The last time I posted a recipe for one of Sweden’s favorite pastries, the cinnamon bun, was 7 years ago! Well, 7 years and 1 day to be exact. While everything I posted back then was good, I’ve definitely improved my skills in recipe development since then so it was about time!
I tested and filmed this recipe over a few days, phew! It’s crazy how much work goes into each blogpost and video. I think I was a little stressed out on day 2 so I accidentally deleted all the photos. Honestly, that is the first time that has ever happened to me in all these years! I usually double check everything, thank goodness they were not for a client!
Keep reading for my best Swedish cinnamon bun tips & tricks!
Some Swedish cinnamon bun tips & tricks
I use fresh yeast for yeast dough, because it’s what I’ve always done and because it’s available literally everywhere in Sweden. I know this is not the case in many countries but you could use instant yeast or active dry yeast in place of the fresh yeast. Make sure to read the instructions on the yeast package , and make sure to use an amount equivalent of the 25 g fresh yeast. You can read more about different types of yeast here.
Don’t add more flour than stated in the recipe! I know it might be tempting to add more flour when the dough is sticky, but this will dry out the buns! It’s better to flour your work surface and the rolling pin, and then use a pastry brush to brush off excess flour. You can also use a dough scraper if the dough sticks to the surface.
I use whole milk (3% fat content) when I make buns, but I’ve used plant based milk too and it work as well. I used cold milk for the fresh yeast and didn’t notice any difference from lukewarm milk so I will be using that from now on. Since you work the dough in a stand mixer (or with your hands) for a while, it will have time to come to room temperature. Note that you might need to use warm milk for other types of yeast.
I use a fine cane sugar (same size granules as granulated) for this recipe because it has a deeper flavor, but regular white granulated sugar works too!
Use freshly ground cardamom for this recipe! I cannot stress this enough, to get the right flavor this is very important.
Use salted butter! I almost always use salted butter when baking. If not using salted butter, you’ll need to add some extra salt. Make sure the butter is very soft, but not melted, or it will be difficult to incorporate it into the dough which is still fairly cold at this point. The reason I’m not using melted butter is because it makes the dough more wet, which requires more flour, and we do not want to add more flour than necessary!
If you don’t have access to pearl sugar or nib sugar, you can top the buns with demerara sugar.
I’ve made this recipe using the overnight method (cold rise) and the regular method of letting the dough rise at room temperature and I did find a few differences. First of all, it’s convenient to prepare the dough the night before. Second of all, the dough is a bit firmer when it’s cold so it’s easier to work with. I do think the cold rise buns tasted and had the texture of bakery buns, while the room temp rise buns were a bit more fluffy and soft, so it all depends on what you prefer! The cold rise buns also kept their shape better after defrosting.
Use clean, damp kitchen towels to cover the bowl and buns when they are rising (except when rising overnight in the fridge, cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap). This prevents them from drying out and I find that they also rise better.
Don’t skip brushing the buns with sugar syrup once they’re freshly baked! It helps retain the moisture in the buns and it gives a shiny, slightly crunchy texture to them.
To freeze and defrost the buns. If you’re not eating all the buns the day they are baked, it’s best to freeze them to keep them fresh! Let the buns come to room temperature after baking, then place them well wrapped, or in airtight containers in the freezer. When ready to eat, defrost buns at room temperature, then warm for a few minutes in the oven.