The cinnamon bun’s journey from the chilly Scandinavian peninsulas to the heart of North American cuisine is a tale as rich and twisted as the pastry itself. Originating from Sweden’s cherished fika tradition—a pause for coffee and a treat—these buns are a quintessential comfort, embodying the simplicity and wholesomeness of Swedish baking. With significantly less sugar and fat than their North American descendants, authentic Swedish cinnamon buns are doughy, with a sticky filling of cinnamon and the aromatic cardamom, rather than being coated in heavy frosting.
The transformation began in the 1920s, a time of newfound affluence in Sweden that allowed for the use of once-luxurious ingredients like cinnamon. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the cinnamon bun firmly embedded itself in the fabric of Swedish life. Each bun carries the warmth of a childhood memory, often linked to returning home on a winter’s day to the welcoming scent of cinnamon. This heartfelt tradition even garnered its own celebration with National Cinnamon Bun Day, which started in 1999.
As the bun migrated to North America, it evolved to match the local palate—larger, sweeter, and often adorned with a rich frosting. Yet, regardless of these changes, the cinnamon bun has remained a symbol of comfort and indulgence, a pastry that transcends cultural boundaries, inviting everyone to partake in its sweet, spiced spirals.
In the forthcoming article, we’ll embrace this storied heritage and guide readers through crafting their own no-knead sourdough cinnamon buns, infused with the essence of its Swedish origins and adapted to modern, health-conscious kitchens. We’ll blend tradition with innovation, inviting both the novice baker and the seasoned artisan to explore the warmth of a freshly baked, organically crafted treat.
No-Knead Sourdough Cinnamon Buns Recipe
- 100g active sourdough starter
- 250g organic whole milk, warmed
- 500g organic bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 large organic egg, room temperature
- 50g raw organic cane sugar
- 5g sea salt
- 75g unsalted organic butter, room temperature
- 75g unsalted organic butter, softened
- 220g organic dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
- 100g organic cream cheese, softened
- 50g unsalted organic butter, softened
- 200g organic powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp organic whole milk
- Starter Activation: The night before, feed your sourdough starter so it’s bubbly and active for your dough.
- Dough Formation: Whisk together the active starter and warm milk. Add in the sugar, egg, and mix until well combined. Incorporate the flour and salt to form a shaggy dough. Then, mix in the butter until fully incorporated, ensuring a uniform texture without overworking the dough.
- Bulk Fermentation: Allow the dough to rise at room temperature (around 21°C) for 8-10 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Filling Assembly: Mix the soft butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon into a spreadable paste.
- Shaping: On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle, spread the filling evenly, then roll it up tightly. Slice into 12 pieces.
- Second Rise: Place the buns in a baking dish, cover, and let them rise until puffy (about 1-2 hours).
- Baking: Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) and bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes until golden.
- Frosting Creation: While the buns bake, whip together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and milk until smooth.
- Serving: Once baked, let the buns cool slightly before topping with frosting. Serve warm for the best experience.
Sourdough cinnamon buns aren’t just a twist on tradition; they’re a testament to the patience and craft of fermentation. The tangy complexity of the sourdough pairs perfectly with the sweet and spicy cinnamon filling, offering a more complex flavor profile than the classic bun. Moreover, the long fermentation allows for a deeper development of flavor, a tempting texture, and a more digestible bun, making it a healthier option for indulgence.
Beyond Wheat: An Ode to Diversity in Grains
While wheat flour is traditional, the world of grains is vast and varied. Spelt flour, with its mild nuttiness, can introduce a delicate difference. Rye flour adds a profound depth, ideal for a more robust bun. Buckwheat flour, although gluten-free, can be used in combination with wheat to impart an earthy, rich flavor. These ancient grains not only diversify the taste but also enrich the nutritional profile, making each bun a hearty bite of history.
Embracing Organic: A Commitment to Quality
In crafting these buns, using organic ingredients is not just a choice, it’s a commitment to quality and sustainability. Organic flour comes from grains that have not been treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, ensuring that every bun is free from unwanted chemicals. Organic sugar and dairy products come from farms that prioritize animal welfare and ecological balance, enhancing the richness of the rolls with the goodness of nature.
The Joy of Baking: A Conclusion
Baking no-knead sourdough cinnamon buns is more than following a recipe; it’s embracing an art form. It’s a process that demands patience, from nurturing the starter to waiting for the dough to rise, and rewards with a treat that’s both comforting and complex. As these buns bake, filling the air with the sweet scent of cinnamon and the tangy aroma of sourdough, one can’t help but feel a connection to the bakers of yore, to the land that provides for us, and to the community here at The Sourdough People!