There is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked buns and I am sure most of the Finns would agree with me. There are many variations of pulla (Finnish word for a bun) but I would say the cinnamon buns, korvapuusti, are the most popular and definitely our family favourite.
There is even a day on our calendar to celebrate the cinnamon bun. It falls on the 4th of October each year and is called Cinnamon Roll Day aka Korvapuustipäivä. There aren’t many things that beat a good cup of coffee and a freshly baked bun!
Cinnamon buns are filled with butter, sugar and cinnamon and made into these funny “ear” shapes, which make them look in my opinion prettier than the average cinnamon buns we normally see in the other Scandinavian countries.
Making buns does require little time, patience and even arm strength unless you have a kitchen aid that will do all the work for you. But it is so worth it, I promise! This recipe makes about 20 buns and they barely last until next day in our family.
About the flour .. it is difficult to give the exact amount here. Flours vary and the way they work. I like keeping my dough as soft as possible and try using as little flour as possible. Read the NOTES on the recipe. Good luck and let me know how you did!
Finnish Cinnamon Buns
- 500 ml milk
- 50 g fresh yeast or 2 sachets dried (22 g)
- 125 g caster sugar (150 ml)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cardamom
- 150 g butter or margarine
- 800-900 g plain flour (1250 -1400 ml)
- 80 g butter or margarine
- caster sugar
- ground cinnamon
- 1 egg for brushing
Making of the dough
- Measure the butter for the filling, put it on a small plate or bowl and leave it to soften in room temperature.
- Warm the milk in a pot up to 37 degrees C if using fresh yeast and 42 degrees C if using dried.
- Pour the milk into a large bowl and mix the yeast in until dissolved. Hand whisk works well here unless you are using a kitchen aid.
- In the same pot melt the butter and let it cool.
- Add sugar, salt and cardamom into the milk-yeast mixture and mix until salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Start adding the flour. You can easily add at least the half of the flour while you are still using the hand whisk. Once the dough starts thickening you can use a wooden spatula or something similar before getting your hands in.
- Keep adding the flour gradually and start kneading it with your hand. Add the melted butter (must not be hot, it will kill the yeast) towards the end and keep kneading until the butter has mixed in and the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. You can add some more flour if the dough is very sticky.
- NOTE: The softer you are able to leave the dough the softer your buns will be. So, here lies the tricky part. Too much flour makes the dough and buns dry and too little flour makes it difficult to work with it. So, the dough should definitely be workable, in other words not stick to your hands too much but then at the same time not too hard. I am sure you will get what I mean and you can work out the right consistency once you have your hands in it!
- Once you have your 'dough ball' ready, sprinkle little flour on top of it and cover the bowl with a cloth. Let the dough rise, covered with a cloth, in a warm draft-free place until it doubles in size (30-60 minutes).
Making of the buns
- Once the dough has doubled in size, pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead until all the air bubbles are gone. I don't have much surface space in my kitchen, so I normally just fold the dough a few times while it is still in the bowl.
- Take one half of the dough and place it on a floured surface. With the help of flour and a rolling pin roll the dough so it forms a 5 mm thick rectangle. Spread soft butter evenly all over, then sprinkle generously sugar and cinnamon on top.
- Start rolling from one of the longer sides and roll the dough into a tight roll. Make sure the roll stays closed. You can also roll the dough roll against the table surface to make it more even and longer if it seems to be thicker in the middle.
- Cut the dough roll into triangles, see the image.
- Place each triangle on the table so that the tip of the triangle points up.
- Using your thumbs press the tip all the way down so that you can actually feel the table under your thumbs.
- Place all the buns on a baking tray, which is covered with a baking parchment, and cover with a cloth and leave to rise for 15 minutes or so.
- Break the egg in a glass or small bowl with a fork and mix well. Brush the buns with the egg just before baking. The egg gives them a nice glossy surface.
- Bake at 225 degrees °C for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.