This is a traditional and very popular treat across Scandinavia. Now the rest of the world seems to have discovered it too, so we thought it was time to share our own recipe.
A note about baking with yeast: This is a yeast-based pastry. That means you’ll be working with a “living” ingredient, and you want to avoid killing it. It’s all about balancing the temperature.
Yeast dies at about 37 degrees Celsius (regular body temperature), but if it’s too cold the dough won’t rise. This might sound awfully complicated, but what it means is that if the dough is too cold or too warm you’ll get sad, hard, little buns. What you want is the right temperature and you’ll get those big, lovely, airy ones.
Don’t let all this scare you off though, it’s no more difficult than heating up a bottle of milk for a baby. And it’s (almost) the same process. We’ll get back to this later, but you slowly heat up milk and butter until it’s 37 degrees Celsius. The best way to control the temperature is with a cooking thermometer, but if you don’t happen to have that you can control the temperature by putting a large drop on your wrist, just where your pulse is. If you can’t feel the drop (and you don’t have a fever) it should be around 37 degrees.
If this all seems too terrifying you can always use dried yeast instead, as it can handle a little more heat than the fresh stuff. But just so you know, fresh yeast makes a massive difference.
- 1 kg flour
- 150 g sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 5 dl milk
- 125 g butter (in cubes)
- 50 g fresh yeast (available from Ocado or Scandinavian Kitchen) or 12 g dried yeast
- 1 large egg
- 200 g butter (softened)
- 125 g sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
Mix flour, sugar, salt and cardamom in a big bowl. If using dried yeast put that in too.
Melt the butter on a low to medium heat, add milk and warm to 37 degrees.
If using fresh yeast: Crumble the yeast In a separate bowl and poor in the milk and butter mixture. Stir well until the yeast is dissolved.
Mix the liquids with the dry ingredients, stir a little and add the egg.
Knead until you have a lovely smooth dough.
Leave the dough in the bowl, cover well with plastic foil and leave a warm place until it’s doubled in size, about 40 min to an hour. If you live in a cold English house you can always fill the sink with some hot water and leave it in there.
Meanwhile make the cinnamon filling, by mixing the softened butter, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Once the dough is ready spread it out onto a clean counter top. Make a rectangle, about 20 cm x 50 cm. Try to keep an even thickness if you can.
Spread the cinnamon filling across the dough.
To make up the buns you fold the dough in three lengthways (like a letter) and slice it across into about 15 to 20 pieces (depending on how big you want your buns to be). Twist it and make a knot.
Put the buns on a tray covered in baking parchment. Cover with plastic foil and leave for 45 min to rise again.
Take of the plastic foil and bake in the middle of the oven on 200 degrees for 15 to 20 min, or until dark brown and crunchy on top.
Take out of the oven and rest for about 5 min, then eat as many as you want to – it’s well deserved!