Oh hello there! How have you been? Bet you’ve been busy enjoying these stunning dog days of summer! The weather in Vancouver has been picture perfect- balmy, sunny with robins-egg-blue-summery skies almost every day. Pretty tough to stay indoors plugging away at a darn computer I’ll say!
Apologies for my silence… it’s just been so lovely outside. Too beautiful for this blogging nonsense! Kidding.. only sort of! :) I can’t wait to share what I’ve been up to as well as what’s been baking! Where have you been exploring on your days off?
Here are some of my favourite summer 2014 memories so far…
Traveling to Australia to visit my much-missed identical twin sister
Experiencing the March of the Fairy Penguins!
Watching the sunrise on a boat in Vancouver’s English Bay
Watching my best friend say I DO
Just to name a few :)
I woke up this morning and knew it was high time to share some great baking. The Swedish Tea Ring is such a stunning dessert to make if you have a lazy summer afternoon coming up. I baked a couple loaves last Friday for a shady teatime afternoon with my sister. After pulling the fresh buns out of the oven, we curled up in a pair of adirondack chairs with books and nibbled and dipped our little frosted buns into mugs of orange pekoe tea. Mmmm. Highly recommended ;)
The buns are made with a simple sweetbread dough that is easy for both new bread-bakers and seasoned-bakers to prepare! Make sure to save enough time for the rising process (1 hour for each go), and if you’re feeling extra daring, invite some of your best buds over for the final grand hurrah–(this dessert is a big bringer of those hilarious oooo’s and aaaa’s). :)
My recipe makes enough dough for two tea rings. If you’re feeling extra creative, perhaps make two kinds of loaves? I made one sweet and the other savoury. In one of my loaves I tucked away walnuts, cinnamon and raisins into the doughey roll to make the sweet cinnamon-bun-y sort of loaf you see here!
For the second bun, I decided to make a herbed and cheesy savoury version. First, I spread some tomato sauce on the dough, then gathered and chopped fresh herbs (chives, oregano and thyme) and sprinkled some grated cheddar and gruyère over top. The second version was just as delicious as the first in its own sort of way. It was kindof pizza-bun version. Great for a lunch time snack!
Glazed Swedish Tea Ring
Yield: 2 large tea rings (2 dozen buns) Time: Approx 4 hours total Baking Temp: 375 F. Baking Time: 30 mins.
Dough 4 1/2 tsp fast, dry granular yeast (2 pkgs) 1 cup lukewarm water 2 tsp sugar 1 cup milk 1/4 cup butter 1 tsp salt 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs, beaten 1 tsp grated lemon rind ~6 cups sifted bread flour Filling 1 cup Thompson raisins 4 tbsp cinnamon 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup chopped walnuts Glaze ~1 cup sifted icing sugar 2 tbsp milk 1/2 tsp vanilla squeeze of a lemon
1. Prepare two cookies sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Soften the yeast in one cup of lukewarm water and two teaspoons of sugar. Set aside. Scald milk on low heat (until just below boiling point) in the microwave or in a saucepan. Add butter, sugar and salt to the milk, then transfer to a large bowl. Cool mixture to lukewarm then add the puffed up yeast.
2. Add half the flour (3 cups) to the cooled yeast mixture and mix to create a thick batter. Add beaten eggs and lemon rind. Beat mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon! Gradually add more flour (up to 3 more cups) to create a soft dough. Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead for about 5 minutes until dough is stretchy and satiny in appearance. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Rest bowl in a warm place until dough has doubled in bulk. (Approx 1 hour)
3. Mix filling ingredients (raisins, cinnamon, brown sugar and walnuts) together in a small bowl and stir until combined. Set aside. Once dough has risen to double its size, divide in half and roll each half out to a rectangular sheet about 1/2 inch thick. and three times as long as wide.
4. Brush surface of rectangle with melted butter and spread half of filling ingredients in an even layer on top. Roll up rectangle from the long edge of the rectangle, in a jelly-roll fashion. Shape roll into a ring and bind ends together. Carefully place your ring on your prepared cookie sheet. With kitchen scissors, snip through ring almost to the centre, in slices about 1 inch thick. Turn each slice onto its side. Repeat with second half of dough.
5. Brush tea rings with butter and place tea towel back ontop of each ring. Set rings in a warm place until they double in bulk. (Approx 1 hour)
6. Being careful not to bump the tea rings, place pans in preheated oven. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes or until they have turned gentle golden colour. Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack.
7. While tea rings are cooling on their racks, mix the glaze until the correct consistency is formed. (Add more/less liquid until it forms a smooth, drippy glaze). Take a spoon and drizzle the glaze generously over your warm cinnamon bun rings. Keep dribbling the glaze in this fashion until it has all been spread over your rings!
8. Slice or tear buns along the tea ring divets. Serve warm with slices of orange or with some orange pekoe tea for extra measure! xxx
And there you have it! Some fresh, puffy homemade bread for a shady summer teatime afternoon. Don’t forget that this bread is best shared… mostly because it’s dangerous to leave around as leftovers!
What do you have planned over the next week besides eating a cinnamon bun or two ;)? I am looking forward to enjoying some more days off at the summer cabin. You can find me in the ocean or on a beach towel thank you very much!
I hope you have a wonderful week ahead full of your kind of summer bliss!! Sending you lots of great vibes and summer love.
PS: A great summertime tune to put on the old stereo! (loving its jazzy flute solo!! haha)
PPS: Want a fun Vancouver summer idea? How about hop on a bicycle for a Vancouver craft brewery tour! (Plus my friend is the bicycle tour-guide, so it’s extra awesome). They run every other Saturday afternoon. Fun times if you ask me! Book your tour here.