Overnight Danish Buns with Yoghurt

I currently live in Hamburg, not that far away from the Danish border. One thing I notice is that you find a lot of Scandinavian products here. Cheeses of various kinds, Rødgrød (English red berry sauce, German rote Grütze), and Flæskesvær (English fried pork rind, German frittierte Schweineschwarte) are only a few. It probably comes as no surprise that I felt I wanted to try a Danish recipe for buns.

Danish people are probably as obsessed with bread as are Germans. They have perfected the simple cold cuts on a delicious slice of bread, their Smørebrød is known worldwide. The buttered rye bread is crowned with a creative topping, this can be a cold cut, but ranges from vegan to extremely meaty options. I was fortunate enough to try Smørebrød when I was in Copenhagen and can highly recommend it. If you have the chance, try it, I find it extremely delicious (see also pictures).

Smørebrød as found in Copenhagen

Anyway, so as I was saying, since I live so close to Denmark now, I felt it was time to try a Danish recipe. I decided for a bun with wheat flour. When I was looking for a recipe, I learned that Danish people like buns to be light and fluffy, that’s why they often add yoghurt to the mix and why the dough will feel really soft. I was very tempted to add more flour when I was kneading (kneten) the dough, but I must warn you, the more flour you add, the more likely it is that your buns will taste dull. Moist is a word Danish like to use a lot to describe how the bread or bun should be. Light in texture, like a feather, but also full of flavor.

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When I was in Copenhagen I managed to buy some local flour our host recommended to us (no, I am not paid to show this flour), but I am sure you will also find some way to create the right flour mix or to buy good high gluten flour. It is definitely worth it. The flour is Type 815 in Germany, which, as far as I can tell, can only be found in some of the larger EDEKAs, or on Amazon. I believe in the U.S. it is not as hard to come by. You will have to look for a high gluten flour. Please let me know in the comments if you found good places where to get the flour.

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This is a bun which is prepared the day before. The yeast does its magic in the fridge, which means that it takes longer as it is not that warm. I think they are totally worth to wait for.

Overnight Danish Buns with Yoghurt

  • Servings: about 16 buns or 2 bread loaves
  • Time: 15min preparation plus 10 hours resting time plus 20min baking time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fluffy and light bun with lots of flavor and yoghurt


Credit: As found on the back of the flour package Okologisk Ølandshvedemel from Meyers (in Danish)

Ingredients

  • 600 milliliters of lukewarm water (lauwarmes Wasser)
  • 60 grams of plain yogurt (Naturjoghurt)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or molasses (Honig oder Zuckerrübensirup)
  • 22 grams of fresh yeast (half a cube) (Frischhefe)
  • 5 grams of salt (Salz)
  • 750-800 grams of Okologisk Ølandshvedemel (English: High gluten flour, German Halbweißmehl, Type 812, kann hier bestellt werden oder selbst angemischt werden, z.B. siehe hier)

Directions

Day 1

  1. Stir water, yoghurt, honey, and salt together in a bowl and dissolve the yeast in it. Add about 400 grams of flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add 200 more grams of the flour while stirring.
  3. Add the remaining 150 grams of flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Then change and knead (kneten) dough with your hands in the bowl. The dough will be sticky, but try not to add too much flour. If need be, pour a little bit of oil on your hands so that the dough doesn’t stick as much.
  4. Form dough into a ball and leave in bowl. Cover with a kitchen towl and transfer to fridge. Resting time should be at least 8 hours, but it can easily be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours. The flavor will intensify. Resting time 8 hours or more

Day 2

  1. Take dough out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature for an hour. Resting time 1 hour
  2. Divide dough into about 16 equal pieces and roll each piece in some flour before placing all on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper (Backpapier). Cover again with a kitchen towel and let sit for at least half an hour to an hour. Resting time half an hour to an hour
  3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Place a container with about 500 milliliters of water at the bottom of the oven. Lower temperature to 230 degrees.
  4. Put the first baking sheet with the bund on lower rack and bake for about 20 minutes or until buns are golden brown. Take out the container filled with water after 5 minutes and reduce temperature to 200 degrees. Repeat with the second batch. I do not recommend to bake with circulating air.

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Tips:

  • Remember that this is an overnight bun. Leaving the dough in the fridge helps to develop the flavor and is also a slower version to have the yeast do its magic. I do not recommend a first rise at room temperature.
  • Bread doesn’t like ovens with circulating air (convection oven). Make sure that you have an extremely hot oven when you put the buns in and that the air is humid (this is where the water container comes in). Only lower the temperature after 5 minutes for buns and about 10 minutes for bread loaves.

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