Vanilla Butter Knots

Vanilla Butter KnotsI love dough wrapped around in coils, or tied up in knots. I like it when it’s all soft, filled with cinnamon, or cardamom and eaten with a strong cup of coffee on a winter’s day. I also love the basic flavour of vanilla. Not that cheap vanilla you find in awful buttercream, but proper vanilla, not from an ‘essence’ but from actual vanilla pods. Combine these two basic concepts and you’ve got something special; a Vanilla Butter Knot. It’s not quite as heavy as a cardamom knot or a cinnamon role, but it’s soft and not overpoweringly sweet. It still goes great with a flat white, or alongside a cup of earl grey in the morning.

Vanilla Butter KnotsVanilla Butter Knots

Having a very rare free Saturday in summer, I had a few different options lined up for how I wanted to make the most of the time. Around lunchtime the heavens opened, and the rain didn’t go anywhere for about seven hours. This is the perfect kind of weather for baking, and it makes me want to bake something homey and comforting. I feel like this summer has been full of these drab rainy days, where it’s not even all that warm and it just feels like we’ve jumped ahead to autumn.

Vanilla Butter KnotsVanilla Butter Knots

When you spread the butter filling out across the dough it may look like it’s a bit thin, but there is absolutely enough vanilla butter. When you fold it over, it’ll double up and when you come to twisting and knotting the individual strands you’ll have to be careful not to squeeze it all out.

Vanilla Butter Knots

 

Vanilla Butter Knots
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 16 Buns
Ingredients
  • **For the dough**
  • 13 g dried yeast
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 80g butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 400g white strong flour +100g in a separate bowl
  • ½ tsp cardamom, ground
  • 1tsp vanilla seeds (straight from the pod, not any extract as it's too wet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sesame seeds, to decorate
  • **For the filling**
  • 100g butter, at room temperature
  • 50g sugar
  • 2tsps vanilla extract (or use the seeds from 1 vanilla pod)
  • **For the syrup**
  • 3 tbsps golden
  • 6 tbsps water
Instructions
  1. Heat the milk gently in a small saucepan until it's about 36°C. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in the yeast. Leave for 10 minutes while you measure out the other ingredients.
  2. Attach a dough hook and start stirring as you pour in the slightly cooled butter.
  3. Allow to mix for about a minute before stirring in the sugar and leaving to mix for another minute.
  4. Mix the 400g of flour with the cardamom, vanilla and salt.
  5. With the mixer running, start adding the flour mix to the wet a heaped tablespoon at a time. Add in half the beaten egg (you'll need the other half later).
  6. Allow to knead for 5 minutes in the bowl (or 7 minutes by hand). If you need to add more flour then do so from the reserved 100g. However, you want the dough to be soft and a little sticky (it should be sticky to the touch but not come away with your finger) to avoid dry buns.
  7. Lightly oil a large bowl, transfer the ball of kneaded dough to it, cover with a dish cloth and place in warm place to rise. Leave for around 30 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
  8. While the dough is rising, make the butter filling by beating the sugar, vanilla and butter together until soft and creamy. You want it spreadable but not too loose.
  9. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangle measuring 40cm x 50cm.
  10. Using a spatula, spread the butter filling evenly across the rectangle.
  11. Fold along the long side, so you have a rectangle of 50cm x 20cm.
  12. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, divide the rectangle into 16 long strips.
  13. Stretch each out slightly as you twist them and then 'knot' them. I'm not that great at this bit so sort of freeformed them, just make sure the ends are either underneath or inside, to stop the knot coming undone when you bake.
  14. Transfer all the buns to a baking sheet or two and cover with a cloth. Leave to prove for another half an hour.
  15. While they're rising, pre-heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan assisted).
  16. Brush each bun with the remaining beaten egg and place in the center of the pre-heated oven.
  17. Bake for 10-12 minutes, but for the last couple of minutes, keep your eye to make sure they don't catch. You may need to move some around. You want them golden but not too dark.
  18. While they're baking, make the glaze by heating the water with the golden syrup in a pan.
  19. Remove the baked buns from the oven and cover with a damp cloth for a few minutes. This is to stop them from drying out.
  20. Spread the glaze over the top of each bun and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.
  21. They're at their best for the first 24 hours.
 
Vanilla Butter Knots