Sourdough Cardamom Knots

cardamom buns
Jump to recipe

THE LINK ABOVE WILL TAKE YOU STRAIGHT TO THE RECIPE

These cardamom buns or knots are inspired by the Swedish ‘kardemummabullar‘ which is a popular treat served during their tea or coffee break which is often referred to as the ‘fika’. I got to work briefly in a small town called Linköping in Sweden about 8 year ago (didn’t realize it’s been that long) and remember seeing all sorts of traditional buns in supermarket isles and hotel buffets. I even remember having warm cinnamon buns or ‘Kanelbullar‘ with hot chocolate in an outing on the snow.

I wasn’t into baking like I am now, but definitely food (specially cakes, bread and pastry) sparked my curiosity even back then. I tried as much food varieties as I could fit in to the three meals, everything ranging from popular to absurd.

sourdough cardamom knots

Making these buns or knots brought memories right back! And as you already know, I’ll be using natural yeast to leaven these little gorgeous buns.

A bit about Cardamom

There are two varieties of cardamom out there, black and green. If the recipe doesn’t mention specifically then it is often the green cardamom which is commonly available and used is most recipes.

cardamom pods

Green cardamom has an intense flavor, when freshly ground. With time however, the smell and the intensity fades away. So most cardamom powders that are being stored at supermarket isles for months if not years, lack the real aroma and the intensity. It could be harder to source authentic spices when they are imported. So if you want the best results, make sure to find good quality authentic cardamom. Spices like these are only seasonally available at specialized spice agents.

Back in Sri Lanka, I had no trouble sourcing good quality, fresh spices. Some even have these growing in their back yards. After moving overseas I always relied on a trusted spice suppliers.

Best way to grind cardamom is to extract the seeds from the pods and crush them using a mortar and pestle. I know it sounds time consuming, but it is worth it!

stiff starer

Make the stiff starter 10-12 hours prior to mixing the dough. Preferably overnight.

When mixing the ingredients for the stiff starter, make sure to knead it until smooth. It will look like a small dough ball. Place in a small container cover and leave at room temperature until it becomes spongy. Usually will triple in volume.

ingredients

Prepare all the ingredients
Flour (AP or bread flour)
Soft butter
stiff levain
sugar
ground cardamom
room temperature milk
room temperature water
1 teaspoon salt

mix everything

Place flour, sugar, cardamom, salt in a bowl of a stand mixer. Add milk and water and start to mix. When most of the flour start to hydrate, add the stiff starter(levain) and mix to combine. Increase speed to medium and mix until a dough is formed

add butter

When you see a sticky dough, add the butter a bit at a time and mix to incorporate. Scrape the bowl to encourage mixing. Once all the butter is added, let the dough rest for about 10 – 15 minutes. then mix on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until dough feels elastic.

silky dough

Dough will start to get stronger and will start to pull off the sides of the bowl. Use a light dusting of flour around the edges of the bowl to encourage this. At this stage stop mixing.

dough

Bring the dough onto a nonstick surface. Wet your palms and perform several slap and folds to finish off kneading.

half kneaded dough

Dough will start to look a lot smoother. Now cover and leave to rest for about 15 minutes and do a few more slap and folds until the dough is considerably smooth, like shown in the next picture.

smooth dough

The dough is a lot smoother now. At this stage, it is ready for the bulk fermentation.

ready for bulk

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and place in a warm area to bulk.

This will take about 4-5 hours at 26°C. It should grow considerably (almost double in volume)

bulked dough

This is the bulked dough. Notice how it has grown to almost double the size.

degas

Bring the bulked dough on to a floured surface and degas slightly and round up into a tight ball like shown in the next picture

degassed dough

The dough will feel strong and elastic now and not sticky like it used to be. Degas and round up to a tight ball and place in an air tight container and refrigerate for the long slow fermentation (retardation)

Same day bake
For a same day bake, refrigerate for about 2 hours and move onto shaping

ingredients

When you are ready to shape the rolls, make the paste.

If you use freshly ground cardamom, 1 tbsp. is enough. If it is sore bought and doesn’t have a strong smell/flavor use about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons. If you are worried about the strong flavor, use 1/2 tablespoon and see how you like it.

paste

Mix butter, light brown sugar and ground cardamom to a paste and set aside.

You can mix this by hand using a spatula/spoon or use a mixer. Do not over mix or whip. We don’t want this fluffy.

retarded dough

If you retard the dough, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour, until it is soft enough to roll out but still cold to the touch.

It is a lot easier to roll out when the dough is still cold

roll out dough

Flour the bench and the dough and roll out using a rolling pin to a rectangular shape.

about 21 inch by 10 inch

thickness

This is the thickness. It’s roughly about 3mm, but doesn’t have to be exact.

Use flour to stop dough from sticking when rolling

divide to three

Divide the length to three sections and just mark it so you can see.

apply paste

Apply an even thin coasting of the paste on 2/3 of the dough.

Don’t go overboard with the paste, it’ll be slippery when shaping later.

Once done, follow the steps to fold the dough so there will be three layers.

fold

Fold the empty section (that doesn’t have paste) over the center section.

fold

Fold the top section on to the center

roll out

Roll out the dough to increase the width a bit and flatten the dough so it will end up roughly about 10 inch by 10 inch or 12 inch by 12 inch

The size doesn’t have to be exact. Use your instinct and increase the width a bit so the dough is not very thick and is roughly square.

If the dough seems too soft, place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.

cut in to stripes

Once you rolled out, cut into 12 stripes. Split each stripe in to two but not all the way.

form a knot

Twist the two ends slightly and form a knot. Check the video below.

If it is difficult, just form in to a knot without twisting or wrap like a cinnamon roll and tuck the end underneath.

I’m showing the whole process here, cutting a stripe, splitting it to two stripes, twisting and forming the knot

place on a tray

Once done Place the knots on a tray lined with parchment and leave to proof.

Cover loosely to prevent drying out and let this rise until almost doubled in size. This would take about 3-4 hours. Do not place in a too warm area as the butter and sugar in the paste may melt.

You can bake these in a muffin/cupcake tray too.

proofed

Towards the end of the proofing, preheat the oven to 425 °F (conventional)

Proofed knots will look considerably puffier and bigger.

egg wash

Whisk an egg with a tablespoon of water or milk. Apply a thin layer over the proofed rolls.

pearl sugar

This is completely optional. If you have pearl sugar, sprinkle some on to decorate.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown all around.

cool

Once baked, leave on a wire rack to cool completely. Of course you can devour one or two while still warm

cardamom knots
The crumb

You may also like

14 comments

  1. Hello! After step 32 or before the final rise, do you think the dough could be refrigerated and baked the next morning?

    1. Yes. Cover and refrigerate. The next day, let them thaw and then let rise in a slightly warm place.
      This may add a little bit of sour flavor, but it wouldn’t be noticeable.
      Hope this helps

  2. These were delicious! The perfect level of sweetness, not too much, just right. I used a mixture of freshly ground and store ground cardamom because I ran out of enthusiasm for removing them from their shells and it was plenty cardamom-y. I used turbinado sugar on the tops because it was what I had, and though they looked different from yours they were still very pretty. Thank you for the inspiration to challenge myself!

  3. Your cardamom knots looks scrumptious and I’m planning to try. Do you use regular (salted) butter or unsalted butter?

    1. Hi Yumiko,
      Yes it’s regular butter in both dough and the paste. But you can use unsalted butter too and may be add a pinch of extra salt.

  4. Hi!
    Is it possible to leave the stiff starter in the fridge and for longer? And can you leave the dough to rise for longer With following all the steps you get to bake the rolls in the evening, what if you want to have them in the morning?

    1. Yes, stiff starter can be left in the fridge, but this might increase the sourness. The whole point of using a stiff starter is to get minimal sour flavor in the bake.
      The dough can be left in the fridge for up to two days.
      If you want to have them in the morning, you can shape, cover and leave them in the fridge overnight and bake in the morning. If they haven’t proofed enough, leave at room temperature for about an hour before baking.
      Also, you can bake these the night before and refresh in the morning by baking them for 10 minutes in a 180C oven.
      Hope this helps!

  5. Hi!
    Love your site. What is the difference between a mature starter and an active/fed starter? You mention both in your recipes.

    1. It is the same. You feed and let the starter get fully activated which is then also called a mature starter

  6. Hello. I can’t watch the videoof forming the cardamon knots. Could you help me? Thank you in advance!

    1. When you click on the video, it will start to play. I just checked and its working fine. Check your browser settings (if video playback is not turned off etc.)
      If that didn’t work, Google ‘Swedish cardamom knots/buns’ and check videos. Use any one of those videos to guide you.
      Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.