Fluffy, tender, sweet cinnamon buns baked to perfection. We bake them in the original Swedish way, following the recipe on Vår Kokbok, 1986 ("Our Cookbook").
- 50 g fresh yeast (or 25g active dry yeast) Do not use baking powder
- 125 g butter or vegan butter
- 520 g milk (500ml /5dl)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 105 g sugar (100ml / 1dl)
- 850 g all purpose wheat flour (1400ml / 15dl)
The filling and toppings
- 240 g softened butter or vegan butter
- 170 g sugar (6 tbsp)
- 20-30 g cinnamon powder (2 tbsp)
- 2 eggs (to brush buns before baking) or if vegan, use plant-based milk
- 1 handful pearl sugar (optional)
Crumble the fresh yeast into a large mixing bowl.
Add the butter and milk to a saucepan, heat up until it reaches 37ºC (finger warm, not burning). Add a little to the bowl, mixing well with a spatula, until the yeast is dissolved.
Add the rest butter-milk mix, sugar, salt and almost all the flour. Save some for later. Work the dough until it becomes smooth, flexible and the gluten builds up. Use your hands or a standmixer (if you have one).
Proof for 30-60 mins, covered with a dry kitchen towel, or until the dough doubles in size.
Preheat oven to 250ºC. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and warm softened butter together in a bowl, until you form a thick paste. Try to heat the butter enough but not so much that it melts into liquid form.
Divide the dough into 2 parts. Roll out on part into a rectangle about 1/2 cm thick. Spread half of the filling equally over the rectangled dough. Roll up the dough starting from the bottom long side. Cut each roll into 20 or 23 pieces. Place each bun onto a baking tray previously lined with baking paper, the snail-shaped cut side facing up. Repeat the same process with the other half of the dough.
Cover both trays with a kitchen towel and let proof for 30 mins, or until the buns double in size.
Brush each bun with whisked egg (or milk), sprinkle optional pearl sugar and bake at 250ºC one tray at a time for 5-7 mins (or until buns are golden brown).
Vegan version: I haven’t tried out making these vegan, but you could try it out. Sub the butter for a light oil (sunflower, olive, rapeseed…) and instead of dairy milk, use any plant-based alternative, a high fat% one could work well e.g. oats 3% or soya milk. As for the eggs to brush at the end, sub for plant-based milk too.
I would dare to say that cinnamon buns are to Swedes, what jamón (and croquetas) is to the Spanish. The local candy we grew up with. The stuff we ate so many times in our childhood, the food we came to love so much, and that we remember with our bellies but also our hearts. The stuff that, we could swear, runs in our veins.
OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little… or not!
I don’t think I’d eaten cinnamon buns before I put foot on Sweden in 2016. I remember it was July, middle of the Summer, and Ben’s mom brought out some buns for fika (also a new concept for me at the time). She took a couple out of the freezer, microwaved them, and served them along with some tea and coffee. And… OH. MY. GOD.
It was love at first sight. Since then, I’ve been trying to enjoy as many as I can, in hopes of making up for my non-Swedish cinnamon-less childhood.
The recipe I share here is the classical one, found in the 1986 book Vår kokbok (Our Cookbook). It is the Swedish version of our Spanish ‘Cocinar es fácil’, a classical book containing the traditional recipes that any well-respected homecook must know. Originally, it is believed that cinnamon buns were originated in the 1920s somewhere in the Scandinavian countries, some say Sweden. It wans’t until the 1950s though that this fluffy bun became a staple in the country.
I fell in love with them as soon as I tried them. I hope you do to! Or not. I have trouble eating just one, there’s something to them…
Anyways, if you try the recipe out, let me know how it went! If you have suggestions or questions, you cna write them down below in the comments section.