Friday, June 24, 2011

Sweet Ginger Twisted Buns

This month is Bread Baking Day #41 and its 4th anniversary! It’s fun to come up with the theme of BBD. This month’s theme is Local Herbs.
Living in Thailand we eat herbs every day. Thailand has a great variety of herbs. Thai people use many of them in their delicious cooking because of flavor and taste. And many herbs are used for their healing qualities. And what surprised us is that young Thai people, girls and boys, know a lot about herbs. Thai people have a good developed sense of taste. Also children can tell about the presence of sour, hot, sweet, salty and more in their daily food.
There are many Thai herbs to choose from. But, not all will taste good in bread. In our garden we grow ginger, it's easy to grow. And if you're out of ginger you can buy it, all year round, at the local markets. Ginger is a hot herb with a distinct taste. But, when you make sweet ginger something else happens in your mouth. This sweet ginger makes a good combination with bread. I wanted to experience this in my bun.
Normally we have a jar of ginger syrup in the house, but it's Peters favorite Dutch pancake topping. He likes to spread it on a pancake with cantaloupe, but with banana it's also delicious. He ate it all. I had to make a new jar full of it. I was inspired by David Lebovitz candied ginger. I used to make it like this, but now I prefer to leave the slices of ginger in the syrup and take out what I need.

I found a nice shape at Zoë’s Rum and ReasonShe baked these nicely looking almond twists I wanted to use.   nice shape at And after reading her recipe I decided to use the recipe too. Of course I changed the filling and used sweet ginger and added some spoons of ginger syrup. I didn’t have castor sugar and use my regular sugar. I grounded some cardamom pods, I kept them coarse. And finally I used all purpose flour.
It was fun to shape the twists. In the Nordic Bakery Cookbook that Zoë used they describe it as: ‘Cut narrow strips, about 1.5cm wide, across the shortest edge of the pastry rectangle. Holding an end in each hand, twist in opposite directions to make a helix, then coil up like a snail. Tuck the outside edge underneath and place on the prepared trays’. That’s what I did, but I used a bit too much ginger syrup what made the dough a bit slack. No problem, because I just twisted the strips a few times more to keep the ginger filling inside. The result looks more like a snail but is still a nice bun. I like it how the ginger and syrup spreads over the bun.

Because I felt this will be a delicious bun I made the double amount. I will give the original recipe for 24 buns. Because my buns were bigger I could only make 9. 

I’m very happy with this recipe and the taste of the sweet ginger twisted buns is a delight. The sweetness and hot taste of ginger and sometimes a bite with cardamom is great. It's a good thing we gave some to Thai friends, who loved them! We would have eaten them all and probably on the same day. These buns are coming back soon! 
This is what I used:
200 ml milk, luke warm
50 ml ginger syrup
1 egg
85 gr sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
7 gr dried yeast
500 gr all purpose flour
75 gr salted butter at room temp

For the filling:
50 gr salted butter
25 gr sugar
6 Teaspoons of diced sweet ginger
Sweet ginger: 
500 gr fresh ginger
500 gr water
400 gr sugar
pinch of salt

This is what I did:
To make sweet ginger; the week before we bought fresh ginger at the local market. I cleaned the ginger, starting with scraping, but soon sliding the skin with a knife. In a saucepan put 500 gr of water and the whole ginger. Bring to a boil, drain and repeat. This time you leave the ginger in the pan and simmer for half an hour. Be sure your flame is low enough to simmer, otherwise the ginger won't be soft. After half an hour I took out the whole ginger and let it cool. I sliced the ginger in the kitchen machine, with the thinnest knife. I added the sugar to the remaining water and bring to a boil. Add the ginger slices and a pinch of salt and lower the temperature to simmer. Leave until the ginger is soft. The taste of the ginger will be strong and hot, but this changes after you leave it for the night. 
When the ginger is soft for your taste, bring to a boil until it reaches 106C. This is important if you want syrup, this is the temperature the sugar becomes syrup. As soon as you reached this temperature, turn off the gas. After it cooled you can leave it in the pan for the night or transfer to a clean jar. 
When the next day the syrup is not thick enough, you bring it back to a boil and to 106C. 
If you like you can drain the ginger slices and coat them with sugar. A delicious snack. 

To make the dough; warm the milk slightly. In a mixing bowl put an egg and pour the milk little by little, while mixing. Add the sugar, salt and cardamom. Add the flour and yeast and mix for 10 minutes, by hand or in a stand mixer. Feel the dough and check for full gluten development. Take a piece of dough and gently stretch it between your fingers until you can see trough it. When it tears up, you need to knead more. When you can almost see trough it and it is still in tact, you’re done.
Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl, cover and let ferment until double. This will take about 1 hour in a warm kitchen.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Put parchment paper on the peel. Place the dough onto the counter and roll out to a 50 x 30 cm rectangle. Mix the softened butter with the sugar and spread over the whole surface of the dough. Over one side, spread the pieces of ginger. Fold over the other bare side of the pastry to sandwich the filling in the middle.
Cut narrow strips, about 1.5cm wide, across the shortest edge of the pastry rectangle. Holding an end in each hand, twist in opposite directions to make a helix, then coil up like a snail. Tuck the outside edge underneath and place on the prepared trays. Leave to proof for 20 minutes, or until noticeably puffy.
Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

Cool on wire rack or eat while still warm. The next day they tasted even more delicious.

I send these buns to Zorra of Kochtopf and place these buns on my blog for the 4th Anniversary of Bread Baking Day, Bread with local herbs 
I send these twists to Yeastspotting  and BYOB 
I found the twists on Zoë’s Rum and Reason 

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  1. These look soooo good Connie! I've never candied my own ginger before. Bet yours is heavenly. I'll bet the ginger has better flavor and is much fresher than what I can get. The finished rolls are lovely!!

  2. What an awesome variation on those buns! And I'm totally making my own sweet ginger - great instructions :0)