The warm aroma of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven, such a fun way to wake the kids up in the mornings 🙂 . No one gets lost finding their way to the kitchen, no drama , no hiding under blankets, just warm hugs and a few kisses… Well a mother can sure dream, and sometimes it all comes true with a beautiful cinnamon rosette called – Estonian Kringle .
Estonian Kringle, I like to say, is a fancier cousin of the Cinnamon roll. It is a delicious braided loaf, filled with buttery cinnamon sugar. The crust is sweet and crunchy and the layers of bread buttery soft . This intricate looking braid is much simpler than it looks and creates a stunning look.
The shaping technique is also known as Russian Rose, and Russian braid. Make a large loaf or individual rosettes, and start the day with a smile ..
Kringle is essentially a cousin of cinnamon roll but this technique can be used with various other fillings as well, chocolate and finely ground nuts are other popular fillings. To make these for breakfast one does not have to wake up at the crack of the dawn. Make it the dough the previous night shape it and let slowly rise in the fridge. In the morning take the dough out , preheat the oven and just pop it in. Sit back relax and enjoy your morning cup of joe.
The dough for Kringle is enriched but not heavily. If you bake it without the fillings the loaf will taste lightly sweet and milky. It will be soft and delicious, but still holds its shape.
Follow the recipe to make the dough. I make it as an egg free dough, but you can add an egg to it to make it more soft. Reduce the liquids by about 1/4 C , if doing so. Knead the dough well. The dough becomes very soft and pliable as you kneed. If too sticky add a few tablespoons of flour, but keep in mind that we need the dough to be soft and not too firm. A too tight dough will be hard to roll out while a very soft dough will be sticky making the layers merge together. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, till doubled in volume.
Once the dough is proofed here is how to shape it. Prepare the filling and have it ready. Here I have used cinnamon sugar. When using other fillings make sure everything is chopped small and can be spread easily. I keep the butter and the other fillings separate. I feel that by doing so the layers are more distinct. It also restricts the spices from directly touching the yeast, by a bit, which is helpful especially when doing a long second rising. Cinnamon and some of the other woody spices tend to retard the growth or kill the yeast.
Cut the dough into portions depending on the size of the loaves you are making. Roll the portions out into a rectangle about 1/2 cm thick . Do not worry about getting perfect shapes here. Spread the softened butter over the rolled out dough and sprinkle a portion of the filling over it, leaving an 1/2 cm edge on the sides . If using a filling with nuts and fruits or any other chunkier filling leave a slightly larger boarder . Roll into a log, starting at the one of the long sides, encasing all the filling.
Using a sharp knife slice the log along the middle lengthwise leaving one end attached. About 1/2 to 1 inch of uncut portion should suffice. Place one of the sides over the other so that the cut sides are facing up (picture above). Repeat this till the 2 pieces are twisted together , making sure that as they pass over each other the cut sides always face up. Once you reach the end , turn the twisted rope to form a circle and tuck the ends together to form a wreath (see pic).
Here I have made small buns , but one can as easily make a large one. Ones the bread is formed , brush the remaining butter on top , sprinkle any remaining fillings and set aside for about 30 minutes until almost doubled in volume.
Planning a morning bake The easiest way for a morning bake is to make a large wreath in an 8 or 9 inch cake pan the previous night . Lightly coat the top with oil and cover with a plastic wrap or any other airtight cover and let it rise overnight in the fridge . Save the remaining filling and sprinkle on top just before baking .
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F (200°F) and bake for about 10 minutes . Reduce the heat to 350°F (175°F ) and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes . The final baking times will vary depending on the size of the loaves , fillings , ovens etc . Check on the loaf 15 minutes into the second stage of baking .
Serve warm . For an extra sweet treat drizzle cream cheese icing on top or dust with powdered sugar.
Here is the recipe for this beautiful braided bread – Estonian Kringle.
- 3 C Bread Flour / AP Flour (360g) Unbleached
- 2/3 C Milk (150 g )
- 1 1/4 Tsp Fine Sea Salt (7 g)
- 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
- 1/4 C Water (60g)
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 2 Tsp Yeast
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 4 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 C Finely Chopped Walnuts optional
- Sprinkle the yeast on 1/4 C lukewarm water (110°F) mixed with 1 tbsp sugar . Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until it is frothy .
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl . Make a well in the center and pour in the activated yeast .
- Add butter and enough milk and knead gently to bring everything together into a shaggy dough. Knead for about 10 minutes for a soft and pliable dough. If needed add a few more spoons of milk or flour. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, till doubled in volume.
- Soften the butter for the filling and set aside. In another bowl mix the cinnamon , sugar and chopped nuts . Set aside.
- Punch down the dough and divide into desired portions. Roll each portion out into a long rectangle about 1/2 cm thick . Spread the softened butter over the rolled out dough and sprinkle a portion of the filling over it, leaving an 1/2 cm edge on the sides . Roll into a log , encasing all the filling . Slit the log lengthwise leaving about an inch on one end uncut. Twist the pieces over each other keeping the cut side up to form a coiled rope. .Turn the rope into a circle and tuck the ends in. Brush any remaining butter on top , and sprinkle the remaining filling on top. Set aside for about 30 minutes until almost doubled in volume.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F(200°F) and bake for about 10 minutes . Reduce the heat to 350°F (175°F) and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes . Check on the loaf 15 minutes into the second stage of baking .
- Cool on the rack . Cool completely before icing .
- US Measuring cups used, Weight measurements are more accurate than volume.
- 1 C AP Flour weighs around 110 to 120 g. , when using volume measurements pay close attention to how the dough feels and adjust liquid ingredients a little.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.
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Originally published Aug, 2016. edited and updated with pictures.