I have two go-to bun recipes – this is the easiest of the two. Adapted and scaled from my favourite Norwegian bakery – Godt Brød (lit. Good Bread), this is easy to put together and is a nice and small recipe – perfect for when you don’t want to fill the freezer.
The dough can easily be made vegan by replacing the butter with a neutral oil.
100 ml water
80g light brown sugar
85g salted butter
250ml water – lukewarm
25g fresh yeast
10g freshly podded and ground cardamom (if you are feeling lazy you can use the ready ground stuff, but I recommend trying the fresh – it makes such a difference!)
450g white spelt flour (or 500g wheat flour)
Place the oats in a wide bowl. Boil the kettle and pour 100 ml water over. Leave to cool. In another bowl, dissolve the fresh yeast in 250ml lukewarm water. Measure and cube the butter – leave on the side for now.
In a big baking bowl, stir together sugar, most of the flour, cardamom and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and water mixture and the cooled oats and water. With a spoon or just your hands, mix until a dough has formed. Add the butter and knead this in. Knead until you have a smooth dough that does not stick.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave until doubled in size. Either on the kitchen top for 1-2 hours or overnight in the fridge which is what I like doing.
When ready to bake, make the filling.
100g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp water
Melt the butter, then add the other ingredients. Stir well until you have a uniform paste.
On a well floured surface, lightly knead your dough, then pat and roll out to a rectangle with a rolling pin. Aim for about 1cm thickness – try to get it as even as possible. Turn the rectangle so you have the shorter side towards you. With a spoon or spatula, spread the filling over half the dough Make sure to go all the way to the edge.
Fold the other part of the dough over, then go over with a rolling pin again to even it out and make sure the two sides sit together.
With your sharpest knife, cut down the middle, then down the middle of each half again. Repeat until you have 16 equal lengths. Twist each by holding one end flat and rolling the other up with your hand (try youtube for an instruction video if it is tricky!). Lift it up, and make into a knot.
I do it like this:
Hold the dough vertically between your hands. With your top hand, swirl the dough around itself, then tuck the last bit underneath. Place in little paper cases on a baking tray.
Cover the tray with a tea towel and leave to rise again – 30-40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan. When the bun have grown a little, bake for 15-20 minutes or until a golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush all over with the vanilla syrup below. Drizzle over pearl sugar to finish. Remove from baking tray and let cool on a rack. Best the same day – if eaten the next day refresh them in the microwave for 15 secs or in a medium oven for 5 mins. They freeze very well, too.
Vanilla Syrup Glaze
100 ml water
100 ml caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
Place all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.