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In search of the perfect Danish cinnamon bun!

There are just so many wonderful things to write about after a trip to Copenhagen, this was my second visit and I think I fell in love with the city even more on this return visit, with my two daughters, who were equally enamoured. We cycled for hours, ate by the water in pop up street cafes, walked for miles and even swam in the harbour – it was 30 degrees when we were there!

After my last visit I did write an entry with all my top tips and am delighted that so many readers have come back saying how they found it useful and loved their trips – I will update that entry with a few exciting new places not to miss, fun restaurants, including the best sushi ever tasted! I did manage to find some wonderful interior shops too  – inspiration for the new house!

Our obsession this visit soon became the Danish cinnamon bun – a delicious morning treat of pure indulgence. One of the most popular types of Danish pastry is the snegl (snail), which is a spiral cake packed full of cinnamon and butter, and topped with icing sugar. On Wednesday mornings people flock from all over Copenhagen to Skt Peders bakery for its celebrated onsdagssnegl(£1.50), named after said weekday. Annie walked the couple of miles to track it down, whilst we slumbered – a breakfast treat in bed! The other great finds were at The Anderson bakery opposite the station and Lagkagehuset which has bakeries all over the city

• Skt. Peders Bageri, Sankt Peders Stræde 29, onsdagssnegle.dk. Lagkagehuset, various branches across Copenhagen, lagkagehuset.dk

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This is a great recipe for cinnamon buns, which is well worth the effort, from Signe  Johansen whose site and books are bursting with wonderful Scandinavian recipes – Scandilious

 

 

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Thank you girls for a great holiday!

 

Go to my updated listing of top tips in Copenhagen Click here

In search of the perfect Danish cinnamon bun!

Serves 10

  • 300g plain flour
  • 125g wholemeal flour
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 7g dried yeast (or 15g fresh yeast if you can source it)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom pods (though leave the pods out…)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 75g butter
Filling:
  • 75g soft butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan, scald the milk along with the butter and allow to cool while you assemble the other ingredients. In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together – if you want these less grainy, then leave out some of the bran from when you sieve the wholemeal flour – and stir through using a large spoon.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the egg, then the milk. It’s important the milk/butter is below 50 Celsius degrees when you do this, otherwise the yeast will die when it comes in contact with the hot liquid. If you don’t have a thermometer to measure the milk’s temperature, use your fingers! The milk should feel warm to the touch, not hot.
Mix the ingredients together until the mixture comes off the sides of the bowl. Scatter some plain flour on your work surface and put the dough on this, adding a bit of flour to your hands so you don’t get sticky dough all over you. Start kneading the dough back and forth, and keep the dough moving for 5-8 minutes, the less stationary the dough is, the less likely it is to stick to the surface. The dough is ready to rise when you poke it and it springs back
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled clingfilm (prevents dough from sticking…), then place the dough in a warm room or cupboard (not the dryer as I once did…forgetting that it tumbles) and let it rise for 45 minutes. If you opt to use only plain flour the dough will take less time to rise, as the fibre in wholemeal flour slows down the yeast
While the dough is rising, make the filling by mixing butter, cinnamon and sugar together. If you’re using the pistachios, chop the nuts – or blitz in a blender if you have one
When the dough has doubled in size, take it out and place again on your work surface. Using a rolling pin, make a rectangular shape of the dough, about 40cm x 30cm. Place the filling on the center of the rectangle and spread out. If the kitchen’s a bit cold – as mine was this morning – and the butter is firm, use your hands to spread the filling. Not only does the heat from your hands help to smooth the butter over your dough, but it’s immensely satisfying getting your hands all sticky and cinnamon.

Once you’ve finished making a mess with the filling, and – crucially – tasted it, start rolling the dough into a wide cylinder so it looks like an uncooked swiss roll. Ie. roll from the longest part of the rectangle, not the shortest, otherwise you will have very wide buns
Now, using a sharp, uncerrated knife, cut the log into 1.5cm/1 inch slices, and either place on a baking sheet or in a cake tin as shown below. The cake tin version is fun as the buns merge into one another and the end result m
eans everyone shares a bun – a ritual of breaking the bread, if you willOnce you’ve cut all the slices and arranged them in whichever way you prefer, cover the buns with oiled clingfilm again and allow to rise a second time – or to ‘prove’ as bakers say – for about 30 minutes. They won’t take as long to double in size as the first rising, so keep an eye on them…

How do you know the buns are ready to bake? Gently poke one with your little finger and the indentation should stay put. In other words, there is no ‘spring-back’.
Preheat the oven to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit) and before you place the buns in the oven (!), glaze with a little eggwash which is simply an egg broken up with a fork, and then finally – scatter the pistachio nuts on top. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes. The buns are ready when you tap the bottom and they sound hollow.
You can of course glaze them with a glace icing.

 

 

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Through The Natural Pantry I hope to share with you some of the delicious recipes discovered whilst cooking in my kitchen with produce grown in our garden and the very best natural ingredients.