Sunday, November 24, 2013

We Knead to Bake - Kanel Snegle/ Kanelbullar

Kanel snegle are Europe's counterparts of the American cinnamon rolls. Originating from Sweden, they are probably the original version. They are less sticky and less sweet than the cinnamon rolls from across the Atlantic. Given the spices that are added these rolls are aromatic. they are soft and moist perfectly pairing with coffee or tea, be it for breakfast or an evening snack. Kanel snegle are shaped as snail shells and the kanelbullar are shaped buns.

The Swedish Kanel Snegle/ Kanelbullar is less about sugar and more about the spices in it – cardamom in the dough and cinnamon inside the Snails/ Buns. To call them Snails (coiled shape)or Buns (twisted and rolled up) depends on how we shape them. Scandinavian celebratory breads tend to be all about spices and warmth so you will find a lot of their breads scented with cardamom. Cinnamon, cloves, aniseed, etc.

These Cinnamon Snails/ Buns are found all over Europe with slight variations in recipe and the shapes as  Franzbrotchen, Korvapuusti, Skillingsbollen, etc

Kanel Snegle/ Kanelbullar are traditionally made on the 4th of October every year in Sweden to celebrate “the Day of the Cinnamon Bun” but can be found in bakeries all through the year. There are different ways of shaping this confectionery;  I have made the typical “snail” shape which much like that of the regular Cinnamon Roll, and the “twist”. 
The traditional filling in these buns is just butter, sugar and cinnamon, but there are versions that also use almonds with this filling. They usually come baked in white paper cases and the filling stays intact that does not spill out.
There are a few videos on youtube about how these are shaped/ rolled.
The typical Kanel Snegle is shaped just by rolling the dough with the filling spread over the surface like a swiss roll and cut across. They look like the shells of the snail and hence the name.
There are other innovative ways to shape these buns and here I have done two of those.I have spread the filling over half of the dough, folded in two and cut out strips, which I have twisted and elongated before rolling them in a circular  bun. The more complicated is to do the above
and cut out the strips, and cut them further to resemble the trouser pants. Each of the legs of these are individually rolled and then both are swirled into buns. One can get more innovative as they can with the shaping.

Aparna had adapted the given recipe from various sources and tried it prior to sharing with us. These can be done with bread flour also, but we have baked them with all purpose flour. The recipe calls for preparing a starter to be made and refrigerated overnight. The dough rises in the fridge and will be used with the other ingredients while baking the bread.
These buns can be baked and kept in freezer where they keep well. All one has to do is microwave for few seconds before consuming and they are as good as fresh.

Kanel snegle/ Kanelbullar ( Swedish cinnamon snails/buns)
For the starter:
1 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups all purpose flour

For the dough:
All of the starter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt if using unsalted butter (if using saled butter, reduce salt to 3/4ths teaspoon)
8 pods of cardamom powdered
2 teaspoons lemon zest
60 grams butter softened at room temperature
1/3 cup caster sugar

For the filling:
75 grams butter soft at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar loosely packed or 1/3 cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon
1/3 cups coarsely ground almonds

For the topping:
1/4 cup milk for brushing
pearl sugar or large sugar crystals

Mix all ingredients for the starter in a somewhat sticky dough. Use a fairly large bowl (that has allowance for the dough to expand overnight) to store it in the refrigerator. Lightly oil the walls of this bowl and transfer the dough into it. Loosely cover the top and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day take the starter dough out and leave it out for 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature.
The kneading can either be done in a processor or by hand.
Tear the starter dough in large bits, place them in the bowl of the processor (or bowl). sift together the flour, cardamom and salt into the bowl.Then add the zest and sugar into the bowl and process until well mixed. Finally add the butter and knead to achieve a soft and elastic dough. You may need to adjust the liquid/ flour as required. i needed to add a few teaspoons more milk to achieve this.

I divided the dough in three parts at this point to make three shapes of the buns. I had seven of the snails and rolled buns each and six of the trouser legs shaped into buns.
Prepare the filling by mixing the butter, sugar and cinnamon. Cream it well by whisking with a fork.
Turn the dough you are working on onto a lightly floured surface and roll out  a rectangular shape. Spread the filling in a thin layer over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the powdered almonds over this.

Gently roll the dough in a tight swiss roll shape. Cut out small portions of them. place them cut side facing top on the paper cases arranged in the baking tray.
Cover and allow it to rise for about 10-15 minutes. They do not rise much, just might puff up a bit.
Once they have puffed up, brush the tops with milk and sprinkle the sugar crystals on the top.

Bake them in a pre-heated 200 Deg C oven for 15 minutes. When done they shall look browned on top and will sound hollow when tapped. If they brown too quickly, reduce the oven temperature by 20 degrees and continue baking for the rest of the time.

To shape the buns, Roll the dough in a rectangle. spread the filling on the bottom half of the same. Fold the other half over this so as to cover and seal the filling. Cut the folded dough in even strips. Hold one strip in both hands and twist the dough while slightly elongating it. This will look like a rope. 

Place one end of this on a paper case and work the twisted rope in a spiral shape. Tuck the end under the bun.
Allow these to puff for 15 minutes, brush milk on top and bake them at 200C for 15 minutes.

To shape the Trouser leg shapes, Proceed as you did for the twists. Once you have cut the strips out, make another cut through the middle leaving a bit of the dough intact on the top. If you separate the dough at the incision, it will look like trousers.


Twist each of the leg separately. place the intact top part of the dough on the paper case and work the twisted trouser legs around in a coil shape. Tuck the ends underneath.
Proceed as with the other dough and bake them.

These buns fill your home with the heady aroma of spices while baking and the resultant buns are soft and moist.
The above given recipe makes 20 Kanel Snegle/Kanelbullars.
You may read more information and have a wonderful picture tutorial in Aparna's post from where I have followed the recipe and baked these.



  1. What a lot of effort this seems to be! I've never baked any breads.

  2. They look Lovely. I really enjoyed making these and seeing the blog post many friends asked me to make these for Thanks giving . So fun!


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