Every now and then I have a little 1:1 with myself and do a bit of blog planning. I keep a list of interesting recipes I have only thought about but never actually written down properly, a list of things I have wanted to try but never did, a list of childhood classics to tell you about, and so on. While a lot of all these are sweet, a good chunk is made with yeast. I love working with yeast. Over the years I have been experimenting and learning A LOT when it comes to different types of yeast and now I’m confident enough to use dry and fresh yeast and even fermented-type yeast. Over the past couple of years B. has also become a keen bread baker and we now have two jars of starter in our fridge (one rye, one white), which, considering I also have my homemade yogurt in there, makes for quite a crowded fridge. Anyway, imagine my astonishment when, during one of these 1:1 I realised that in over a year of blogging, I have only posted only one yeast-based recipe. So without further ado, let’s make this better and let me introduce you to the second of a hopefully long series of recipes that have the marvellous yeast at their very core.

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Kanelbullar are sweet Swedish buns filled with either cardamom- or cinnamon-flavoured butter. Until I get the chance to visit Sweden and get some factual evidence on Kanelbullar, here’s what I know: Scandinavians love their sweet breads and pastries. And how can you not, when they are this lovely and delicious? Anyway, there’s a plethora of sweet buns in Scandinavian cooking and it’s an understatement to say that I want to make (and eat) them all. I’m starting with cardamom buns, but saffron and cinnamon ones are on the list too. What’s there to say about these buns? The spelt flour gives a nutty edge which I loved. The combination of cardamom and lemon zest is just perfect. The whole thing is aromatic and not overly sweet, which makes for a nice contrast to the sweet crunch of almonds and sugar on top of the bun. If you enjoy working with yeast, then these are definitely a reward. It was a bit tricky trying to twist the buns and try to hold them into place (and I’m not sure I succeded at that, seeing some of the examples out there on the Web) but it was definitely fun.

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Lemon and cardamom buns

Adapted from Scandilicious and Kokblog. The idea of mixing cardamom with lemon zest has been taken from the quirky “The Scandinavian Kitchen” by Camilla Plum. Makes 30-35 buns, depending on the size.

Ingredients for the dough
250 ml milk
50 gr butter, melted
15 gr fresh yeast
1 egg, beaten
150 gr wholemeal spelt flour
350 gr strong white flour
75 gr caster sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
Ingredients for the filling
70 gr butter, at room temperature
75 gr caster sugar
2 tsp cardamom pods
zest of 1 organic lemon
To finish
1 medium egg
a bit of milk
flaked almonds
demerara sugar

In the evening of the first day, warm the milk in a pan until amost boiling. Turn off the heat and add the butter. While you wait for the butter to melt, in a bowl mix together the flours, sugar, sugar and salt. When the milk is cool enough for you to put s finger in (and leave it there without scalding yourself) add the yeast, broken in little pieces. Gently work it with a spoon or your fingers until it’s melted. Add the milk mixture to the flour bowl. Immediately after add the beaten egg and quickly mix everything with a wooden spoon. Tip on a clean surface and knead until the dough looks and feels soft. Put the dough in a plastic box, cover with a lid and put in the fridge to rest overnight. The extra time will allow the dough to ferment, while the cold won’t allow the yeast to overwork.
The day after, when you are ready to start working again, take the dough out of the fridge about 30 minutes before starting to work with it. While you wait for it warm up, prepare the filling. Open the cardamom pods and powder the seeds in a pestle and mortar. Cream together butter, sugar, zest and cardamom seeds until you end up with a smooth butter. Separate the dough in half. Roll one half into a rectangle roughly 25 x 45 cm in size. Spread with half the cardamom butter and fold in half on the longer length. As for the cutting and folding, I suggest you visit kokblog and follow the lovely illustrations there. I did! Once you have done all the folding and twisting and your buns are ready (and you have used the remaining half of the dough), place them on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment and cover with a clean tea towel or some clingfilm. They will need to prove for about 30 minutes to 1 hours. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C fan-assisted. Beat together the egg and a little milk and glaze the buns. Sprinkle some flaked almonds and demerara sugar and bake until deeply golden. They are best eaten on the day you make them, but I found that reheating them in a warm oven one or two days after makes them just as delicious as freshly baked.