The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

I bake so I am; kanelbullar (with video)

freerk's picture

I bake so I am; kanelbullar (with video)


When asked where, or who, or what I would turn to when in need of comfort, I blurted out:

"I bake" All around the table there were people nodding in agreement. Comfort, food, baking. A no-brainer.

My answer caused a growing feeling of unease within myself though. As the rest of us came up with their ideas (books, photo albums from the attic, secret benches at water fronts) I counted the number of times a week I throw something into my oven, and started to get slightly worried. I must be in need of an awful lot of comfort...

Ever since, every time I bake, I ask myself; why am I baking?

Sometimes the answer has indeed something to do with comfort. A missed job that had my name written all over it will spark a very comforting autumnal frangipani.

Last week I found myself baking Dutch crust rolls after I shattered two (!) plates I really liked. At times, it is about a passion for new things and learning. Croissants, ensaimadas, macarons, complicated sourdough breads that take up to 36 hours to make, bring it on!

Most of the time the answer seems way more trivial. All the bread eaten in this house come from our own oven. I bake because there needs to be bread on the table in the morning. Simple as that, or is it...

Sharing as a disease The best part of baking, especially when baking bread, is eating it together. Sharing bread is right up there with the big boys when it comes to what is ingrained in our very genes from the start of humanity.

"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the ground."

No sooner were we kicked out of paradise, or bread came into our existence... It is at the heart of what makes us human and has stayed with us till this very day!

I heard a wonderful story of a guy, here in Amsterdam, who has made it his mission to GIVE in life all that he can, without ever asking anything in return. He helps complete strangers to a new bike, finds lost photo albums and brings it back to the rightful owners, things like that.

One of the people, a radio journalist, who was touched by all this - he himself got a new bicycle after complaining on a radio show that it was stolen from him - dug around a little and found out the guy was operating... from a mental institution.

He was diagnosed mentally ill. His own words; "over here they consider sharing a disease".

The disease that is called sharing... Personally I hope it is airborne and viral, very contagious and practically incurable. This world could do with a bit of sharing.

This recipe for Swedish Kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls) came to me by way of a baking friend. She got it from a new food channel, who got it from somewhere else, etc. Along the way tweaks were made in the recipe, and what you end up with are some really stunning, very tasty cinnamon rolls that are real easy to make. Maybe something for at the coffee table on Thanksgiving? For me, any old day will do to make them; they have become very popular quite fast in this household.

Swedish Kanelbullar

For the filling:

150 g almonds
150 g sugar
100 g unsalted butter
8 TS cinnamon
4 TBS water

For the dough

500 ml milk
150 g butter
12 g instant yeast
120 g sugar
13 gr. salt
1 TS cardamom
850 gr. bread flour
1 egg
(pearl) sugar for decorating

Warm the milk and melt the butter into it. Add the yeast, sugar, salt, cardamom and bread flour. Make sure the milk has cooled enough before adding the yeast. 35° C is okay. Mix on low speed until the dough is nice and stretchy, around 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Pulse the almonds together with the sugar and the cinnamon in a processor until fine. Add the water and the butter to it and mix until well incorporated.

Rest your dough in an oiled container until almost doubled in size. The warmer it is the quicker it goes. About one hour or so. Next, roll out the dough to a big rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Make sure it doesn't stick, it makes working this dough much easier.

Put the cinnamon paste on half of the dough and fold it onto itself. Roll out again to even it out and cut the dough into strips. Form the rolls by stretching and winding the strip of dough, loosely, around your hand twice, go over the width of the roll and tuck in the end. No matter how you do it, it will always look lovely, so don't get too over zealous in trying to get them to look all the same!

Let the rolls proof until they are nice and plump, about 45 minutes. In a warm kitchen they might be ready within 30 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 200° C. Take out all the racks and prepare to bake on the second lowest rack.

Give the rolls an egg wash with the slightly beaten egg (use only egg yolk for a deeper, richer shine and a more dramatic contrast) and sprinkle with small sugar pearls if you have them. Normal sugar works as well, but won't look as classy. Bake for about 20-25 minutes with convection until they turn a deep golden brown. Let them cool on a rack and.... SHARE!

happy baking!



jcking's picture

Thanks for sharing. You've videos are superior to any other bread videos I've ever seen! And some of those I've paid for.

Keep up the excellent work. I look forward to the next.


freerk's picture

Thank you so much for your kind words!

As a matter of fact; if you have any suggestions for recipes or specific techniques that you would like to see, let me know. I'm always on the look out for good "subject matter"

Thanks again


shericyng's picture

awesome way to form the rolls...thanks for sharing


SylviaH's picture

I love the bread...but ohhhh, the rolls.  Your photo is so lovely and just looks like a Fall perfect roll... warm, inviting and delicious!  I enjoyed the video and like shercying, nice shape on the rolls!  I have bags of fresh ground almonds just waiting : ) Mike will love these too, it's been a long time since we've treated ourselves to  sweet rolls...these were worth the wait.  

Thanks for sharing : )


SylviaH's picture

is that apple and caramel on your frangipani Dutch crust roll?  Would you share your recipe? : )


freerk's picture

oh dear, I hope I wrote it down somewhere. The picture is of the frangipani with apples, there is no dutch crust rolls in the post. Let me see if I can find what I wrote down about it, and I'll get back to you!

lumos's picture

I shattered two (!) plates I really liked.

....I know the feeling...... My utmost condolences to your loss of your favourite dishes.  Seriously.   I just love tablewares. Always take a lot of time and thought in choosing one to buy.  (Took me more than 3 years to find mug cups I like to replace the one I'd been using for donkey's ears)  So breaking any of them does really shatters my heart. 

Both of your products for comfort look marvellous!   Really pity you lost your favourite plates, but grateful that let us share your beautiful breads as the result. ;)

The video was not only very informative but also real fun to watch!  Thanks for sharing.

Hope you'll find another one you like as much as your lost ones before too long.


P.S.  Why do I bake?  Because I want to eat it! :p


freerk's picture

Back to the Iittallla store (or how do you write it, I never know)! My birthday is coming up, so I better put some ideas in some heads over here :-).

shansen10's picture

Your statement

  "The best part of baking, especially when baking bread, is eating it together. Sharing bread is right up there with the big boys when it comes to what is ingrained in our very genes from the start of humanity."  is the reason I bake.  More than that, there is something magical, almost mystical, about watching the the starter grow and the dough rise.  You are so right that bread is fundamental to our civilization.  The video "Les Bles D'Or" touched me in a fundamental way.  It used to be free on Youtube.  Now you have to pay 15 euros to buy the DVD at 

Happy baking!



freerk's picture

sshhh, don't tell them there is still something floating around out there...

happy baking freerk!

ehanner's picture

The video looks interesting but unfortunately I am lacking any French skills that will help me with this. Would anyone care to write a couple paragraphs briefly outlining what they are saying?


Chuck's picture

It's probably right there, but I missed it (I don't grok either French or Danish very well:-).

1) How do they mill their flours?

First thing I noticed is the seedheads -and the individual seeds- appear much larger than modern wheats (they look more like ancestral maizes), large enough to choke some mills. Next thing I noticed is that most of the flours and sliced breads appear off-white rather than near-dark, and have a much more open crumb than I've ever seen with whole wheat. I assume the whole grain goes in, so how does it not come out? Do they sift like crazy? Is their mill specialized in some way? Are appearances deceiving?

2) How did they get their starting seeds? I understand that by now everything has been propagated/multiplied  ...but they had to start somewhere a few years back. Most of the varieties look more like something I've seen drawn in an archaeology book than like anything I've ever seen in real life. So how did they come by their initial seeds?

varda's picture

almost surreal video and if I ever have people over for a morning meeting (or whatever) without making those buns I should be arrested.   I think your frangipani is worth the plates.   I had a friend who used to give away her nicest things to her friends so she could get new ones.   For me baking is the best therapy.   I don't analyze why.  -Varda

freerk's picture

Thank you Varda!

I'm turning the house upside down to find my little black book that should have the recipe for the frangipani in it. Can't find it anywhere :-|

The plates were Moroccan, plain simple and beautiful, from a pottery in Marrakech, boohoo. The ultimate tragedy was that I let go of one, to save the other and them ended up loosing both. My own mistake of course, being a man and still trying to multitask, lol


hanseata's picture

I bake more often than not, and still have so many recipes I want to try out (Thanks for the lovely cinnamon roll recipe plus video!).

When I moved from Hamburg to Maine, I packed two polka dotted tin cans that I used for keeping coffee and tea. There were not much worth, had even some dents, but I am very fond of them. Some things belong to us, and give us an identity, and I figured I needed some of my very own stuff around me. Therefore I can relate to your loss and I hope you will find a good replacement.

Sometimes I get a kick out of the idea, a German in Maine, baking Swedish cinnamon rolls posted by a guy from Amsterdam, while a talented baker from Dubai bakes my German buckwheat bread.

Happy baking,



shansen10's picture

Thank you so much, Freerk, for sharing the video. Is there some way I can download it, or maintain access to it?

SylviaH's picture

Comes in handy.  At the bottom of Freerks blog.  Where it says subscribe, click on 'save'.  opps, to save click on 'add to favorites' : )  It will be saved in your account.  Click on account in the lists at the top right side of the home page, under your name, to view.


shansen10's picture

Thank you Sylvia for increasing my computer knowledge. I am happy knowing I have permanent access to this video, which has special meaning for me.


EvaB's picture

They look interesting, and the technique for shaping is way different to mine, but they look totally scrumptious.

Sorrow on the broken plates, I know just how you feel, I hate to break my favourites, but the only way to do that is to not use them at all, and that is half the fun of having them, using them.