Steffi Knowles-Dellner lifts the lid on the art of eating harmoniously, Swedish-style.
In her new book, Lagom (which means ‘balance’), Swedish food stylist and cookery author, Steffi Knowles-Dellner takes us from breakfast to dinner and beyond, uncovering the simple beauty of food that is not just good for our bodies, but for our souls too. After all, the secret to life is balance.
Kanel & kardemummabullar dough
Makes 14–16 large buns
2 cups whole milk
50g fresh yeast
¾ cup superfine caster sugar
2 tsp ground cardamom or 1½ tsp cardamom pods, split open and seeds bashed
800g strong white bread flour
1 egg, beaten
1. Melt the butter in a pan, pour in the milk and heat until finger warm (just warm to touch).
2. Crumble the yeast into your largest bowl with a little of the buttery milk. Stir until the yeast has dissolved, then add the remaining liquid.
3. Add the sugar, cardamom and ½ tsp salt, then 5 cups of the flour. Mix until you have a wet dough, then tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead to come together.
It will be a bit difficult to handle, but moving it vigorously around or slapping and folding it will have an impact. Add a bit more flour if absolutely necessary.
4. Return to a clean bowl and sprinkle with flour. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warmish place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. It should now be smooth ‘like a baby’s bottom’, as my mormor used to say.
5. Knock the dough back a bit while still in the bowl, then tip onto a floured surface.
6. Knead for a few minutes, adding more flour if the dough seems very wet. It is ready when it releases from the surface easily and, if you slash into the dough with a very sharp knife, there are evenly distributed small air bubbles.
7. Cut the dough in half and roll each half out to form a rectangle, roughly 30 x 40cm [12 x 16in] and 5mm [¼in] thick, with the longest side facing you. Spread with the softened butter, then sprinkle over the sugar and cardamom or cinnamon (or a combination of both).
8. Preheat the oven to 225°C/450°F and line several baking sheets with parchment. Roll up each rectangle tightly and slice into even pieces, about 2.5cm [1in] thick. Pinch or tuck in the ends and place, generously spaced, on the prepared sheets. Cover with tea towels and prove for about 40 minutes, until doubled in size.
9. Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden. Allow to cool at least a little on a wire rack, or as long as you can wait.
Lemon & Marzipan Filling
3¼ cups fresh blueberries
½ cup superfine caster sugar
1 lemon, zest and juice
3½ Tbsp butter, softened
175g best-quality marzipan, coarsely grated
1 egg, beaten
1. While the dough is rising, bring the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to the boil in a small pan, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes (depending on your blueberries), until jammy. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
2. Line several baking sheets with baking parchment.
3. After leaving the dough to rise, knead and roll it out into two rectangles as with the Kanel & Kardemummabullar dough recipe.
4. Spread with the butter and blueberry jam, then sprinkle over the marzipan and lemon zest. Roll up and slice into about 14-16 buns in total, then transfer to the prepared baking sheets, cover with tea towels and allow to prove for about 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 225°F/450°F. Brush the buns with the beaten egg, then bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and puffed up. Allow to cool on a wire rack before tucking in.
This edited extract is from Lagom by Steffi Knowles-Dellner, photography by Yuki Sugiura, published by Hardie Grant Books, and available from all good book stores.