English, Food, Recipes

Lagom, Cinnamon Buns, and finding balance with Swedish ‘fika’

The Swedish word ‘lagom’ means ‘not too little, not too much, but just enough’, and can be used to describe basically anything. It is a concept that goes some way to describe Sweden, celebrating a commitment to finding what really works and, crucially, knowing when to stop.


Cinnamon buns:
sunflower oil, for oiling
300ml milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
50g butter
425g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
7g packet fast-action dried yeast
50g caster sugar
½ tsp fine salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling:
75g butter, softened
50g light brown soft sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp fine salt

For the glaze:
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pearl or demerara sugar, for sprinkling

No one pastry or baked treat says that as much as a cinnamon flavored bun, paired here with a touch of aromatic cardamom. Think of that gorgeous warmly spicy scent spreading throughout your home while the buns are baking in the oven… yummy!

Let’s start!

Lightly oil a large baking sheet and put the milk in a small saucepan, add the cardamom and bring to just below boiling point. Turn off the heat, stir in the butter until melted and leave the mixture to stand until it is just warm. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the egg, then stir in the warm milk mixture.

Gradually mix until well combined and a soft sticky dough forms that comes away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out on to a lightly oiled work surface (don’t flour it) and knead by hand for 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft and sticky at first, but will become less sticky with kneading. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Lightly oil a bowl and add the dough. Cover with clingfilm or a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 30–60 minutes or until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, make the filling. Beat all the ingredients together in a separate bowl until soft and easily spreadable.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle.

Spread the cinnamon filling over the dough and, starting from one of the long edges, roll the dough up tightly like a Swiss roll, ending with the seam underneath.

Cut into 10 slices around 2.5cm thick. Place on the baking sheet, leaving a small space between them, or in the individual tins or sections, and then cover and leave to prove in a warm place for about 30 minutes until the dough springs back when prodded gently.

For the glaze, brush the buns with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sugar. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the buns for 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool for a while – delicious served warm.


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