I sometimes despair at the dearth of bakeries in London. It's not that they don't exist - the Nordic Bakery, Baker & Spice, Ottolenghi, Konditor & Cook, and Peyton & Byrne all spring to mind. But they're expensive and I object to spending £3.50 on something I can make for 35p. Instead of having a bakery on practically every street corner, European style, Londoners really have to look for their fresh bread, cakes and pastries. Which is why I bake rather then spend half my life hunting down baked goodies. The ubiquitous cinnamon roll, tasty though it is, has been done to death, so I've opted for a bun swirled with fragrant cardamom: make these rolls, serve them at brunch or afternoon tea and your friends will never abandon you
- 300g plain flour
- 300g strong white flour
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 300-400ml whole milk
- 1 medium egg
- 20g fresh yeast/ca.10g fast-action bread yeast
- 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom (much more aromatic than store-bought ground stuff)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 75g softened butter (take the butter out of fridge 1 hour before)
- 35-50g golden caster sugar/light brown soft sugar (the latter gives a toffee-ish flavour)
- 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
- 1 medium egg for glazing
Scald the milk, remove from the heat and pour into a jug/container with the butter to allow the butter to melt.
Sift the flour, salt, dried yeast (if using fresh, put this in a small bowl, add the sugar and stir - the fresh yeast will foam slightly if it's active), sugar and cardamom. Blend with a large spoon to distribute the ingredients. Add the fresh yeast if using
Beat the egg and add to the slightly cooled milk. Make sure the milk is no hotter than 37ºC(if you don't have a thermometer, this is blood temperature, or the temperature at which you can comfortably put your finger in for a minute - ie. not boiling hot!) when you add it to the yeast and flour mixture as this is the optimum temperature for yeast to thrive - above 50ºC and the yeast dies
Bring the dough together, knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until the dough feels smooth and springs back when poked
Place the dough in a lightly oiled large clear plastic bag and allow to rise for 45mins to 1 hour (you can also leave it overnight in the fridge)
Using a spatula, blend the filling ingredients until smooth and set aside. Take the dough out of the oiled bag and gently knock back for 30 seconds - keep the plastic bag for covering the dough during proving - then roll the dough into a rectangle, ca. 30cm x 45cm and start spreading the cardamom filling evenly across the surface. When you've finished this, roll up the rectangle and slice 2.5cm/1 inch thick pieces, place these on a lightly oiled baking tray or a tray with some baking parchment across.
Prove the rolls, covered with the oiled plastic bag from earlier, for a further 30-45 minutes until they've doubled in size. Start pre-heating the oven to 220ºC after 20-25 minutes. Check after 30 minutes that the rolls stop springing back - poke the underside of one roll and if your finger leaves an indentation they've stopped proving. Once this happens, they're ready for baking, so beat the spare egg for glazing, and using a pastry brush to glaze the rolls. Bake on top shelf for 8-10 minutes, they should feel light, sound hollow and be a luscious golden colour. If you really want to gild the lily, sprinkle some caster sugar or light brown sugar on the surface of the rolls 2-3 mins before they finish baking...
Serve whilst warm with a cup of tea. Or freeze for future use... but I know which I would do