What makes this recipe Swedish other than the fact that the baker is a quarter-Swedish? The Internet told me so. And so did the ratty old copy of my parents’ Better Homes & Garden Cookbook, which has a recipe for Swedish Rye Bread with Orange.
Not that the orange makes this remotely Swedish. But the orange with the spice combination of cinnamon and cardamom is distinctly Nordic in nature. I’m talking out my ass here, so please don’t take this as Gospel. These are just really good buns.
The below recipe was sourced from about four different recipes I found on the Internet, including Fix|Feast|Flair, Girl Versus Dough, Food52/TheCuriousPear, and The Food Charlatan. Each had elements I wanted to try, but none perfectly fit the ingredients & tools I usually have on hand.
Personally, I find it’s best to adapt recipes to fit your kitchen. It makes trying something new less scary by giving the cook/baker some familiarity with the tools/ingredients being used. Keep in mind, this process requires research, especially when you substitute ingredients. Usually, I’m subbing in half-n-half for milk because we only have Skim Milk in the fridge for drinking/eating, but I know when a baking recipe calls for milk it typically means the recipe writer wants 1 or 2%.
But there’s more fat in the Half-n-Half, so maybe want to reduce the butter or up the flour. Baking is about ratios, and sometimes I’m a poor math student.
Funnily enough, I’ve tweaked this recipe many times since first testing it out around the New Year holiday. The below method is made for big, hearty buns. I cut those suckers huge the first time, making each strip of dough about an inch wide. In subsequent iterations, the buns have been significantly smaller (say a half-inch strip formed into a knot/bun shape). This means you can make more and reduce the baking time.
I’ve also swapped out the flour for a 50/50 mix of AP flour and whole wheat flour. These I noticed were significantly more dense than that complete white flour buns. Not bad, just heavier.
I’ll have to play around with the whole wheat version more until I get it to a place where I like them evenly as the all AP flour one. I guess that means I have to make these again…such a burden.
Swedish Cardamom, Cinnamon & Orange Buns, makes 12 buns
For the dough
12 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 cup Half-n-Half
1 packet active dry yeast
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt
For the filling
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp.. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
zest of one large orange
3 Tbs. white sugar
juice of half the zested orange
white sugar, for sprinkling (optional; use pearled sugar if you’re feeling really fancy)
Proofing time: 90 minutes
Making time: 40-ish minutes (I’m working slowly)
Baking time: 20-25 minutes (probably more toward the lower end of this)
- Melt butter in small sauce pan. Add the milk. Bring to 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir together flour, sugar, cardamom and salt. Add to the wet yeast mixture and stir to just combined.
- Turn out dough on lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth dough forms. It could be less time depending on your kneading prowess, don’t over work the dough. Place dough in clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and let sit in a warm place until double in size (about an hour).
- Combine filling ingredients. Bring together in a smooth but slightly grainy paste.
- Roll out dough. Roll dough into a big rectangle. Many of the recipes said 12″ x 18″. Aim for about 1/4 to 2/3-inch in thickness.
- Spread filling. With a spreading spatula (or, you know, like a knife – don’t “knead” no stinking gadgets…I’m sorry), spread the filling over half of the dough rectangle. Fold the clean dough half over the filling, and press edges together to seal.
- Cut into 12 strips. About an inch in diameter…Now the 12″ x 18″ measurement makes a lot of sense.
- Form in to knots. Watch Fix|Feast|Flair’s GIF on how to do this. Seriously, it helps. Alternatively, if you don’t want to do the whole knot business, instead of cutting the dough into strips, just roll it like a traditional cinnamon roll and slice into inch-thick rounds. Set knots or rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and place in a warm place to rise again for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly brush the rolls with the egg & juice glaze and sprinkle with sugar if using. If you go the regular granulated sugar route, you won’t see the sugar at the end of baking. If you’re using pearled sugar, you’ll see it. Pearl sugar doesn’t melt in the oven and looks really pretty. I’m not a fancy person, and I don’t bake like this often so I don’t keep pearl sugar on hand. But if you’re trying to impress, it’s a nice touch.
- Bake. I started checking around the 15 minute mark. With the egg & juice glaze, I was a tad worried about the buns browning too much. If you think your buns are browning too quickly before they’re done baking, throw a sheet a foil over them to add a little protection against burning. Serve warm with hot coffee.