I’m a fan of simple – that works. And when I say works, I don’t mean good-enough, I mean really-does-the-job. I mean something that impress me, something that has an impact one way or another. When this impact is achieved with fairly simple means – I get really exited. To me, that is perfection. In a good way.
My sweet rolls recipe is pretty simple. It is quite possible to make it a lot more advanced than I do. But when simple works, I’m not looking for reasons to change it.
Although this simple-that-works recipe is, like many other simple-that-works items in life, a really good base for a whole range of different expressions. You can make cinnamon buns, different kinds of sweetbread, vanilla cream rolls or any type of personal twist of the outcome by adding the desired ingredients, molding the may you like and decorating with whatever desired.
But I like making simply sweet rolls.
This recipe is from my mother. I make them almost exactly how I watched her making them throughout the years. I remember how she would bring out the bowl on impulse and “throw together” a sweet roll dough when she heard that somebody were planning to drop by later. She sliced a piece of butter and put it into the pan, poured the milk, filled the bowl with flour, dry yeast, sugar, cardamom, raisins and salt and mixed the liquid into the dry stuff once heated. She didn’t really knead for a long time, the dough would rise anyhow. And they tasted delicious.
But I knead. If you like baking bread you easily develop a habit of kneading.
1/2 cup, or 1 stick butter (100g)
2 cups (5 dl) milk
1-2 1/4 tsp yeast
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
1 tsp salt
a couple of handfuls of raisins
10-12 cups of all purpose flour or white bread flour (roughly estimated)
- Put the butter in a saucepan and melt on medium heat
- Pour the milk slowly into the heated butter to prevent butter from lumping
- Prepare the yeast (if you’re using active dry yeast. Regular dry yeast can be mixed with the dry ingredients)
- In a bowl, mix some of the flour, sugar, cardamom, vanilla (if dry, you’re using extract you can mix it with the milk and butter) and salt
- When the liquid is warm (about 104 F), pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix. Keep adding flour until the dough is smooth, lets go of the bowl and easy to work with. But avoid adding too much flour, though. If you’re using less yeast, knead well. If you’re using a full pack of yeast, you can get away with less kneading. But kneading is never wrong, brings out the flavor and gives the yeast a boost.
- Add the raisins and knead until they are properly spread within the dough.
- Cover the dough with plastic or a kitchen towel and leave to rise until double size. With a full pack of yeast, probably about 1 hour (less yeast requires longer time)
- When the dough is ready, bring it out on the counter and knead again, adding more flour if needed. Split the dough into two, and continue working with one half. Roll it into a long string or sausage, slice it up into about 12 similar sized pieces. Do the same with the other half.
- Shape each one to round buns and put on a pre greased tray (my mother used a thin layer of flour instead of butter, but I prefer greasing with butter).
- Cover the tray with a kitchen towel and leave to after-rise for 20-30 min, then bake on 395 F (convection oven, regular oven 430 F) for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool down on a rack. Oh, and I tend to forget – brush them lightly with milk before you bake them to give a nice semi matte surface. Many recipes say to brush them with egg, which will make the surface shiny. It is a personal preference – I like to keep them fairly matte.
They are at their very best still luke warm from the oven. You can put them in the freezer as soon as they are cold. Thine them on the counter before heating for 3-4 minutes on 350 F and they will taste almost fresh.
I'm Currently living in Florida, USA, but I'm Norwegian born and bred. At the moment I enjoy baking bread and blogging about it. I enjoy blogging in general, because I like writing. But I'm trained as an illustrator, originally ... in England. One day I'll write a book. About bread. And illustrate it myself. Maybe. Life will see.