We Knead To Bake #25: Black Forest Buns
This is a recipe I had bookmarked ages back, baked way back and even posted on my blog. I was going through some of the posts on this blog when I came across these Black Forest Buns I'm posting today.
The inspiration for these buns came from another blog called The Knead For Bread but unfortunately that blog is no on the net which is sad because it had some really good and unusual bread recipes on it. Luckily for me, I do have my adapted version of those Black Forest Buns.
The husband and daughter are huge fans of the Black Forest cake and even the non-fan of the cake that is me, has started liking it ever since I discovered this non-alcoholic version of the Black Forest Cake. It’s been ages since I baked the Buns and it seemed as good a time to revisit them as any. Also, the combination of red (cherry or strawberry compote) and chocolate seemed just about right for the Valentine’s Day fever that’s taken over every commercial and food space around.
While I have nothing against anyone who celebrates the occasion, I need to make it clear that I don’t do Valentine’s Day, because it goes against the grain with me to pack love and affection for someone dear into one day of red roses, heart shaped boxes of chocolates or whatever, expensive jewellery, staged romantic dinners and whatever else is supposed to count as love on the 14thof February.
Love, whatever form it takes, is something that should be celebrated throughout the year and does not need one day of the year marked for it by people, men mostly, to be constrained to expressing it through garish red hearts and expensive gifts.
I’m as happy as the next woman to be gifted with chocolates and flowers (not necessarily red roses!), though diamonds are really not my thing at all. That said, I don’t need an excuse to celebrate by baking bread, especially when it involves chocolate.
So I chose Black Forest Buns for us to bake this month at We Knead To Bake. Black Forest cake is all about chocolate cake, cherry compote and kirsch (cherry brandy) and loads of cream. These Black Forest Buns are made much like Cinnamon Buns but the filling here is chocolate sponge cake and cherry compote. You could always flavour the compote with a little kirsch if you want to aim for the “real deal” in terms of flavour. Too much would make the buns soggy.
Though the obvious choice of jam/ compote to use here would be cherry, you could always substitute with strawberry jam/ compote which is my personal preference. Strawberry and chocolate just work so well together. Sponge cake works the best here compared to another kind of chocolate cake because it is a little drier and crumbly. A more moist chocolate cake will become “pasty” when baked together with the jam/ compote.
The method of kneading, rolling out the dough, covering it with the filling, and then rolling it back is just like making cinnamon rolls, so it shouldn't be too difficult. You can also finely chopped nuts (toasting them first improves flavour) or mini chocolate chips if you like to the filling for a variation.
This recipe makes a dozen or so largish Black Forest Buns, so halve the recipe for a smaller batch. For a half batch, please roll out your proofed dough into an approximately 9” by 12” rectangle instead of 18” by 12”
Black Forest Buns.
For the Dough:
For the Filling:
- Pour the water and milk in a saucepan, and heat on the stove till quite hot but not boiling. Pour this liquid into a large bowl and add the butter. Stir till the butter is melted. Then add in the sugar and stir till the sugar dissolves. Let this mixture cool down till it is lukewarm, so that the yeast will proof. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast and curdle the egg.
- You may knead the dough by hand or in the processor which is my usual preference. Pour the lukewarm mixture into the processor bowl (if using) and add the yeast and the egg. Pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add about 1 cup of the flour and mix well. Add the salt and more flour, as much as is necessary, and knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic but not sticky.
- Add in the salt and some more flour and mix. Once the mixture becomes difficult to mix, turn it out onto your work surface. Add more flour and continue to knead for about 10 minutes till the dough is not sticky and elastic.
- Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl, turning the dough till lightly coated with oil. Cover loosely, and allow to double in volume, for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
- Now place the dough on a flat surface and roll it out into an approximately 18” by 12” rectangle (or 9" by 12" if using half the recipe).
- Spread the cherry compote/ strawberry jam over the leaving a 1/2 inch all around. Sprinkle the chocolate cake crumbs on top of this. Roll the dough away from you, as snugly as possible, starting with the 18” edge like a jam/ jelly roll (as for cinnamon buns). Try to pinch the dough closed as best as possible, or dampen the edge with a little water to seal well.
- It is important to roll up the dough as tightly as possible because this dough does swell up quite a bit while baking.
- Cut the roll into 1 1/2" wide pieces with a very sharp knife/ dough scraper. You should have 12 pieces for the full recipe and 6 for half of it. Place each piece in a mould (or make collars using foil or parchment paper to fit well around each piece)and then on a baking tray. Otherwise place them in a lightly greased rectangular baking tin with raised sides or a cake tin leaving enough space for them to expand (I used a 9" cake tin for a half batch of this recipe).
- A round cake tin will however not give you perfectly round buns but buns that are more triangular in shape. If you place them too far apart, they will spread rather rise in height. Cover loosely, and allow to rise, for about 1 hour or till almost double.
- Bake at 180C (350F) for 25 - 30 minutes, until the buns are done and nice golden brown in colour. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Drizzle with melted chocolate and serve.
This recipe makes 12 Black Forest Buns.
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