As you know, a good bun is a baked treat towards which I'm particularly partial, and one challenge I've been meaning to take for some time is in learning how to shape kardemummbullar. After some brief internet trawling and a quick catch up with a local baker who kindly walked me through how they do it (it seems the majority of 'instructional' clips online are more about how quickly you can tie them than detailed technique) I settled on two of the more popular versions and began blindly experimenting to see which suited me best.
Much like a sticky or cinnamon bun, kardemummbullar comprise an enriched, lightly-spiced dough filled with sugar and spice and all things nice. For the first of the two wrapping methods, the flattened dough was spread with filling, folded in half and then cut into peg-like strips, which were twisted and folded back on themselves. While I my mind this seemed fairly straightforward and I could get to the twisted trouser leg stage without too much ado, where to go next had me a little bit miffed and so the end result was slightly ad hoc.
The second and seemingly more popular method used a letter fold and single strips that were simply stretched, twisted and wrapped back around on themselves. I found this technique much easier to get the hang of, and preferred the extra layering achieved using the double fold.
But from these early attempts it was soon apparent that I'd rolled the strips too short, and so I repeated the letter fold single strip twist with a second batch to try and better my wrapping action. They were certainly far improved and as delicious as you can imagine any sweet, sticky, spiced warm bun should be, but while I'll still post the recipe below I'll admit I'm not that big a fan of the dough. Despite being perfectly suitable it was still a bit dry for my liking, making it difficult to stretch the strips enough for the double wrap around without tearing the surface. In hindsight it may also be worth increasing the recipe so that you use a bigger dough sheet to begin with.
To be revisited...
KARDEMUMMBULLAR (recipe adapted from honeymoonchild.com)
For the dough
- 7 g dry yeast
- 40 g butter
- 200 ml milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 325 g plain flour
- egg-wash, for brushing
For the filling
- 50 g butter, softened
- 20 g dark brown sugar
- 30 g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the spiced syrup
- 60 g sugar
- 60 ml water
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
To make the spiced syrup, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves then simmer for 1-2 minutes before removing from heat and allowing to steep.
To prepare the dough, melt the butter over low heat and then add the milk. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Once the butter/milk mixture is lukewarm add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Combine the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt in a large bowl, pour over the milk/yeast mixture and knead together until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave to rest in a warm place for one hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing the butter, sugar and spices together into a smooth paste.
On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough into a 30- × 40-cm rectangle. Spread the filling over two-thirds of the dough and then perform a letter fold along the long edge, folding over the dough without filling first. Cut the dough into strips 2-cm wide.
To shape the buns, take the end of each strip between the thumb and forefinger of either hand and stretch by pulling away from each other. Holding the end in the left hand still, move the right hand around clockwise, twisting the strip as you do so, until the strip has wrapped around the left thumb and forefinger twice (or once if the strip isn't long enough). Once the right hand is back around near the left thumb, hold the strip to the wrapped dough with the middle finger of the left hand so that you can lift the remaining dough (the bit you're holding in your right hand) over the top of the forming bun and tuck the free end underneath. Place the buns on lined baking trays, cover, and rest in a warm place for one hour.
Brush the buns with a little egg-wash, sprinkle with pearl sugar if desired, and then bake in an oven preheated to 220°C for 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven, brush with a little spiced syrup and allow to cool. Makes 10-12 buns.
** If, like me, you're a visual learner then you may wish to watch this clip on shaping.