It’s fair to say we’re a little bit obsessed with all things Scandi. Not only has the region had a huge influence on our homes and fashion (Ikea and Acne, we’re looking at you), now it’s impacting on our kitchens, too. The fashion pack have been going mad for the cinnamon buns at Swedish bakery Fabrique in Shoreditch while Rök Smokehouse, London’s first Nordic smokehouse, has been getting rave reviews for its modern take on smoked meats and pickles. Perfect for an evening hunkered down on the sofa, we’ve picked two classic Nordic bakes to recreate at home: a caraway loaf calling out for some cream cheese, smoked salmon and dill, and a show-stopping cinnamon bun wreath to finish. Here begins the Great Scandi Bake-Off.
Cinnamon wreath with rye
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (serves 10-12)
For the dough:
- 300ml whole milk
- 13g dried yeast
- 80g butter, melted
- 50g sugar
- 2 tsps ground cardamom
- 375g white strong flour
- 80g rye flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 beaten egg
For the filling:
- 100g butter (softened)
- 3 tsps ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 125g dark brown sugar
- 25g caster sugar
- 70g chopped toasted nuts, eg almonds and hazelnuts
For the topping:
- 1/2 beaten egg mixed with a dash of milk
- 3 tbsps golden syrup
- Icing sugar and warm water
- Piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle
Step 1: Heat the milk to 36–37°C and pour into a bowl. Sprinkle in the yeast granules and whisk together. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes to activate.
Step 2: Add the melted butter, sugar and cardamom and stir again. Add 250g strong flour and all the rye flour, salt and egg. Mix until incorporated. Work the dough until it has just reached the point of not being sticky and has a shiny surface – about 5 minutes with a mixer using a dough hook, or 10 minutes by hand. Leave to rise until doubled (around 40 minutes).
Step 3: For the filling, put the butter, cinnamon, cardamom and sugars into a bowl and mix well.
Step 4: Tip the dough out on a floured surface and work it with your hands, adding more flour, until you have a good, mouldable dough that does not stick and can be rolled out. Cut the dough in half and roll each piece in a rectangular shape (around 50x40cm). Spread the butter mixture evenly across the dough. Add three-quarters of the chopped nuts. Roll the dough up lengthways so you end up with a long, tight roll. Place on a baking sheet and shape into a round circle, attaching the ends. Using scissors, cut slices almost to the base. Spread each roll out to the side and flatten slightly until you have done the whole wreath. Ensure it’s quite flat and let it rest for 30 minutes under a clean tea towel. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
Step 5: Brush the wreath with the remaining egg/milk and bake for 20–25 minutes.
Step 6: Warm three tbsps of golden syrup with six tbsps of water in a pan. Brush onto the wreath, sprinkle over the rest of the nuts then cool under a damp tea towel. Once cool, make the icing using a little bit of icing sugar and a few drops of warm water and pipe on top.
Mormor’s caraway loaf
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)
- 100ml finger-warm water (36–37°C)
- 13g dried yeast
- 250ml buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsps caraway seeds, plus extra for topping
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 300g wholegrain spelt flour
- 150–200g white strong flour
- 1 beaten egg, for brushing
- 1.8kg loaf tin, greased and lined with baking parchment
Step 1: Pour the finger-warm water into a bowl, sprinkle on the yeast and whisk together. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to activate. It should become frothy and bubbly.
Step 2: Pour the yeast mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the buttermilk and sugar, followed by the salt. Add the caraway and fennel seeds then place the mixture in a food mixer with a dough hook attached, and start adding the spelt flour bit by bit while mixing on a low setting. Once it’s all kneaded in, start adding the strong flour. You might not need all of it (or you may need more) – this depends on the strength of your flour. Knead on low speed for around 7–8 minutes. It should be elastic and firm, but not dry.
Step 3: Place the dough in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for at least 30 minutes (it will approximately double in size). Turn out onto a table dusted with flour, knead the dough and shape into your desired loaf.
Step 4: Place the dough in the loaf tin. Score the dough 4–5 times along the top and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
Step 5: Brush the top of the loaf with egg and add a scattering of caraway seeds to the top. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until well risen and golden brown in colour.