We Love Cooking! + [yeast]

:: Swedish Cinnamon Buns

After a few days in Sweden I'm back on Irish soil this week before I head off to Paris today. It's nice to be back, the more I travel the more I enjoy coming home; I'm not sure if it's because I don't like to leave my kitchen for too long or because it's that time of year where your house really becomes your home.
As always I left Sweden with lots of Scandinavian inspiration, the shops are always so packed with amazing displays but the most interesting items I left with weren't from an expensive shop; they came from a 1950s basement. People with an interest in food photography will know that props can really make a photo and give it a certain style. Since the summer I've been on the hunt for retro kitchen items, rustic table spreads, old doors and pieces of wood to create the pretty scenes that make my food photos what they are. I hit the jackpot when I walked into Sofie's grandmother's basement - an Aladdin's cave packed with an amazing collection of 1950's style kitchen equipment and a fantastic selection of retro cookbooks, complete with old style imagery. After I'd scooped up enough potential props as my baggage restrictions would allow, I spent hours trawling through old Swedish cookbooks (I have enough Swedish to get me by and surprise, surprise, my food vocabulary is top notch!).

I found some really fantastic recipes for gingerbread cookies, gooey chocolate cake, Saffron bread and, of course, all the aspic jellies and gaudy plastic food images that were all the rage back when. The major find of the day was a beautiful old book in which Sofie's grandmother had written her favourite recipes into. It's in these books, handed down through the generations, that you find out what home cooking is really all about. If you have time this weekend, pull out the family cookbook and delve into the recipes which are closest to your heart. Why not start writing one yourself?

Between all the retro diving and cookbook reading, we did manage to stop for a warm hot chocolate and the famous Kanelbulle at Saluhallen, a cook's paradise not unlike the English Market in Cork, which is well worth a visit for a foodie in Gothenburg.

Swedish Cinnamon Buns
Swedish cinnamon buns, or Kanelbulle, were the first thing I learned to bake when I stayed in Sweden. Pearl sugar is sprinkled on top to give it that distinctive finishing touch, but if you can’t get your hands on any, simply sprinkle a little Demerara sugar to finish.

Makes about 40 Buns
400ml/14fl oz milk
110g/4oz butter
2 x 7g sachets of dried yeast
110g/4oz sugar
750g/11⁄2lbs cream flour
1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of Pearl sugar
1 egg beaten

For the filling:
110g/4oz butter
90g/31⁄2oz sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon

Melt the butter in a large pot gently on a low heat and then add the milk. When the mixture is lukewarm, remove from the heat and add the two sachets of dried yeast, sugar and salt.
Slowly incorporate the flour one cup at a time; be patient, as the mixture will eventually come together and you won’t be left with a sticky mess forever!
You may need to add less or more of the flour to get the right consistency. When the dough has taken shape and is no longer sticky, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about three minutes.
Leave the dough to rise in the bowl covered with a damp cloth for 45
minutes.
Try and find somewhere warm, as the yeast will do its job a lot quicker.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Gently melt the butter
in a sauce-pan and add the cinnamon and sugar, making a thick
spreadable mixture.
When the dough has risen, cut it in half and roll it into a rectangle about 5mm thick, and then spread the filling all over.
Then, from the long side, roll the dough so you get a snail effect and slice into approximately 15–20 pieces. Place the slices in paper wrappers face up and coat with the beaten egg. Repeat the process with
the second half of the dough.
Sprinkle the buns with pearl sugar. Bake the rolls in the oven at 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7 for about 5–10 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Enjoy!