My daughter called yesterday to tell me she used a packaged recipe from IKEA to make sweet rolls and was disappointed with the results; they were not as good as the ones she grew up with (naturally. I made them and learned how with my Mormor, straight from Goteborg and a master in bakery items) and wanted my recipe. Well why not spread the wealth in all cardinal directions?
2 Tbls + 2 tsp FRESH yeast. Look if you don't get that part of the recipe right, don't bother to continue
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) butter (I use unsalted)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg at room temp.
2 tsp ground cardamon. Really.
6 1/2 + white plain flour
Warm the milk til it bubbles along the edge of a medium sized pot and then add the butter, salt, sugar and cardamon. Remove from heat (you don't want it to boil or get super hot)
While that stays warm, run water til it is fairly hot on your fingers (NOT SCALDING HOT: that will KILL the yeast) and to 1/2 cup of this temperature water, add the 1 tsp sugar and the yeast. Stir til the yeast dissolves. It should start to foam and get progressively frothy. Don't let it overflow the container! Keep an eye on it.
IF IT DOESN'T foam, your yeast is old. Scrap it and start over.
Pour the warm milk into your mix-master using the Hook or if you are gonna do the old way, leave it in the pot and start adding the flour using a large wooden spoon (the wimpy ones will break. don't say I didn't warn you)(great! now you've got splinters in the dough!), little at a time til you've put in about 2 cups and keep stirring, beating. Now add the yeast, all of it and continue mixing and add that room temp egg! as you add all the rest of the flour. Wow, what a pretty color it becomes!
You will notice I added a plus sign up there with the flour requirements. That is because it usually takes MORE flour than 6 1/2 cups worth. But I never know HOW much. You will know when you have added enough when:
Mixer: the flour is flapping around the hook, whapping against the bowl and there is no sticky residue on the bowl itself. If you press a floured thumb to the mass, it should spring back. If it feels sticky, you need alittle more flour. If it feels hard, you used too much. Don't go there.
Kneading by Hand: The dough should feel very elastic and smooth and no lumps, no stickiness at all. It should be killing your arm muscles either. If you are exhausted, you probably have too much flour worked in. Again, don't go there.
Now, cover the ball of dough in a bowl (don't need to oil the bowl. Don't know where that idea ever came from) and let it rest til the dough has doubled in bulk. THEN:
Punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times and divide into 3 equal portions. Roll each piece out to a rectangle and spread softened butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the butter spread, Roll up and pinch the seam closed and slice the log into 1/2" "snails" and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper (no need to butter the baking sheet with these beauties) leaving plenty of room for the snails to expand, which they will! Cover the snails with cloth to rest again (approximately 20-30 minutes, you'll see them swelling up) and continue in the same fashion with the last two portions.
OR.... roll them into three long snakes and braid them together, turning under the ends. If you do THIS you don't add the butter, cinnamon and sugar. Obviously. Let the braid rest covered with a cloth to retain the warmth for 30 minutes or so.
Then brush with a beaten egg yolk with 1 Tbls of milk added to thin it and sprinkle with pearl sugar if desired. That is not necessary really but it looks like snow when it's been baked.
Now bake at 400 for about 10-12 minutes but keep a close eye on things. Bake the braid longer...... it's bigger!
All ovens are different and I would hate to think I made you burn your first batch by telling you to bake them too long. You know they are ready when the tops are lightly browned. LIGHTLY. Don't forget, the bottom is browning too, and you really don't want that part to burn!
Here's another thing: In Sweden, this recipe is the same for Lucia katter which are made for the St. Lucia festival except you would add saffron instead of cardamon as the spice. It make the dough even more yellow.
OK, my other daughter gave me a box of that Swedish Coffee Rolls from IKEA last October so I thought, why not make some and show what I mean by pearl sugar and snails
Here you see the snails after they have risen, brushed with the yolk and sprinkled with the sugar, ready to bake. They didn't rise NEARLY what they will when you use the recipe above. Big Difference, so leave that much room between the rolls, they'll need it.
Now here is another shape you can make:
Pretty, huh? Better than a braid because you can FILL IT!!!!
Roll the dough out, spread the butter, cinnamon and sugar, roll it up again and lay it on the baking paper:
Now with a pair of kitchen scissors, snip on a slant ALMOST thru the roll and repeat every half an inch or so. til you reach an inch from the other end. Pull the first segment backwards slightly and "open it" as it were, then follow with each segment, laying on to the left side and the other to right, back and forth. Cover and let rest and rise. Then continue with the yolk wash and bake.