As you may already know, the Swedes are fairly well attuned to the rhythms of nature. Each year, by the end of June (usually between the 19th and the 25th), they celebrate Midsummer, the most important holiday in the Swedish calendar, and also a beautiful tradition which is centered around the summer solstice.
Midsummer (or “Midsommar” in Swedish) takes place mostly in the countryside and is the occasion for large gatherings for both family and friends and it lasts about 3 days. To me, the Midsummer formula involves the traditional maypole, crowns of flowers, songs and dance, a never-ending lunch/dinner and snaps (a lot!). Snaps is Sweden’s take on schnaps.
Children usually wear beautiful flower crowns and dance with their parents around a leafy and flower-laden maypole raised in an open spot. The most famous song is “Små grodorna”, the small frogs, a very cute one indeed! But if you really want to know how the tradition looks like, I think you need to attend the Midsummer celebrations at least once in your life!
For this very special occasion, I wanted to cook or bake something special for you. I could have chosen one specific recipe that is served at Midsummer celebrations, but instead I went for the traditional cinnamon buns (or “kanelbullar” in Swedish), and I simply shaped them into a lovely cinnamon star bread, that reminds me of the Midsummer crown symbol. A new cinnamon bun was born!
Because of the visual aspect of the recipe, I thought it could be fun to make a video to show you how to shape the cinnamon star bread. This way, it’s much easier to understand and follow the instructions of the recipe and you will find it much easier than it looks. Please, forgive me if I look super serious and a little bit tense in the video, it was my very first one. What a challenge! I loved the exercise anyway and hopefully I will come back soon with new cooking/baking videos if you like it. Have fun listening to my little French accent anyway!
Enjoy the video & Happy Midsummer everyone!
- 3¾ cups (450g) flour
- ⅓ cup (70g) sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- ¾ cup (180 ml) milk
- 16g dry yeast
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp (30g) butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 egg white (to brush)
- ½ cup (100g) sugar
- ⅓-1/2 cup (100g) butter, softened at room temperature
- 4 tbsp ground cinnamon
- Pour the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt) into a large bowl, then add the butter softened at room temperature and the yolks. Mix all the ingredients together until you get a slightly crumbled texture.
- Warm the milk for about 30 seconds in the microwave. Pour into the dry yeast and let it sit for about 15 minutes to activate.
- Add in the yeast to the other ingredients and mix until combined. Shape into a ball and knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or 15-20 minutes by hand. Cover the bowl with plastic cling film and let the dough rise for about 1 to 1½ hours (it should double in size).
- In the meantime, prepare the filling by mixing the sugar with the cinnamon. Add the softened butter and mix until combined.
- Take the dough out, knead it for about 1 more minute by hand. Shape the dough into a snake and divide into 4 equal parts. Shape them into balls.
- Take the first one and roll a large circle and place it on a piece of baking paper. Repeat with the other balls of dough. The dough should be 2-3mm (0,1 inch) thick.
- Take a large plate and slighly press it into the first layer. Remove the plate. Now cover the marked area with a thin layer of cinnamon filling. Place the second layer of dough on top of the first one, then cover with cinnamon filling again on the marked area. Repeat the same procedure with the third layer. Then cover with the last circle of dough. Cut the excess dough with a sharp knife.
- Place a small glass in the center of the circle. Divide the circle into quarters (remember to leave the center intact). Then divide every quarter into 4 equal parts. At the end, you should have 16 equal parts.
- Take 2 parts of the circle, lift them up and twist them twice around in the opposite direction, and lay them down. Repeat with all pairs to form an eight-armed star.
- Twist the ends of each arm underneath to create a round shape.
- Brush the surface of the bread with egg white before putting it into the oven.
- Bake at 350F, for about 15-20 minutes. Let cool a little bit, and enjoy!