Sick sourdough, space, and Scandi buns

Living things take work, investment, cultivation.

It’s been over a month since I baked sourdough. I haven’t given up—not in the least—I’ve just been distracted by other things. Friday will roll around and I’ll remember that I didn’t take my starter out of the fridge yet. I will be out of flour and so will my local grocer. I’ll decide I want to play with the that was given to me for my birthday. And so on.

These aren’t excuses. They are facts.

I miss making sourdough, but I just haven’t prioritized the investment it takes. And that’s okay. But, there are also repercussions. I’ve gotten sloppy in my feeding schedule, and my starter is sick as a result.

And so, Charles (as my roommates named him—I’m not that obsessed…yet!) is living on the counter this week and my kitchen scale is going to get a workout measuring flour and water.

In my non-baking life I am on the front end of a number of trips. I love traveling, but it has the propensity to wreck havoc on my personal life. Fledgling relationships aren’t always as easy to detect as sick sourdough. The causes can be similar, such as a lack of intentionality, distractions, and competing priorities. I’m cognizant of these things, but that doesn’t mean that I always do a good job addressing them.

I spent yesterday morning eating Scandi Buns and completing a crossword at my favorite coffee shop with my best friend. At one point I looked up (maybe because I was stuck on a clue), and said to her, “This is such a good life.” And it is. These little investments, creating the space to breathe and foster community are life-giving. They aren’t significant on the surface, but they are essential. I’m trying to translate my awareness of the living nature of relationships into action.

Speaking of Scandi buns…


These are quickly becoming one of my favorite last-minute baked goods. You might know them better as Swedish Cardamom Buns or Kanelbullar. If you’ve been to Sweden you certainly recognize them as a mainstay of fika. Regardless of what you call them, they are lovely, slightly sweet buns perfect for accompanying coffee.

I call mine Scandi buns because a) it’s fun to say and b) there’s no cardamom in the ones I make. I know. Scandi-lous.

The recipe I use is based off of this recipe from Girl Versus Dough. I’m not even going to begin to describe the process for cutting and forming these buns because she outlines the steps so well (and does so in a much fancier fashion).

I’ve deviated from the original recipe in a few ways. As mentioned, I don’t use cardamom. Also, I don’t keep date sugar on hand, and while I’m sure it is delicious, I used regular sugar. I did, however, add dried dates, which caramelize really nicely in the baking process. The other significant change is a decrease in the amount of milk and some half & half in its place.


For the dough
1 ½ sticks butter
3/4 cup milk
¼ cup half & half
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, melted

For the topping
1 egg, beaten
Chopped dried dates



  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it’s most melted add the milk and half & half. Once the mixture is between 110 and 120 degress remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl and stir in yeast. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, spices, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. The dough will be soft and slightly warm.
  3. Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface around 10 minutes. The dough should be soft, smooth, and stretchy.
  4. Pour a drop of oil in the bottom of a clean metal bowl. Add the dough ball and flip it once to oil it. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise 1 hour in a warm place. I always find it difficult to gauge if dough has doubled, but it should look significantly larger and poufy.
  5. While the dough is rising combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Remove dough from bowl and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle with the long side facing you. Spread the melted butter on the lower half of the rectangle with a brush. Make sure to spread the butter to the edges. Sprinkle the butter with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  7. Now the fun part! Fold the top half of the dough over the bottom half. Using a pizza cutter slice the dough into 12 even strips. Cut each strip in half, but only up to one inch from the fold. Twist each “leg” of the strip away from each other, tie them in a knot, and tuck the ends. Place formed buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Cover the buns with a towel and let them rise for 20-40 minutes. They won’t double in size, but they will get slightly bigger.
  9. Towards the end of the rise, preheat your over to 400 degrees. Whisk the egg for the topping.
  10. Prior to baking, brush the buns with the whisked egg. Sprinkle each with the dried dates.
  11. Bake buns for 25-30 minutes. Buns should be dark golden brown and thoroughly baked. Your kitchen will smell divine. Promise.
  12. Let cool slightly and share with your bestie!




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