This weekend, I had breakfast at a Danish bakery in London Fields with my boyfriend. It is called The Bread Station and it's a pretty cool industrial-looking bakery/café underneath the train tracks. They mostly do wholesale to other shops, so you can actually see the bakers at work producing large quantities of pastry and sourdough bread! I had a delicious "Kanelbullar" with my coffee, which is a Swedish cinnamon bun (not very Danish, but oh well). I absolutely love cinnamon buns: the crunchy outside with the soft, enriched dough on the inside... the way you can pull the different layers apart... the delicious sugary cinnamon stuffing... need I say more?
I have wanted to make cinnamon rolls for a long time, but I could never decide which kind I wanted to make. But after seeing the lovely knotted Swedish buns, there was no doubt in my mind. I had to have a go at these myself. Swedish people love these so much, they even have a national day to celebrate them! The 4th of October is "Kanelbullens Dag" (Cinnamon Bun Day) in Sweden. Unfortunately, my timing is not that good, because it is nowhere near October, but hey: you don't need a national day to enjoy these. The Kanelbulle is a popular treat to have during "fika", which is the Swedish word for coffee break. It is comparable to British afternoon tea, but more often it's coffee with pastry instead of tea with scones!
Some of you might already know that I am pescotarian (have been for 3 years now), although most of the stuff I eat is plant-based. However, because I have started to bake a lot more, I have been using a lot more animal products like eggs, milk and butter than I used to. In an attempt to reduce my use of animal products, I decided to make these buns vegan. Traditionally, Kanelbullar have a butter & sugar filling, but I have found that using vegetable oil instead of butter is just as delicious! These homemade buns were just as good (if not better!) than the non-vegan ones I had at The Bread Station.
You can get these lovely homemade buns on the table in just over 2 hours time. Trust me, it's worth the wait! My roommate and her boyfriend were really happy with me this morning ;) Without further ado, let's get to the recipe.
Vegan Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns) Ingredients (makes around 16 buns)
250 ml almond milk
60 ml boiling water
7 gr active dried yeast
1 tsp granulated sugar
370 gr plain flour
40 gr white bread wheat flour + extra for dusting
60 gr soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
60 ml vegetable oil
60 ml vegetable oil
100 gr soft brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
6 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp water
Handful of almond flakes
Start by activating your yeast. Combine the almond milk, hot water, and 1 tsp sugar. Check the temperature: you want it to be around 26 degrees (that's what the yeast likes). If it's not warm enough, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. Then stir in the dried yeast and set aside to become bubbly.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, spices and sugar. I like to use a little bit of wheat bread flour next to plain flour, because I find it adds some structure. Feel free to use just plain flour if that's what you have on hand. I do recommend adding the ground cardamom: it adds SO much to the flavour of these buns. It is definitely worth spending the few pounds on to get!
Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil and the activated yeast mixture. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together, then flour the surface and knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough. The dough will be sticky in the beginning but it will get easier to handle as you go along. You might need to add a little extra flour depending on temperature and humidity, but be careful not to add it too soon as the kneading really does make the dough less sticky eventually.
Place your dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place somewhere warm and leave to prove for 1 to 1,5 hours until doubled in size.
When your dough has proved, tip it onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a square until the dough is 1 cm thick. Combine the oil, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and spread the mixture on the dough.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Spread the mixture out until you can only see around 1 cm of the edges (so bit more than the photo bellow).
Then, fold the dough like an envelop: take the upper edge and fold it 1/3 down, then take the bottom edge and fold that op 1/3d of the way. Roll the envelop out again so that you get a rectangle of around 40x20 cm. Divide in long, 2cm wide strips. Watch the following video to see how to knot your buns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHNFA4hcpok
Place your knotted cinnamon buns on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake them for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size).
When they're cooled halfway, whip up a quick icing by combining powdered sugar with some water (the more powdered sugar you add, the thicker and whiter the icing, the more water the more translucent and thin the icing. You do you!). Top the buns with your icing and sprinkle some almond flakes on top. Enjoy!
Serve these lovely buns with a cup of steaming hot coffee and indulge! Be sure to show me your results if you do try this recipe. I love to see your bakes, so get in touch on instagram <3
Lots of love, Tori