Hey, you: want to make a giant cinnamon pastry? It doesn’t have to be your birthday.
Actually, the Swedish tea-ring isn’t exactly a pastry – it’s too bready for that. Otherwise, though, it really is an oversized circular cinnamon roll that will bring you joy, especially when you bury your face in it (recommended). Shall we?
A note to begin: this is a LOT easier if you have a breadmaker. If you do, skip ahead to the bit in red, and feel good about your life. I don’t, so I made this by hand.
Here’s the ingredients list.
150g strong white flour
1 tsp sugar (any type)
8g dried yeast
250ml warm milk
300g plain flour
45g melted butter
50g soft brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Start with a bowl. Don’t all baking efforts start with a bowl? And in it go your strong white flour, sugar, dried yeast and warm milk. Mix together and leave in a warm place for about ten minutes, until the yeast has reacted and the mixture’s gone bubbly. It’ll smell a bit like the bottom of your laundry bin. Press on: it’ll be ok.
Then put in the plain flour, salt, 50g of the melted butter and egg. Mix together into a wet dough and turn out onto a floured board.
I knew absolutely nothing about kneading bread dough: for my first attempt I did this hilarious flinging and folding thing that did not work in the slightest, and got hideous gobs of stickiness all over my hands and everything else. Timothy cleared it up, looking like he wished he’d asked for a Betty Crocker mix instead. For the second go, I found this, and copied it exactly. It worked a lot better. In the end I kneaded the dough for about 20 mins. The indicator, says the internet, is when you pinch it and it feels as firm as an earlobe. I had to pinch my earlobe and then the dough several times for comparison, but got there in the end.
Come in here if you have a breadmaker. You lucky, lucky duck.
Cover the dough with a plastic freezer bag and a tea towel, and let rise in a warmed oven for 3o minutes, or at room temperature for 2 hours. It should end up being twice its original size. Then roll out on a floured surface until it’s about 9 x 12 inches, and rectangular.
Brush 15g melted butter over the dough, then sprinkle over 50g soft brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Roll it up along the long edge to make something like a long, thin swiss roll. Arrange it in a circle on a greased baking tray, with the seam underneath, and pinch the edges together. Then – artistic! – using scissors, snip along the top of the roll at an angle, all the way round. It looks a bit like this.
Let it rise again under a plastic freezer bag and a tea towel, for another 30 minutes in a warmed oven or 2 hours at room temperature. It needs to rise a lot, bread dough, doesn’t it? I ended up singing that Blue song to it through the oven door. If I’d had a harmonica, you know I would’ve used it.
Finally, bake at 190°C or 370°F for 20-25 minutes.
You’re supposed to decorate with glace icing and cherries. This is Timothy we’re talking about, so I used chocolate beads. The glace icing made a puddle in the hole in the middle, which he greatly enjoyed clearing out afterwards. Bet it’d be amazing with cream cheese frosting. Most things are.
The verdict, then:
Deliciousness: absolutely lovely when fresh from the oven. It doesn’t keep terribly well – the breadiness of it tends to harden overnight – so plan to eat a lot.
Complexity: The most complicated bit was kneading the dough, so if you’re comfortable with that, or have a breadmaker to be comfortable for you, then it’s really not hard.
Washing-up pile: Honestly, goodness knows. Many mixing bowls, that’s for sure.
Casualties: My kitchen counter. It may seem obvious to you that it’s not a good idea to fling very wet dough around with gay abandon, but just in case it’s not: don’t.