Food, Travelling

If in doubt, bake!


The weather has been getting to me recently. That, the uncertainty about my writing, and my yearning for the Nordic countries (it’s an on-going love affair)* have pushed me to extreme measures: the baking of Kanelbullar.

Kanelbullar are Swedish Cinnamon Buns. You will find them in every Swedish gas station, news kiosk, supermarket, and, of course, bakery.

For a batch of about 30-35 Swedish delightful buns you’ll need:


  • 50g fresh yeast (Swedish shop at Ocado)
  • 1000g plain flour or bread flour
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • optional: 2 tsp ground cardamom


  • 150g unsalted butter (soft)
  • 5tsp ground cinnamon
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 egg for brushing
  • pearl sugar for decoration (Swedish shop at Ocado)

Kanelbullar collage1

Melt the butter and add the milk. Warm up to about 37°C (think baby bath). Add the yeast and stir until it’s dissolved. Then add the sugar, salt, cardamom, egg and enough flour to make a dough. You’ll need roughly 4/5 of the flour. Keep the rest for kneading. Work the dough about 10 minutes with a mixer or longer by hand until it has a shiny surface – add more flour if you have to. The dough should just stop sticking.

Put dough into a bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rise until it’s doubled in size. Work through with more flour until the dough can be shaped, then cut it in half and roll out each piece in a rectangular shape (circa 30x40cm).


Combine butter, cinnamon and sugar and spread all of it evenly over both pieces. Roll each piece lengthways so you end up with a long, tight roll. Cut 3cm bites and place them on baking trays lined with baking paper – or put them in muffin cases (not too small, otherwise they can’t expand.


Let the buns rest for another 30 minutes.

Brush gently with beaten egg and sprinkle a bit of pearl sugar on each bun. Bake at 220°C for about 10 minutes.


These buns freeze well. Let them cool down and freeze in freezer bags. To thaw, sprinkle the frozen buns with water and bake at 120°C for 10-15 minutes.


*If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest you watch Scandimania on Channel 4 od



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