The better part of September and October are always hectic in our family. Over the course of six weeks, we celebrate our wedding anniversary, our three children’s and two of my closest friends’ birthdays. By the end of it all, I’ve usually had more than my fair share of streamers, popping balloons and layer cakes.
However, riding right on the heels of our busy time, is my godchild Ester’s birthday, too. Because Ester’s mom is Danish, delicious, airy whipped cream and fresh fruit layer cakes are always served at the birthday party. However, according to Ester’s Swedish father, there’s no need to eat cake – Swedish cinnamon buns, or kanelbullar, are what a special day like this calls for.
Luckily for us, Ester’s dad is a master at making the buns. A few years back, I helped him make some, and it was amazing to see how with just a handful of common ingredients, he produced the most soft and flavorful sweet treats.
Unlike the American cinnamon buns I grew up on in Ohio, traditional Swedish cinnamon buns are generally less sweet and gooey, with no icing, but just a sprinkle of sugar on top. Basically, it’s a sweetened bun, not a dessert-like pastry, and so after six weeks of indulging in loads of sweetness, a Swedish bun wins over another serving of cake every time.
When we opened Kantine four months ago, it seemed only fitting to include cinnamon buns on the menu, and we now produce dozens and dozens of a variation called cinnamon knot each week. It’s the exact same dough and filling as the swirled, common bun, but because of a unique shaping technique, the finished bun resembles a pile of silky ribbons instead.
While making the recipe is easy enough for the home cook, twisting and tying the dough is a little tricky to try and explain in words, so we’ve included a short video below that shows you how to twist and tie the dough so it looks just like the real thing.Print
For the knots
5 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 large egg
1½ cups whole milk
½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2″ cubes
oil for rubbing on dough
1 egg for egg wash
Swedish pearl sugar (optional)
For the Filling:
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
- Make the Knots: In medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, sugar, salt and yeast together. In bowl of stand mixer, combine egg and milk. Add dry ingredients to egg milk mixture and mix with hook attachment on medium speed until all ingredients are combined, about 2 minutes. Let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Add: Butter to dough and mix on low speed for 12 to 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Rub: The surface of the dough with a bit of oil and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.
- Filling: Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Beat all ingredients together in bowl of small mixer with paddle attachment. Let stand at room temperature until dough is ready to be rolled out.
- Roll: Once dough is ready, transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12” x 20” rectangle. Using an offset spatula or rubber scraper, spread the filling over the lower 2/3 of the dough.
- Spread: Once dough is ready, transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12” x 20” rectangle. Using an offset spatula or rubber scraper, spread the filling over the lower 2/3 of the dough.
- Fold: The dough letter: Fold the top 1/3 of the dough down to cover the middle 1/3, and fold the bottom 1/3 up to place on middle 1/3. Starting from one short side, cut dough into 1” strips using a chef’s knife or pizza wheel.
- Form: The dough into a knot: Hold one end of a strip between thumb and middle finger (see video below). Lay the rest of the strip on the table and use your other hand to roll and twist the strip 6 to 7 times. Wrap the twisted dough around your index and middle fingers twice. Poke the end of the strip into the center of the bundle to hide end piece. Repeat with remaining strips.
- Rise: Set the buns 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet and cover lightly with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled again, about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Egg wash: In small bowl, whisk remaining egg and brush onto the top of each bun. Sprinkle with pearl sugar (if using).
- Bake: The buns for 10 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and bake for additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool before serving.
Video: How to tie a Swedish cinnamon knot with chef Nichole Accettola of Kantine in San Francisco.
Have you made Kantine’s Swedish Rye Crispbread or Three Grain Porridge with Dried Rhubarb, Strawberries and Tarragon Sugar yet?
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Pastry
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Swedish
- Serving Size: 12
Keywords: swedish cinnamon knot