Lussebullar (Lucia Buns)

The 13th of December is the day when Swedes celebrate Saint Lucia by lighting up the darkness with candles and crowns on their heads. The Swedes also sing songs and eat funny shaped buns they call Lussebullar (Lussekatter, Saffron Buns). Even if Lucia’s day has already passed, anytime is ok to bake and enjoy these saffron rich buns. Below is Anna Brones’ recipe. Please read her Lucia article over at Foodie Underground (with more illustrations by me).

Saffransbullar – Saffron Buns
recipe by Anna Brones

1/8 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
7 cups flour
1/4 cup currants
One egg + Currants for decoration

Crush saffron in a small bowl with a little bit of sugar. Melt butter in a small pot and add milk. Heat until warm (you should still be able to stick your finger in). Measure out yeast in a large bowl and mix in a couple tablespoons of the butter and milk mixture until the yeast dissolves. Mix in the rest of the milk and butter. Add in sugar and salt.
Add in almost all of the flour (you want to reserve some for rolling later) and mix and knead it together for about 10 minutes. Knead until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Dust a little flour on top of the dough, cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
Knead dough on floured surface. Roll into classic saffransbullar shapes. The most common is the “S” shape, but get creative. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Cover with and let rise for 30 minutes. Decorate with currants (they traditionally go in the center of where the bun is rolled) and glaze with a beaten egg. Bake at 400 F for 8-10 minutes.

 

Pide (by Jeremy Shapiro)

Let me present my next guest blogger here on kokblog: Jeremy Shapiro, a professional chef and incredible baker. For over 20 years Jeremy has been cooking in top kitchens in New York City and beyond. Today he is the head chef  in a super secret private club in New York where he lures customers with endless sweets and savory treats.

Jeremy is also creator and editor of  Stir the Pot, a food blog that he started in 2005. If you visit his site you will soon discover that bread is a major subject. Jeremy explores different kinds of baking methods as well as flour and grain types. He bakes both sweet and savory, including croissants, fruit tarts, rustic rye breads, pizza, baguettes, bagels, loaves and breads with airy crumbs & crispy crusts. This summer Jeremy started a Micro Bakery in his apartment kitchen (just bigger than a bread box according to him). I’m impressed by his energy; he seems to be active, baking and cooking 24 hours per day.

Jeremy also interviews people in the food world that he finds interesting, from professional chefs to home cooks like myself (ahem), including Ibán Yarza who has previously appeared here on kokblog as a guest blogger. He has also connected with Sandor Ellix KatzAnthony BourdainDan Lepard and many many more. I really recommend listening to his interviews, or just reading through the list of names. It’s a great and unusual recourse of inspiration.

Pide
by Jeremy Shapiro

While on my visits in Istanbul cooking for my friend in her restaurant, I would daily pass a pide restaurant. Though I never tried from this specific place, I was able to try some from a young knowledgeable baker employed by my friend. He’d show his amazing hand skills with dough’s supple and see through like durum, not the flour of the same name, but the roll up wrap style sandwich bread a common street food in Turkey. When I returned to NYC, I’d often yearn a good pide with suçuk or sujuk, a spicy sausage that can be ground or sliced to accompany a canoe shaped pide, filled with cheese, tomatoes, eggs. When I finally sourced an amazing Montenegro butchers suçuk I was in business. As well as playing with this dough for different guises, like a lamacjun or a Ramadan flat bread.

It’s a bit tricky to make pide with sourdough, so an easy and quick yeast dough is just as good.

Pide Recipe

500 grams flour (all purpose is fine)
15grams salt
12 grams yeast
25 grams sugar
300grams water

You could approach this basically like any straight dough, mix all the ingredients and bulk ferment till doubled. Then divide and shape according to your desired need. For a pide, or pizza you could take say 80g-100g of dough, roll it out with a rolling pin, or press your hands to flatten the dough oblong about 10 to 12 inches long. Keeping the ends pointy and the sides about 6 inches wide.

The choice of fillings can be anything, think local if you can, and seasonal… Though I love cheese, onion, tomatoes and egg, and yes, suçuk, that may not be a possibility to find those items. Some nice choices, beet tops and feta, or chorizo with pumpkin?

•••

more about Jeremy:
Bread Inspiration from a Master Baker
– zen can cook meeting Jeremy Shapiro
You can also follow Jeremy and his work on twitter, @stirthepots

 

An Alternative Menu for Thanksgiving

The other day I put together an alternative Thanksgiving menu together with Anna Brones, just because we like to share great recipes from some of our favorite food sites (check out the links below). I also suggest you read the story about Anna’s turkey struggles last year over at Foodie Underground.

The Complete Foodie Underground Thanksgiving Menu (With or Without Turkey)

Blini with Cranberry Orange Salsa
Bite-sized Porcini Tarts
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Dried Figs and Thyme
Fennel and Celery Root Soup
Garlicky Greens
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings
Cranberry Pear Tart
Apple & Gingerbread Cake

Happy Thanksgiving!

This list was first published at Foodie Underground, 19 November 2012

Amuse-Bouche (announcement)

About two weeks ago Anna Brones launched Foodie Underground, a new place for honest food conversations.  I happened to be a happy member of the team and will be posting there regularly. My weekly column will illustrate humorous food-related captions by Anna Brones. The captions are quotes overheard in the kitchen, restaurant, at the food market or simply made up. The name of the column is Amuse-Bouche which means a single bite-sized hors d’œuvre. Bon appetit!

Kanelbullar

Yesterday was the day of Kanelbullen (the cinnamon bun) which Swedes celebrate by having ‘fika’ (a traditional coffee break in Sweden).  If you are as serious a bun eater as Anna Brones and myself, you will bake them yourself and have “fika” all day. Below is our last  article together on EcoSalon. It may be the end of EcoSalon, but it will not be the last time you see something from Anna and me, our collaboration will continue one way or another. This article was 1st published at EcoSalon, 4 October 2012.

Baking and Celebrating Swedish Cinnamon Rolls (on Cinnamon Roll Day!)
by Anna Brones (text & recipe) and Johanna Kindvall (recipe & illustrations)

Sweden is equated with many things, but there is nothing as iconic as the cinnamon roll. In Swedish culinary culture, every cup of coffee deserves to be served with a baked good. This tradition is called fika and at its core is the cinnamon roll.

I don’t mean the cream cheese frosting topped, so-sweet-it-makes-you-cringe version that is served in the U.S., I mean the classic Swedish pastry, with a hint of cardamom and just sugary enough. In a country where cinnamon rolls are a staple in every cafe and bakery, and every respectable Swede has made their own batch at least once in their lives, it should come as no surprise that Sweden is in fact the cinnamon roll’s presumed country of origin.

The beauty of the Swedish cinnamon roll is in its versatility. Depending on your mood, you can switch out a few key ingredients for a completely different taste. Cardamom infused filling instead of the standard cinnamon and sugar mix for example (kardemummabullar).

October 4 marks Kanelbullens Dag (Cinnamon Roll Day) – an entire day devoted the the baked good. Since you probably don’t have the chance to sit in a warm Stockholm cafe on a crisp autumn day and order a kanelbulle from the counter, here are a few versions you can make yourself. Just be sure to serve with coffee.

Kanelbullar – Swedish Cinnamon Rolls
Makes about 30-40 buns

dough

2 1/8 cup (500 ml) milk
25g fresh yeast (or 2 envelopes dry active yeast)
2/3 cup (130 g) brown sugar
5 7/8 cups (840 g) flour
2 teaspoons whole cardamom seeds
½ teaspoon salt
5 ¼ oz (150 g) butter (at room temperature)

alternative 1: cinnamon filling
4 ½ oz (about 125 g) butter (at room temperature)
1/3 cup (65 gr) regular sugar
2 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

alternative 2: cardamom filling
4 ½ oz (about 125 g) butter (at room temperature)
1/3 cup (65 gr) brown sugar
4 teaspoons whole cardamoms
(optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

topping

one small egg (whipped together)
pearl sugar or sliced almonds

Prepare the dough: Crumble the yeast (if using dry yeast prepare it as required) in a big bowl. Heat milk until it is warm to the touch, about 100ºF (about 110ºF for dry yeast). Add the milk to the yeast and stir until yeast has dissolved.

Crush the cardamoms in a mortar and pestle.

Mix together flour, sugar, cardamom and salt before adding it to the milk and yeast mixture. Add in the butter in small cubes. Blend well, either by hand or by using a food processor. Knead it well for about 5-10 minutes.

Cover the dough and place in a draft free place and let it rise for at least 40 minutes.

Filling: Mix all ingredients for the filling to an even batter. It is important for the butter to be at room temperature so it’s easier to spread.

Divide the dough into two pieces and using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle), roll each of them out separately to the shape of a rectangle (see diagram above).

Spread half of the filling onto each piece of rolled out dough so that it covers the entire area. Roll the dough up beginning with the long side. Slice the roll into about 20 equal sized (about 1 inch wide) slices and place them with their cut side up on baking sheet. Repeat above procedure with the last piece of dough.

Let them rise for about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and brush all buns and sprinkle pearl sugar or sliced almonds on top.

Bake them in the oven at 225ºC (about 440F) for 8-10 minutes.

Note: You can also fold the dough as shown below which is more common when making the bun with cardamom filling.

This dough recipe was adapted from Mia Örn’s recipe on Kardemummabullar.

More Swedish baked classics

Semlor – cardamom rich bun is filled with almond paste and heavy whipped cream
Pepparkakor – Ginger Bread Cookies (at EcoSalon)
Lussebullar – Saffron Buns
Mazariner – Guest post by Anna Brones

Variations of my recipe: Swedish Cardamom Rolls by Fix Feast Flair