Rye #6 – Sticky Cinnamon Buns

Despite the ability to post on rye recipes probably for ever, this will be the last recipe in the series for now! To be honest, this one is the guilty pleasure of the series and really I am posting it to show that you can adapt any recipe and add rye, without killing the flavour.

I adore cinnamon rolls. They are very much part of the Danish culture and my preferred pick from the Bakers on a Sunday morning (when in Denmark!) They go hand in hand with celebrations, treats, coffee…. any excuse to indulge slightly.

The classic ones are very buttery, puff pastry like, with a lot of cinnamon and usually icing sugar on top. These are not what I would call classic Danish cinnamon rolls, in fact, when I presented them to the children they sort of wrinkled their noses a bit – even if young they know their cinnamon rolls! However, within the first bit there was silence….and with the last bite…finger licking. Always signs of a good snack! I adapted my normal recipe – here – quite substantially.

Hope you enjoy – have to admit – despite the rye flour addition, these are still what I would classify as a naughty food! 🙂 Crunchy on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside!

PS – Apologies – the pictures did not turn out well, bad day for photography, thank goodness the flavours did!

Dough

300ml lukewarm milk
100g melted butter
80g caster sugar
20g fresh yeast – (or 3/4 tsp dried yeast)
1 tsp ground cardamom – if you cannot find, crush cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar
1 egg
300g plain flour 
250g rye flour
 

Filling

75g soft butter
120g light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
 

Glaze

100 ml water
85g caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
 
  •  To make the dough, lightly warm the milk and butter in a saucepan
  • Once the butter has melted, pour the liquid into a bowl and let cool to finger warm
  • Add the sugar, yeast, cinnamon and egg and whisk to combine, ensuring the yeast dissolves
  • While stiring, slowly add the flours until you have a dough ball that may still be slightly sticky. Transfer this to a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel – let rise for about an hour in a warm place. If your house is cold – a good trick is to turn your oven on 20-30C and leave the bowl in there, with the door slightly ajar. This works really well so long as you do not let it get any warmer than that!
  • While the dough is proving, combine butter, sugar and cinnamon to create the filling – yum! This is so tasty! In the pictures the filling looks grainy; my butter was too cold. Warmer butter will create a soft spread which is easier to work with. The end result is the same though so don’t worry either way.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead a few times on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough to a rectangular shape, leaving it a good 5mm thick.
  • With a spatula or big spoon, spread the filling onto the dough ensuring all is covered
  • Roll the rectangle dough up from the long end, until a sausage is formed!
  • Cut the rolls – in a triangle if you want as I did or simply thick slices are also fine. You want to cut them quite thick as this creates a more impressive finished product! 5cm probably. If you cut a triangle, stand on lined baking sheet. If slices, lie them down.
  • Leave on the lined baking sheets for about an hour to rise – covered with a tea towel
  • Pre-heat oven to 200C and bake the buns until golden – 20-25 minutes
  • While the buns bake make your glaze – add all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 15 minutes – it will still be watery but slightly thicker than when you started. If you want a thick glaze, let cook for longer and just check as you go – and stop cooking when it reaches the consistency you like
  • Remove the buns from the oven, place on a wire rack – lay something underneath as it gets messy – and drizzle the glaze over them. Use it all…go large!
  • Enjoy….

Dough will be slightly sticky 

Very tasty dough….

Dough will double in size once left in a warm place

Roll and fill

 Place on baking tray and leave in a warm place to rise again

The dough puffs up and the buns sink slightly

Sticky, warm and irresistible!

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Rye #1 – Rugbrød (Sourdough Rye Bread)

The New Year is here and the children’s mood swings as well as scales are a gentle (or not so gentle!) reminder that December’s sweet and indulgent time must come to an end…at least for a little while. So, with this in mind I am, over the next few weeks, in the name of health, going to share with you a series of rye flour recipes that I love and make often.

Being Danish, Rye is very much part of my every day life and I am a passionate advocate of it! I rarely eat any bread that does not contain it and try to incorporate it into cakes and pastries also. Most of the time the children do not even know they are eating it.

So what is rye and why bother? Rye is a cereal grain, known scientifically as Secale cereale, which looks like wheat but is longer and more slender. It is one of the most recently domesticated cereal crops. Unlike some other cereal grains that can be traced back to prehistoric times, rye was not cultivated until around 400 B.C. It was first grown in this manner in Germany. Rye is thought to have originated from a wild species that grew as weeds among wheat and barley fields.

Unfortunately, ever since the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans, this nutrient-rich grain has not been widely enjoyed. In many countries, rye seems to have been relegated to the back of the shelves – maybe out of sight out of mind? Luckily for me, in some food cultures, including my Danish one, rye is still widely used and retains an important position. Especially in Denmark, rye bread (rugbrød) holds an especially esteemed position – hence the recipe I will be posting today!

  • Rye contains high levels of proteins and fibre. It contains good amounts of iron, calcium and zinc and a whole slew of B and E vitamins
  • Rye contains a lot of soluble fibre which slows down the release of carbohydrates and sugars, so that you feel satisfied for longer after eating it compared to wheat bread – thus beneficial in controlling body weight
  • Being overweight and lacking exercise can lead to type 2 diabetes. Whole grain food, including rye bread, consumption is significantly associated with reduced risk of diabetes due to the fact that rye bread generates a lower insulin response than wheat bread does
  • Rye bread and other rye-products can improve bowel function and prevent constipation as well as colon cancer
  • If you think of carbon footprint then rye is a good way to eat as it is easier to grow than wheat in many climates and therefore requires fewer inputs
  • It tastes great!
  • In summary – by eating rye and other fibre rich produce you can lower cholesterol, reduce risk of heart disease, constipation, hemorrhoids, colon cancer, high blood sugar, diabetes and obesity as well as being good to the environment! Nice list isn’t it?!?

(For more information please see  www.ryenadhealth.orghttp://www.whfoods.com, http://www.greenfootsteps.com/rye-flour.html, http://commonsensehealth.com/Diet-and-Nutrition/High_Fiber_Food_Chart.shtml).

Rye flour is the key ingredient in this traditional Danish sourdough rye bread I am about to share with you! Be excited! My father is the one who inspired me on this one – he is THE rye bread maker at home!

A final few words before we get on with it though. Bread made with rye flour is more compact and dense than normal wheat bread as its gluten is less elastic than wheat’s. Therefore, do not expect a light, fluffy bread! However, as rye flour is less processed than wheat it retains a large quantity of nutrients. What I am trying to say is – it may be heavy but it’s good for you!

Sourdough Starter

100ml buttermilk
100ml water
55g rye flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp runny honey
 

Traditional Rye Bread from Sourdough starter

400g rye flour
100g strong white flour
250g seeds – rye, sunflower, pumpkin – any you like! Add nuts too – walnuts are lovely.
About 500 ml luke warm water
1 tsp salt
Sourdough stater (made from recipe above)

Sourdough Starter

The hardest part of making sourdough rye bread is getting the sourdough starter going. The first time you make the bread it will probably not turn out well. This is because it takes the wild yeast you are creating time to become strong. Do not let this discourage you! I had to throw away my first two loaves when I started…now however I have the most gorgeous rye bread that I, and my family, eat all the time.

Add all the sourdough starter ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine – it will look something like the above! The reason you are adding salt and sugar is that you essentially are “feeding” the mixture!

Once combined, leave it covered in a warm place for 24 hours – give it a stir and leave for another 24 hours. Have a look at it. It should start to smell sour and bubble slightly. Place in the fridge for 3 days. After this time it is ready for use but remember, the first few times you use it the bread may not turn out as well as you expect.

Traditional Rye Bread from Sourdough starter

DAY 1

Get a large mixing bowl and pour in 450ml luke warm water as well as the sourdough starter. Mix well.

Add both types of flour to the mixture and stir until it has the consistency of a really thick bowl of porridge! Add more water if necessary. It must not be runny though so if you add too much water stir in a bit more rye flour. You will end up with something that looks like the image here – not pretty I know!

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rest for at least 12 hours – I usually leave it over night. Do not fill the dough more than 2/3 of the way as it will rise.

Day 2

Once risen, your dough should look like the above image! It will be spongy when you touch it.

Add the seeds or nuts/rye – my seed mixture (cracked rye and wheat and others) needs to be soaked in boiling water for a few minutes before being added, as below, but if you just use nuts and seeds you can add them as they are.

Give the mixture a good stir and add 1tsp of salt – you can add more or less salt if you wish – taste it and see what you think. The dough should feel soft to stir but not be watery. If it is too hard you may add a little bit of luke warm water – not more than 30dl though – which probably is equivalent to a few tablespoons. If you make it too watery the bread will come out sticky.

Once you are happy with the consistency of your batter, take a good couple of spoonfulls out of the bowl and put in a glass – as below. This will be the sourdough starter for your next bread!

Put a few tsp sea salt on top of the sourdough and close the jar with a lid. Again, only fill the jar about 2/3 of the way as it will rise. Place it in the fridge until you need it! Leave at least 3 days before you use it though as the wild yeast needs time to develop.

The image below shows how the sourdough ferments after a few days – notice the air bubbles – this is how you know it is a good sourdough. It took me 3 loaves of bread, and sourdough, before mine was really good.

Take your batter and pour into a greased bread tin – you will need a rather large, rectangular one or two smaller ones. I often make mini loaves for the children – they are really sweet! You could use silicone cupcake cases for this if you do not have actual miniature tins.

Once in the greased tin, let the dough rise for two hours under a tea towel before you place it in the warm oven.

The bread will need 1.5 hours at 100C. After this time, turn the oven up to 200C and give it another 1 hour – if you feel it is going too dark simply place some aluminium foil over the top.

When the 2.5 hours are up – turn it out of the tin and listen to it “talking” to you! Don’t laugh…it really does! You know that the bread is good if it crackles and hisses when you listen to the bottom of it.

The smell in your kitchen will be phenomenal at this point and you will, no doubt, be tempted to slice it open, butter it and eat it all! DON’T! As with any fresh bread, it needs time to sit and collect itself before you slice it.

Wrap a damp tea towel around it and put it back in the oven, now turned off but still warm, with its top down. Let it stay in there like this until the oven is cold, then transfer to a plastic ziplock bag – to retain the moisture in the bread – and place in the fridge. It will be ready for you to eat the next morning – or a good half day after being put in the fridge.

I know it sounds awfully complicated and labour filled – the first time you make it, it is! But once you get into the rhythm it takes no time at all and you fit it into your day.

Stunning fresh rye bread!

These are some ways I LOVE to eat mine. I always toast it on high to make it nice and crisp and then…

 Pan fried cod roe with lemon…heaven!

Avocado, pepper and sea salt…a fibre health bomb of deliciousness! 

The children’s favourite…cheddar and jam! 

My, sometimes, mid-morning snack! Cheddar and orange/elderflower marmelade…doesn’t get much better! 

So there you have it – Danish Rugbrød! Very much a part of my food culture and filled with goodness. Serve it for breakfast with cheese – fibre and calcium covered! For lunch with pate and cucumber, cheese and a slice of red pepper (vitamin C), hummus and ham (protein)…so many options! For dinner it is great served with an omelette…

It freezes well so make a double portion and freeze one loaf – pre-sliced maybe – then all you have to do is pop a few slices in the toaster and you are off to a great meal or snack!

Great use of my pasta machine – Vanilla Biscuits!

About five years ago I bought a pasta making machine. It was bought with much anticipation, not least that of my husband, of great homemade pasta dishes. The truth is, I brought it home and put it in a cupboard and well…it has been in that cupboard, unwrapped, for five years!

You may wonder what it has to do with Danish Vanilla Christmas biscuits…a lot actually! About two weeks ago I made pasta for the first time using the machine! It was disastrous, hilarious and absolutely divine all at once! That story is for another blog though! The exciting bit is, for me at least, that while making pasta I realised this machine could be used to make these gorgeous, probably my favourite, Christmas cookies! Vanille kranse – or Vanilla Wreaths directly translated.

It worked a treat and here are the results! YUM!

 

The recipe is, once more, a family one! Passed on to me and gratefully received! It is the fresh vanilla and chopped almonds that make the difference! The flavour is beautiful with the biscuits melting in your mouth, but being crisp at the same time… You must make (and eat) them to understand!

500g plain flour
375g butter
250g sugar
1 egg – stirred
165g chopped almonds
Seeds from two vanilla pods (slice the pods open and scrape out the seeds – see picture below if you have never done before!)
 
  • Put flour and butter in a bowl and chop into the butter with a knife until the mixture resembles bread crumbs
  • All other ingredients go in – remember to give the egg a quick stir with a fork before adding it
  • Knead it until it comes together – it is quite a soft dough due to all the butter (never claimed this was a healthy recipe!)
  • Leave in the fridge for a few hours to cool
  • Using a mince maker machine – or in my case a pasta machine with rigatoni shape attached! – make finger long sausages and bring them together to make a circle – hard to explain – see pics!
  • Bake in a 200C oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown

Some layers with your, blue?!, cake…

This kind of cake is what you get when it is your birthday in Denmark (except for the colour which is what you get when you have a slightly mad 4 year old boy)! There is rarely a shop bought cake in sight, no fondant icing, no silly shapes and figurines…just good, old cake! Lots of layers, lots of whipped or vanilla cream and usually lots of fruit. It is very simple but I can tell you; it takes your breath away (mine at least). I will never get too old for this kind of cake and my husband, a die-hard chocolate cake fan, has even been converted! There are lots of reasons why – it is light, sweet, fresh, soft…just gorgeous!

The recipe, passed on to me by my sister-in-law (who, by the way, makes it to perfection!) is used to create the three layers for the cake. Once the basic dough is made and cooked you can fill and decorate as you wish – as you can see from the pictures my children often pick the colour of their icing as well as what fruit goes into it!

Make the layers and cake the day before you want to serve/eat it and refrigerate, but do not ice/chocolate coat it. This allows the flavours to develop and more importantly the sponge layers to get the moisture from the fruit and cream. On the day of serving, ice or chocolate coat it.

5 eggs – separated
210g caster sugar
150g flour – sieved
1 tsp baking powder
 
  • Preheat your oven to 180C
  • Separate your egg whites and egg yolks

  • Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff – turn bowl upside down to make sure they are ready!!!! The best test…really. Promise.

  • Add the sugar to the stiff egg whites, a little at a time. Watch the white colour change from matt to silky smooth – so beautiful. Wish I could jump into it….velvet!

  • Once completely mixed, add the egg yolks to the white mix – another beautiful change of colour as you slowly add the yellow…

  • Put flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and combine well. Sieve this mixture into the egg batter and carefully fold into the mix with a spatula.
  • You should now have a creamy, thick (and incredibly tasty!) dough.
  • Pour the dough into a lined round cake tin.

  • Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes – it will be light brown in colour and spongy to the touch. With this I mean that if you gently press the top of the cake, your finger should feel a spring back rather than a sinking in feeling….Hope that makes sense!
  • Once cooked, let cool in the tin on a wire rack.

  • When completely cold, with a sharp and long knife, cut three layers. This can be a bit tricky but if you do it slowly you should be OK. It is fine if there is a small hole here or there – believe me, once filled, no one will know (or care)!

Now for the filling! You can, literally, combine any fruit, jam, whipped cream and berry you like…It just works…Here are my favourites:

  • Whip whipping cream with vanilla essence and a tbsp sugar until creamy. Add raspberries (or strawberries) and whip a bit more to make pink cream! Like you would lasagne, place a layer of cake on the bottom, then a layer of raspberry cream, then another layer of cake, then the raspberry cream and then, on top, melted dark chocolate… (place pieces of chocolate in heatproof bowl with a few tbsp of whipped cream, over simmering water, slowly stir till melted. Scoop onto cake’s top layer and gently spread to cover…let ooze over the sides! Let chocolate set and then refrigerate until ready to serve (I have decorated with candied lemon peel here).

  • Spread strawberry jam onto the bottom layer and top with crushed macaroons. Put whipped cream (whipped with vanilla essence and a tbsp sugar until creamy) on top and place a second cake layer onto this. Add whipped cream and fresh strawberries onto this layer and place final cake on top. Thinly coat the top with the whipped cream and cover in fresh berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries…you name it! Beautiful and so tasty! (Don’t forget to lick the spoons!)

  • A very delicate version is to add a bit of instant coffee powder to the whipped cream mixture and spread this onto every layer. For the topping, add instant coffee powder to icing sugar and a little water and make a thin coffee paste that you then spread on the surface. Absolutely divine!
  • A layer of pineapple and whipped cream followed by a layer of strawberries and whipped cream – with the topping being icing sugar, water and food colouring of your choice! Banana also works well as a layer.

If you are not a whipped cream fan you can make this gorgeous vanilla cream – also often used in Denmark – and use instead. Simply layer it with the fruit as above.

Vanilla Cream

1 egg
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp flour
200 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla sugar (can be bought in Waitrose or make your own by adding the inside of a vanilla pod to some caster sugar)
 
  • Whip egg and sugar until fluffy and light
  • Pour into a sauce pan and whisk in the flour
  • Add the milk to the saucepan and heat it all slowly. Stir constantly while it is heating – and low heat – we don’t want scrambled eggs!
  • Bring it to the boil and once boiling add the vanilla sugar
  • It is now ready! Let it cool and use as mentioned above. It is also very tasty to put a combination of this cream and whipped cream into the layers.