I love baking with yeast. It’s the smell and the texture and the taste – the way it makes the whole house smell more homely and more welcoming. And the way you know that it’s going to taste divine.
It doesn’t matter if it’s sweet or savoury, both are magnificent.
While I love the process, I do take one serious shortcut. I’ve made a lot of bread, and for years I dutifully kneaded away. I knew that if you didn’t knead enough, what you got was heavy and not very nice to eat.
But then someone showed be the “no-knead” way. You literally don’t knead the dough at all. And it works.
From making many, many dozens of loaves in a variety of
ways, I discovered that you could do no kneading at all – or lots – and get a good result. The problem was doing something in between, being half-assed.
At first I did it only with bread, but now I go the easy way with anything that is made with yeast or sourdough. You often have to give it more time to rise, but it’s pretty foolproof.
This recipe (from The New Nordic) asks for 15 minutes of kneading, but I do none. And mine really do look exactly the same as the ones in the book. Same size, same height. And they taste wonderful.
The other thing I’ve added to this recipe (after several goes without) is some very finely sliced apple. Just for fun.
They’re called cinnamon buns, but I think it’s the
cardamom that really makes them fantastic.
Beat until light and fluffy:
135g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, at room temp
Mix in and beat for two minutes:
1 large egg
Gradually add and mix into a dough:
200ml full cream milk
100ml pouring cream (I used a thick home-made kefir)
700g plain flour
18g dried instant yeast (about a heaped tablespoon)
Put the bowl in a sink of hot water, cover with plastic wrap, and leave until it has risen well, 1.5-2 hours.
For the filling
Beat (but do not add the spices into the butter mix):
90g superfine sugar
150g unsalted butter
1 cooking apple, peeled and very finely sliced (I did mine with the finest setting on a mandolin)
1-2 tbs cinnamon, to taste
1-2 tbs crushed cardamon seeds to taste
Roll out gently into a rectangle until the dough is about 2cm deep. Spread the butter/sugar mix across the surface. Then sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon and cardamom across that. (Do not attempt to combine the cinnamon with the butter mix. It doesn’t work, and makes it go everywhere when you roll it out).
Fold in four and then roll that out to about 1.5cm. Cut into thin strips (it makes about 16).
Twist into rolls. The easiest way is to roll each strip around three fingers twice, then poke the end up through the central hole.
Place on a baking tray somewhere warm, cover and leave for at least 45 minutes. Brush some beaten egg over the top.
Cook for 12-14 minutes at 200C.
50ml golden syrup or treacle mixed with 1 tsp water
2tbs caster sugar
When they come out of the oven, brush with syrup and sprinkle with sugar. NOTE: The rolls pictured here have not been glazed with egg, the syrup or sugar.
Verdict: sweet, spicy, crispy and wonderful