© Signe Johansen 2012. Recipe extracted from Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen, out now published by Saltyard Books, £25
- 225ml whole milk
- 75g butter
- 300g refined spelt (or plain) flour
- 125g wholemeal spelt (or wheat) flour
- 70g caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 20g fresh yeast or 10g fast action dried yeast
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- 75g butter, softened
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp vanilla salt
- To finish
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- demerara or natural sugar crystals
Scald the milk by heating it in a small pan with the butter until it is almost boiling and then allow it to cool while you assemble the other ingredients. Scalding the milk makes the finished buns softer.
Sift all the dry ingredients together in to a large bowl, sprinkle the dried yeast in and stir through. If using fresh yeast, cream it with a teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and once it is liquid ( after about 30 seconds), add to the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, add the beaten egg and then the milk-butter mixture, which should be warm rather than hot to the touch, as otherwise you risk killing the yeast. Stir everything together until the mixture comes off the sides of the bowl and looks – for want of a better word – doughy (it’ll be a soft and slightly wet dough).
Place the dough in a lightly oiled plastic bag or cover the bowl with lightly oiled clingfilm, and leave it to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Make the filling by creaming the butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla salt together in a medium-sized bowl. Butter a 23cm diameter round cake tin with sides at least 5cm high.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it forms a rectangle of about 35cm x 25cm. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, starting from the middle and working outwards. If the buttery mix is a little cold, you can use your hands to spread it, as the heat helps to smooth the butter out (and it’s immensely satisfying getting your hands all sticky). Then roll the dough in to a wide cylinder, rolling from one of the longer edges of the rectangle, so it looks like an uncooked swiss roll.
Using a sharp non-serrated knife, cut the cylinder in to seven slices, with one slice slightly smaller than the rest. Place the smallest slice in the middle of the cake tin and then evenly space the remaining six around the middle one. Cover the buns and leave to rise again in a warm place for 20-30 minutes until they have doubled in size. You can test to see if they’ve proved enough by gently poking one bun with your little finger – the indentation should stay put.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Glaze the risen buns with beaten egg and sprinkle demerara or natural sugar crystals over the top. Splash a little water in the bottom of the oven to create steam to help the bun-cake to rise. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the base and looks golden brown.
Allow to cool on a wire rack. This will last for a couple of days and freezes well.