I have not been in the mood to bake lately, hence the hiatus on the blog.
A while ago I was making little chocolate mousse gâteaux but I was not happy and it felt more like a chore. Then I was making several different apple cakes and again, it was a burden and not something that I enjoyed. It was such a strange feeling and I thought this might be the beginning of the end and I am loosing interest in baking. I was confused and I also could not figure out what caused the lack of interest in baking. I decided to take a break from baking and I tried not to stress about it. My baking break lasted for 22 days, then all of a sudden I was itching to bake again. I decided to make a batch of Swedish cinnamon buns, Kanelbullar, which is one of my favorite food of all time. I prepared the yeast dough for the buns and it filled me with lots of joy. When I was about to prepare the cinnamon filling I realized that I was out of cinnamon and I was mad at myself. For a moment I thought to make a quick trip to the grocery store but it was pouring rain but then I saw next to the empty cinnamon jar a jar with vanilla beans and I thought why not making a vanilla filling instead of a cinnamon filling. In retrospect I am so glad that I was running out of cinnamon because I probably never considered making a vanilla filling. I love the combination of vanilla and the cardamon flavored yeast dough. These vanilla buns are so delicious - so fluffy, moist and such a heavenly vanilla flavor - and the smell of the buns are irresistible. I love them.
By the way, today - October 4th - is Kanelbullens Dag, Cinnamon Bun Day, in Sweden. This national day was invented in 1999 by the Hembakningsrådet which is the Home Baking Council in Sweden. Lots and lots of kanelbullar are sold and eaten on this days. Many bakeries have special kanelbullar offers. Since October 4th is a Sunday this year most bakeries had special offers yesterday since most bakeries are closed on Sundays (but pastry stores are open on Sundays).
I do not care much about those new holidays but in the case of cinnamon buns I make an exception and take this holiday very seriously and I bake lots and lots of buns.
Happy Kanelbulle Day!
Makes 16 to 18 buns
- 75 g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 250 ml / 1 cup whole milk
- 30 g fresh yeast / 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast / 3 1/2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 75 g / 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 425 - 450 g / 4 cups pastry flour or 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 75 g / 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room-temperature
- 50 g / 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 25 g / 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
- 50 g / 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 -3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Crumble fresh yeast into a big bowl.
- Melt butter in a saucepan. Add milk. The butter milk mixture should be lukewarm , not hot. This is important because otherwise the yeast will "die" and the dough won't rise.
- Add little bit of the milk mixture, about two to three tablespoons to the crumbled yeast and stir until the yeast is completely dissolved. Add the remaining milk mixture, granulated sugar, salt. cardamon and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
- Add most of the flour (set aside about three tablespoons) and stir with a big, preferable wooden, spoon until the dough comes together.
Active dry yeast
- Heat milk until lukewarm. Mix dry yeast with two tablespoons of lukewarm milk in a mug. Melt butter.
- Mix sugar, salt, cardamon, dissolved yeast mixture, remaining milk and melted butter. Add most of the flour (set aside about three tablespoons) and stir with a big, preferable wooden, spoon until the dough comes together.
Instant active dry yeast
- The yeast does not have to be dissolved in any liquid.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add milk to the melted butter and set aside.
- Mix most of the flour (set aside about three tablespoons), dry yeast. sugar, salt and cardamon. Add butter milk mixture and stir with a big, preferable wooden, spoon until the dough comes together.
- Place the yeast dough onto a well-floured surface and knead the dough until smooth. If the dough is too sticky add more flour to the dough.
- Place the dough into a big bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a draft-free and warm place. I place my bowl in the oven and switch the oven to 40 °C / 100 °F ( make sure that the oven is not too hot). Let the dough rise until it has roughly doubled in size which takes about 30 to 45 minutes. It depends on how warm or cold your place is.
- Prepare the filling.
- Split vanilla pod lenghtwise and scrape out the seeds (use the tip of your knife or the dull side of the knife). Don't throw away the empty vanilla pod. Fill a jar with granulated sugar and add empty vanilla pods and after a week you have vanilla sugar.
- Combine softened butter, granulated sugar, vanilla sugar and the seeds of vanilla. Mix all ingredients until it resembles a paste.
- Prepare two to three baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and knead the dough again on a floured surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle (45 cm x 45 cm / 18 inches x 18 inches). Spread the vanilla paste onto the rectangle evenly and roll it into a tight roll.
- Cut roll into 16 to 18 pieces (each piece should be 1.5 cm to 2 cm / 0.6 inch to 0.8 inch). Place the rolls onto the baking sheet. Make sure that there is enough space between each roll.
- Cover each baking sheet with a kitchen towel. Let the rolls rise again in a warm and draft-free place for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 225 °C / 430 °F.
- Bake the rolls for 5 to 7 minutes until they are slightly golden in color.
- While the buns are still warm brush the rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
- The vanilla buns taste the best when still warm. You can also freeze the buns. I always have some buns in the freezer and thaw them up in the oven.