Tag: buns

Sticky German Cinnamon Schnecken with Raisins and Maple Syrup

Sticky Cinnamon Schnecken

Sunday morning, the cosy smell of espresso bubbling in my espresso maker and fresh, warm buns on the table, there’s no better weekend treat! This week, my breakfast buns are German schnecken, sticky pastry snails, filled with cinnamon and raisins, sweet, juicy and buttery. The top is crisp but when you pull the buns apart you can feel their soft inside, it’s puffy, infused with cinnamon, slightly soaked with a thick syrup made of butter, sugar and a splash of maple syrup. They taste divine, I love them!

I had planned to bake cardamom buns for days but a package of raisins changed my mind in the last second and brought the cinnamon in. I like this combination so much that I forget about other spices sometimes, but next time it’ll be cardamom again!

Sticky Cinnamon Schnecken

 Cinnamon Schnecken

For 14 Schnecken you need

plain flour 600g / 21 ounces
sugar 75g / 3 ounces
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
salt 1 teaspoon
ground cinnamon 1 leveled teaspoon
butter, melted, 100g / 3.5 ounces
milk, lukewarm, 225ml / 7.5 ounces
organic eggs 2

For the syrup
water 50ml / 2 ounces
sugar 120g / 4.5 ounces
maple syrup 1 tablespoon
butter 50g / 2 ounces

For the filling
raisins 60g / 2 ounces
sugar 30g / 1 ounce
cinnamon 1 tablespoon

Combine the dry ingredients. Mix the hot melted butter with the cold milk and the 2 eggs, this way the liquid mixture will have the right lukewarm temperature (check with a finger). Mix the dry and the liquid mixture with your dough hooks for 5 minutes until well combined. Continue kneading with your hands for around 5 minutes until you have an elastic dough ball. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm oven for 70 minutes. Make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.

Bring all the ingredients for the syrup to a boil and cook on a medium heat for 3 minutes. Mix the raisins, sugar and cinnamon for the filling.

Take the dough out, punch it down and knead for 1 minute. Roll it out on a working surface (roughly 36 x 32cm / 14 x 12.5″), spread with the syrup and sprinkle with the sugared raisins. Roll it up tightly, cut into 14 schnecken and put into a buttered springform pan (around 26cm /10″), arrange them in a circle. Cover with a tea towel and let them rise for 20 minutes in a warm place.

Set your oven to 175°C / 350°F (fan-assisted oven).

Bake for 3o minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes before you take them out of the pan.

Sticky Cinnamon Schnecken

 

Sticky Cinnamon Schnecken

 

Sticky Cinnamon Schnecken

Spiced Hot Cross Buns with Orange Zest

hotcrossbuns1

My first Hot Cross Bun baking experience lies way back in the past and it wasn’t very successful – one morning I managed to destroy two doughs in a row. The water I used was a bit too warm and knocked out the yeast. I was so desperate that I even baked the buns from the second batch of dough but it was hopeless. I could have used the buns as cannon balls, they were as hard as a rock and impossible to eat. I needed a few years to recover from this experience but now I’m totally at peace with them again.

Hot Cross Buns are traditional Easter buns but to me they are a great treat for a big weekend breakfast or brunch all year round. They are made with lots of aromatic spices such as cinnamon, coriander, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and I also add lots of orange zest and raisins. Spices ground in a mortar unfold their entire range of aromas, I find them stronger and without the artificial touch which industrial mixtures tend to have. These buns are complex in their taste and the texture is nice and fluffy. I love to tear them with my fingers when they are freshly out of the oven and spread some butter on them, or my homemade plum jam with lots of cinnamon. I even ate one bun with liver paté, both sweet and aromatic, they make a perfect match.

Traditionally, Hot Cross Buns were eaten during Lent, always marked with a cross standing for the Crucifixion. Besides the religious connections there are further meanings passed on, sharing a bun with someone else is supposed to ensure friendships and each bite should bring good health.

Hot Cross Buns

 

Hot Cross Buns

 Hot Cross Buns

For 10 buns you need

For the dough

plain flour 500g / 1 pound
dry yeast, 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
sugar 60g / 2 ounces
salt 1 teaspoon
ground cinnamon 2 1/2 teaspoons
2 1/2 heaped teaspoons of ground mixed spice or a spice mixture made of:
coriander, ground in a mortar, 1/2 teaspoon
allspice, ground in a mortar, 7
cloves, ground in a mortar, 5
nutmeg, grated, 1/4 teaspoon
fresh ginger, grated, 1 teaspoon
zest of 1 orange
butter, melted, 60g / 2 ounces
milk, lukewarm, 190ml
organic egg 1
raisins, soaked in warm water for 4 minutes, 100g / 3.5 ounces

For the cross paste

plain flour 4 tablespoons
milk 3-4 tablespoons
vegetable oil 2 teaspoons

For the glaze

milk 5 tablespoons
icing sugar 5 tablespoons

For the dough, combine the dry ingredients (including spices and orange zest). Mix the hot melted butter with the cold milk and the egg, this way the liquid mixture will have the right lukewarm temperature (check with a finger). Mix the dry and the liquid mixture with your dough hooks for 5 minutes until well combined. Continue kneading with your hands for a few minutes until you have an elastic dough ball. Mix the raisins into the dough and put it back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm oven for 70 minutes. This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.

Take the dough out, punch it down and knead for 1 minute. Divide into 10 pieces and roll into balls. Put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rise for 30 minutes, covered with a tea towel, in a warm place.

Set your oven to 200°C / 390°F.

For the cross paste, mix the flour, milk and oil with a spoon. For the glaze, cook the icing sugar together with the milk in a sauce pan for 5 minutes on medium heat until bubbly and syrupy.

Cut a cross into the surface of each bun, wet your fingers and form slim rolls with the cross paste mixture. Lay the rolls into the crossed slits on top of each bun, wet your fingers in between. Bake the buns for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Glaze with the sweet syrup immediately. If the glaze is too thick, add a little water before you brush the tops of the buns.

Hot Cross Buns

 

Hot Cross Buns

A Mountain Bun

Mountain Buns

When I was a child we used to go to the Italian Dolomite Alps. Every year, in December, we stayed in a beautiful village in the Alta Badia region called Corvara. I loved being there as it looked like a wintery fairy tale (I always had a weak spot for places like this). Old wooden houses, trees packed with thick snow and the most amazing Tyrolean food – my childhood heaven. Yesterday I thought about how much I would love to be in the mountains again, in a wooden hut with an open fire and lots of snow outside. I would sit at a rustic old wooden table and eat rustic food.

Although I will not be visiting Corvara this winter, at least I have the wooden table and the hearty food. Therefore, my Wednesday Sandwich has to be a mountain sandwich – kind of – rich, with ham and cheese, homemade plum chutney and ground pepper. This morning, I baked my own buns with coriander and aniseed and I got some nice ham and cheese.  I made a plum chutney with lots of spices a couple months ago which is great together with cold cuts and mountain cheese. You could also use any other chutney or even plum butter, you just need something that adds a bit of fruity sweetness to this sandwich.

Mountain Buns

A Mountain Bun

For 2 sandwiches you need:

2 buns or 4 thick slices of bread, 2 slices of ham, 6 thin slices of strong mountain cheese like Swiss Appenzeller, plum chutney, a few leaves of lettuce (I used field salad as I had some left) and some crushed pepper.

Set your oven to grill (highest temperature).

Cut the bun in half, spread the chutney thinly on one half and put a slice of ham on top. Cover with 3 slices of cheese and put in the oven until the cheese starts to melt. Take the bun out, sprinkle with pepper, add some lettuce and put the other half of your bun on top.

I know it’s a bit of work, but baking your own bread or buns is definitely worth the effort and I’m sure you will agree after your first bite of the warm and fluffy buns. I prepared mine last night and let the dough rise overnight. Then you just have to put the buns into shape the next morning, let them rise for 40 minutes and bake them. If you want them plain just leave out the coriander and aniseed, they are still delicious!

Buns

This recipe makes 12 fabulous buns or milk rolls:

plain four 550g / 1.1 pound
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
milk, lukewarm,  300ml
butter, melted, 50g / 2 ounces
organic egg 1
sugar 1 teaspoon
salt 1 1/2 teaspoon
coriander, crushed, 1 teaspoon
aniseed, for the topping, 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the yeast, coriander, sugar and salt. Mix the milk with the melted butter and the egg. Mind the temperature as the mixture should be lukewarm. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour and start mixing with your dough hooks for around 10 minutes until you have an elastic dough ball. Put the dough on a floured working surface and continue kneading with your hands for a couple minutes.

When I prepare the dough in the evening I place it in a clean, buttered and covered bowl in the fridge and let it rise overnight. You will have to take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you can continue with the next steps.

In case I want to bake my buns the same day, I put the dough in a clean and buttered bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in the 35°C / 95°F warm oven for 60 minutes. This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.

Set your oven to 220°C / 430°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

When the dough is bigger and puffy punch it down and knead for 1-2 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces and roll them in your hands into a round shape. Place the buns on your baking sheet, sprinkle with anisseed and give them another 40 minutes in a warm place to rise again (covered with a tea towel).

Bake the buns for 6 minutes, take the temperature down to 200°C / 390°F and bake them for another 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool for a couple minutes.

Mountain Buns