Fikabröd

Fikabröd

By
From
Lagom
Photographer
Yuki Sugiura

Often called fikabröd (fika bread) the cinnamon bun and its ilk form part of a group of cardamom-laced, lightly sweetened, leavened dough called vetebröd (literally meaning wheat bread) that are used to make buns, loaves and pastries. There are no limits to the possible fillings, but classics include cinnamon, more cardamom, almond paste, custard, pistachios and apples.

I know the cinnamon bun well. I have made a lot in my time with some disappointing and challenging results. It is humbling knowing I will never make a single batch that can hold a candle to my mormor’s incredible versions, but after many years I am pleased with my tried and perfected recipe. The main thing I have learned is not to rush the process. I have tried and failed to make good cinnamon buns when I needed to be somewhere in a few hours or had other things on the stove or in the oven. Take it slow and give these buns their due.

Flour is key. I have decided to use strong white bread flour after a lot of experimenting because I prefer the lighter, airier texture. You could try half strong white/half plain flour for a cakier version or half wholemeal bread flour/half strong white bread flour if you wish; just leave a little more time for the dough to rise and prove. The amount of flour in these bun recipes should be taken with a pinch of salt. It will vary a fair bit depending on the kind of flour you use, even from brand to brand but also from country to country. You may find that you need more or less to get the right results, so add it carefully and vigilantly.

In Sweden, the buns are often sprinkled with something we call pearled sugar (small white crystals) before baking, for extra crunch and sweetness, but as this is hard to find you could brush them with a sugar syrup when just out of the oven and still warm.

Kanel & kardemummabullar

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the dough

Quantity Ingredient
150g butter
500ml whole milk
50g fresh yeast
125g caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom, split open and seeds bashed
or 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom pods, split open and seeds bashed
800g strong white bread flour
1 egg, beaten

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
50g very soft butter
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
or 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom pods, split open and seeds bashed
or 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Method

  1. For the dough, melt the butter in a pan, pour in the milk and heat until “finger warm” (just warm to touch). Crumble the yeast into your largest bowl with a little of the buttery milk. Stir until the yeast has dissolved, then add the remaining liquid. Add the sugar, cardamom and 1/2 tsp salt, then about 700g of the flour. Mix until you have a wet dough, then tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead to come together. It will be a bit difficult to handle, but moving it vigorously around or slapping and folding it will have an impact. Add a bit more flour if absolutely necessary. Return to a clean bowl and sprinkle with flour. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warmish place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. It should now be smooth “like a baby’s bottom”, as my mormor used to say, with a fond pat.
  2. Knock the dough back a bit while still in the bowl, then tip onto a floured surface. Knead for a few minutes, adding more flour if the dough seems very wet. It is ready when it releases from the surface easily and, if you slash into the dough with a very sharp knife, there are evenly distributed small air bubbles. Cut the dough in half and roll each half out to form a rectangle, roughly 30 x 40cm and 5mm thick, with the longest side facing you. Spread with the softened butter, then sprinkle over the sugar and cardamom or cinnamon (or a combination of both).
  3. Preheat the oven to 225°C and line several baking sheets with parchment. Roll up each rectangle tightly and slice into even pieces, about 2.5cm thick. Pinch or tuck in the ends and place, generously spaced, on the prepared sheets. Cover with tea towels and prove for about 40 minutes, until doubled in size
  4. Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 8–10 minutes until golden. Allow to cool at least a little on a wire rack, or as long as you can wait.

Blueberry buns with lemon & marzipan

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 * kanel & kardemummabullar [rid:41280], dough
400g fresh blueberries
100g caster sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
50g butter, softened
175g best-quality marzipan, coarsely grated
1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Make the basic Kanel & kardemummabullar dough according to the instructions.
  2. While the dough is rising, bring the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to the boil in a small pan, then lower the heat and simmer for 10–20 minutes (depending on your blueberries), until jammy. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  3. Line several baking sheets with baking parchment. After leaving the dough to rise, knead and roll it out into 2 rectangles as with the Kanel & kardemummabullar recipe. Spread with the butter and blueberry jam, then sprinkle over the marzipan and lemon zest. Roll up and slice into about 14–16 buns in total, then transfer to the prepared baking sheets, cover with tea towels and allow to prove for about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Brush the buns with the beaten egg, then bake for 8–10 minutes, or until golden and puffed up. Allow to cool on a wire rack before tucking in.

Sticky buns topped with salted caramel

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 * kanel & kardemummabullar [rid:41280], dough
125g butter, softened
150g light brown sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
180ml double cream
50g almonds, roughly chopped, (optional)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
75g caster sugar

Method

  1. Make the basic Kanel & kardemummabullar dough according to the instructions.
  2. Line a large high-sided baking tin with baking parchment. While the dough is rising, melt half of the butter in a small saucepan, then add the brown sugar and golden syrup. Simmer over a low-medium heat until the sugar has dissolved then add the cream and bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Add a pinch of sea salt and allow to cool until just warm to the touch, tasting to see if more salt is necessary. Sprinkle the almonds, if using, into the prepared baking tin and pour over the caramel sauce, spreading out evenly.
  3. Knead the dough, dividing it into 2 rectangles and spreading with the remaining butter, cinnamon and caster sugar. Roll up the rectangles and slice into buns – you should have enough for about 16–18.
  4. Arrange these on top of the caramel, about 1cm apart. Cover with a tea towel and let prove for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the buns for 15–20 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before flipping over. You may find that some of the caramel sticks to the baking parchment, but you should be able to scrape it off and disperse it over the buns. Cool completely on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to catch any dripping caramel, before sprinkling with a little extra sea salt and pulling apart to serve.

Cranberry & clementine buns with maple & pecans

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 * kanel & kardemummabullar [rid:41280], dough
300g cranberries
200ml maple syrup, plus 2 Tbsp
3 clementines, zested and juiced
1 1/2 oranges, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
or 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
100g whole pecans, plus 3 Tbsp roughly chopped
1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Make the basic Kanel & kardemummabullar dough according to the instructions.
  2. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Preheat the oven to 200°C and lightly oil a baking sheet. Bring the cranberries, 200ml of the maple syrup, the orange or clementine juice and zest to the boil in a small pan. Add the ginger and simmer for about 10 minutes until thick and jammy. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Toss the 100g pecans in the remaining maple syrup and spread onto the prepared baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes, tossing halfway. Allow to cool, then roughly chop.
  4. Oil another baking sheet. Divide the dough in half. Roll one half into a roughly 30 x 25-cm rectangle about 2cm thick, with the longest side facing towards you. Spread half of the cranberry jam onto the dough and sprinkle with half the maple-toasted pecans. Roll away from you into a sausage-like shape. Using a sharp knife, trim the ends, then slice into about 7–8 buns, each about 5cm thick. Place on the prepared baking sheet and cover with a tea towel. Repeat with the other half of the dough then allow to prove for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 225°C. Lightly brush each bun with a little beaten egg and sprinkle over the roughly chopped pecans before baking for 10–12 minutes until golden and baked through. Allow to cool on a wire rack before tucking in. These are particularly nice halved through their middles and toasted, like teacakes.
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