How to Bake Swedish Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns or Kanelbulle are the taste of Sweden! While in Stockholm in the early 2000s, I practically lived on cinnamon buns. Before heading to work, I’d buy 2 or 3 Kanelbulle and devour them before lunch. They were the reason I gained weight for the first time in my life; they tasted oh so good. When I got back home to Germany, I quickly found myself in a Cinnamon Bun diaspora and started craving those sweet, sugary buns. So I asked a friend for a recipe and promptly found out that they are super easy to bake.

Cinnamon Buns are great for many occasions

Not only are they good for a quick snack in the morning and a great addition to any weekend breakfast or brunch, but they are also a perfect pastry to bring to your the office on your birthday or when you start a new job. Obviously, they are also a staple of a proper Swedish ‘Fika’. Ah, they are good any time of the day.

Even in the middle of the night: One night, in Stockholm, I went to a club where they baked and sold cinnamon buns right inside the venue. Suburban Kids with Biblical Names and other Swedish Pop bands were playing, and I felt blessed. So, even today when I am baking cinnamon buns, I have to listen to Swedish Indie Pop. I firmly believe that the right soundtrack is the secret ingredient and will yield the best results. So, I made a Cinnamon Bun Fun Playlist you can play to your dough while it is rising!

Ingredients: What You Need

For the Dough

100 g unsalted butter
350 ml milk
20 g fresh yeast (2 tsp dry yeast)
560 g flour
50 g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
50g brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground cardamom
pinch of salt

For the Topping

1 beaten egg
(pearl) sugar or sliced almonds

Method: How to Bake & Braid Swedish Cinnamon Buns

Step 1: Prepare the Dough

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the milk. Leave on the stove on medium heat until the milk is warm.

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and add a few tablespoons of the warmed up butter and milk. Let it sit for a while.

Combine the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt in a large bowl and add the yeast mixture as well as the remaining milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until it has a doughy consistency.

Start kneading the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. If the dough feels too sticky, knead in some more flour. Roll your dough into a ball and leave it to rise in the bowl for approximately an hour.

Step 2: Make the Filling

Make sure the butter has reached room temperature and combine it with the sugar, cinnamon and cardamom.

Step 3: Assemble & Braid

Prepare two baking trays and cover them with baking sheets.

After the dough has rested and risen to double its size, give it another good knead and divide it in half. Roll the dough into a rectangle.

Now you can either spread half of the filling over half of the dough and roll it up into a large sausage and cut the roll into 2cm wide pieces.

If you want to go for braids – or messy buns as I like to call them – like those pictured above, instead of rolling up the dough, fold it over and cut it up into two finger wide strips. Slice those strips in half, leaving approximately one centimetre attached at the top. Twist the two halves and nestle them on top of the attached bit.

Don’t aim for perfection, but embrace the messy!

Step 4: Final Preparations & Baking

Put your buns on the baking trays, cover them with your clean kitchen towel and let them rise for another 45 minutes. In the meantime preheat your oven to 180°C.

Beat the egg in a bowl, brush the egg wash onto the cinnamon buns and sprinkle them with (pearl) sugar and/or almonds.

Bake your cinnamon buns in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes until they are golden brown – one tray at a time. When you are done, transfer them onto a cooling tray and let cool before you dig in!

A Note on Storage

Fresh cinnamon buns always taste best. But if you store them in an airtight container or a linen bag, they will keep for the following 2-3 days.

P.S.: Do you prefer bananas to cinnamon? Then make banana bread instead – you can find a recipe over here

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