Bread, cinnamon buns, hygge and fika

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Bread, cinnamon buns, hygge and fika

Have you ever had that feeling of coziness, feeling relaxed, enjoying good company, good food and drink but not had the right words to explain it? Or found yourself asking a friend out for coffee but there’s more to it and wished there was a word for it? I was fortunate enough to spend 10 days travelling Denmark and Sweden a few weeks ago and came across two concepts we don’t have words for in English or Welsh but completely encapsulates the feel of Tŷ Paned. Hygge and fika.

Copenhagen is a beautiful city and for someone who’s not mad keen on cities it was small enough to feel comfortable and busy without feeling overwhelming. The almost militant strictness they adhered to at pedestrian crossings shows incredible respect for authority and the way they treat the cyclists as a class above all classes was incredible for a Cardiffian!

There was something more powerful though, that came through in almost every conversation with a Dane. They enjoy hygge. It’s a concept. It’s more than a feeling. It’s almost a state of mind. When the busyness of life is overwhelming it’s time to take stock. Hygge is about relaxing; it’s enjoying good company. Good food is surely an integral part as is good drink. It’s the atmosphere you get when you’ve stopped your mind racing about jobs, work and running round after kids. It’s what we capture here at Tŷ Paned. Hygge is right now.

Sweden inspired me. Following one conversation with the Swede we were staying with I knew I just had to try one thing. Fika. It’s an institution. It’s more Swedish than going to the pub is British. The women do it but the men do it too. Making time in your day to have fika. Simple pleasures are often the best and fika is a fine example. It’s essentially a cinnamon roll with a coffee. But it’s so much more than that. It’s an event. It’s an occasion. It’s time to connect with a person not via twitbook or exchangeagram. It’s about finding out about a person and what makes them tick or to catch up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Fika says you’re important to me. Life can wait a while.

I have to give you the chance to have your own Tŷ Paned inspired fika with an adaptation of a recipe from a genuine Swedish recipe book (well it was in English but written by a Swede with traditional Swedish recipes).

For the dough
25g fresh yeast (or 14g of dried, it’s a lot but it’s to give the sweet dough a boost or it could easily be sluggish)
50g butter
250ml milk
50g golden syrup
pinch of salt
300g spelt flour (or brown bread flour)
seeds from 3 or 4 cardamom pods ground with a pestle and mortar

For the filling
75g butter at room temperature
75g caster sugar
6 tsp ground cinnamon.

To glaze
A beaten egg
1 tbsp pearl sugar (available from bakerybits.com or some people substitute broken sugar cubes)

Crumble the yeast into a bowl. Melt the butter in a pan and add the milk and heat it until it’s blood warm. That’s what my Nain (nan) calls it! Luke warm is another word! Pour it over the yeast to dissolve it and add the syrup, flour, cardamom and salt. Cover the dough and let it rise for half an hour.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it’s smooth and silky with no cracks. Roll it into a rectangle. Mix the filling ingredients and spread the mixture over the rectangle.
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If it’s not a perfect rectangle you can trim it into one and make some crazy sized rolls from the scraps.

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Roll up the rectangle away from you and cut it into 10 or 12 buns.

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You can either put them in little cases now or straight onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.

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Let them prove for around half an hour until they regain their shape if you poke your finger into them a bit. Brush with the egg and sprinkle on the pearl sugar.

Bake for about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Try and let them cool a little before gobbling them all. Serve with coffee and a chat.

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