that I live in a world where a cinnamon bun day is possible makes me feel all warm and fuzzy :)

These buns look glorious and I love the idea of cardamom in the dough. Double yum!

slush said...

I am so jealous looking at these as I eat my cereal for breakfast. They look heavenly! My husband prefers no glaze for his buns too. This sounds right up his alley. Thanks!

Sheltie Girl said...

I prefer my cinnamon rolls without glaze too. I love the idea putting cardamom in the dough. It sounds absolutely delicious. Thank you for baking cinnamon rolls again.

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

Deborah said...

I'm so glad you shared this recipe!! I really wanted to see the difference - now I need to make them so that I can taste the difference!

Dori said...

National Cinnamon Bun Day!!! Now that's something I can celebrate! These look perfectly amazing!

Shaun said...

Anne - I'm so glad that you decided to share with us a national favourite. I'm always really surprised to see cardamom in dough or in cakes, but I know it is a common ingredient in sweets in Scandinavia. In fact, I'm going to make Beatrice Ojakangas' recipe for Kardemummakaka just to satisfy my curiosity. Your cinnamon buns look beautful, and I'm glad you didn't eschew the raw sugar.

Elle said...

Beautiful buns! Happy Cinnamon Bun Day!! I love that there is cardamom in the goes so well in baked goods, especially yeast ones. I also like the absence of glaze. Lovely photos, too.

Julie said...

They look so nice! I hope you had a fabulous bun day. =)

Lennart Nilsson said...

Tasted Great!

Anne said...

Thanks Anne for the recipe. I would really love to try this when I do get the time. They are simply lovely :)

Shayne said...

these look very nice. I don't know what demerara or muscovado sugar is (I will google it in a moment) but I think that I will try this recipe sometime soon. It looks as if last months DBer recipe has people warming their buns.

eatme_delicious said...

I'm very intrigued by these cinnamon buns! Thanks for posting the recipe. :) I definitely want to try making them.

Honeybee said...

Dear Anne

I made the buns according to your recipe last friday and they turned out very nice - thank you! Just one thing: they dried out really quickly - do you have any idea why? Are they simply meant to be eaten super-fresh (which isn't a problem). Or was it maybe due to the climate (dry, central-heated air, very cold and dry outside). Any tips would be highly appreciated!!

Anne said...

Honeybee - oh, hard to say! They are best eaten fresh, but they should certainly keep for a few days, in a plastic bag or box. I usually stash mine in the freezer right away though, and then just de-frost some in the microwave.

Honeybee said...

Good idea, I'll freeze some the next time, too! Thank you!

charlies_chariot said...

I made them on Tuesday, today (Saturday) the last ones were demolished. 'Refreshed' them this morning in the oven and they came out as fresh as the day I've baked them. Nice, soft and very easy to make. Had stored them in a plastic container, not even in the fridge.
I didn't have any fresh yeast, so I used dry instead. It worked just fine. Instead of making 40 of the same kind, I ended up filling half the dough with margarine, sultanas, ground hazelnuts, marzipan, cinnamon & cardamon.
I found your recipe while googling for 'Swedish Bullar' - after remembering the ones we always had on our summer holidays in Sweden during my childhood. These tasted just like it - yummy! Thank you for sharing!

Lena said...

Charlies chariot, that sounds delicious! I'm so glad they worked out :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne,

Can I I use bread flour for this recipe?

Anne said...

Yu Ting - I'm not sure what you mean by bread flour. I use normal wheat flour - the same kind that I use for bread - but I think that some countries have a different way of labeling flours, so it's a bit hard to say.

Anonymous said...

Oh..over in Singapore we do not have flour labeled as wheat flour. So I'm a little uncertain about what wheat flour is exactly. The main ones are plain/all purpose flour, white bread flour or wholemeal flour. So I suppose I should be using white bread flour for this? Thanks for the prompt reply :)

Anne said...

I think plain / all-purpose is fine, as long as it doesn't have anything added to it, like baking powder. :)

Katharina said...

Hej Anne,
I googled for Swedish Bullar and your blog came up. I am not Swedish myself,(I am German ;) ) but I am in Sweden right now, in Järna to be precise, and I was asked to prepare Fika for 150 people yesterday afternoon. So your Cinnamon Buns were my saviours, as it was my first time baking something like this, and preparing something strictly by recipe, and they actually worked out!!! The Swedes around here told me I did a good job :) So I wanted to thank you and as soon as my friends have sent me the photos I would like to show you my beautiful buns, as I am soooo proud of them :)

The group I prepared the Fika for is an international youthgroup that is starting a one year social entrepreneur training, the Youth Initiative Program. ( here in Järna.
They had their opening yesterday, where the local Järna community was invited for the Fika I prepared. Check out the website if you have time, it is quite an amazing thing they are doing here!

Tack so myket!

Anne said...

Katharina, wow - cinnamon buns for 150 is quite a job!! :) Glad it all worked out! I checked out the site - sounds really cool. While you're in Järna, visit Saltå Kvarn and try their buns - excellent! :)

Katharina said...

Hej Anne
I just walked past Saltå Kvarn today, amazingly huge building, I didnt know they have a bakery too, I ll go check it out!!
I made the buns with dark flour the other day, for the forty Yippies who are working hard outdoors this week, doing crafts with wood, iron and clay...they loved them like that for Fika in the afternoon, because the darker flour makes them bread-like and more filling!

Hej do.

Sergio said...

Hi! I'm spanish so forgive my english haha!
im 16 years old and i didn't find the bullar recipe in spanish, but i found this one and the buns are in the oven now! xD


Rumela said...

Wow!the Swedish Cinnamon Buns are my looks delicious.yam mi... I love baking them and decorating them. Kids love them too. these make good edible Christmas decoration as well.

zeynep said...

kanelbulle!! The first thing which i have heard during my uni. years in sweden.. Then, swedish house life. Now i am in my home country Turkey but still trying to find sth from sweden which is calling my sweden years. Thank you for your recipes i am trying to cook all of them with my turkish style :))

Anonymous said...

I was so happy to find your blog today! This past summer was my first time in Sweden, and I spent 6 weeks living on Sodermalm. I can still smell the kanelbulle at the Gamla Stan t-bana! Can't wait to try this and many other recipes on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Very nice! But i took an entire day ~5 hrs. It was very hard to work the dough and it stuck everywhere! I like this because there's no glaze and it's traditional.

Pär said...

Lovely buns, well worth the effort! However how did you manage to only get 40 buns out of this? I almost got 70! And also, how did you manage to work the dough in your Kitchen Aid (if I understand it correctly, you use one of these)? It just "curled" up in the machinery on mine!

But still, I'll use this recepie the next time as well. :)

Anne said...

Pär - jag gör STORA bullar :) (Jag vill ha dem sådär ljusa och underbakade, och då underlättar det om de är stora. Riktigt, riktigt stora.) Men vad konstigt att det blev problem med Kitchen-Aiden, det funkar verkligen perfekt i min.

.Sol said...

Hej Anne!

thank you so much for your recipe. I prepared a batch for my swedish class and they were a success, even for my native swedish teacher.

stor kram från Argentina!

kosher said...

when is the specific perfect to celebrate Cinnamon Buns? I'd like to do the same what you did for my kids.

Anne said...

Kosher - the official day is Oct 4, but they're really eaten all the time. All year round, every day :)

Anonymous said...


Made these today and they turned out perfectly and seemed very authentic compared to the ones I have had in Sweden. I am going to try them out on my Swedish friends when they come and visit me!

Paul (an English man in Helsinki)

Kytka said...

I just made 24 of these for my friends' wedding tomorrow (used half the amounts specified, as it is already almost 2 am here - I started at 11 pm).
My girlfriend once told me that her Swedish friends assured her, there is not a single man in Sweden better than kannelbullar - I hope she will like these tomorrow, as she will be on the wedding too. Thanks a lot for the recipe.

Unknown said...

Dear Anne, I am from Singapore n I am craaaazzy over this cinnamon bun. Hv nvr done this before. But this recipe makes it sound so simple. So gonna try it!!

Nina said...

Hi Anne, I love your blog! Just wondering how long these buns last for?
Thanks, Nina

Anne said...

Hi Nina! They're absolutely best freshly made, so I usually freeze mine. They reheat very well in the microwave, or just by thawing in room temp :-)