Poppy Seed Twirls


Sunday mornings are an institution in Germany. You meet with the entire family around the breakfast table, and everything that is remotely appropriate to eat for breakfast comes on the table. Then you eat so much that you almost cannot move any longer, which is why you go for a walk in the countryside around afternoon 😉 To me this is exactly the realization of what Danes call “hygge“. Now if you can offer some homemade poppy seed twirls to your family, they will surely wonder: how much better can a Sunday morning get? 🙂

Using ground poppy seeds in sweet baking is a typical German / Austrian thing to do. Funnily enough, I found this recipe in the baking book of Dane Tobias Hamann, who won the Danish version of the Great British Bake-Off in 2014. I must say, it is really a pity that his recipes are only published in Danish and thus not available to everybody, because he is so creative with his ingredients! These poppy seed twirls are not a traditional German bake, I would say, rather a Danish interpretation of German baking, but this is what makes it even more exiting to me 😉 And the dough is really soft and smooth and balances off perfectly with the sweet bitterness of the poppy seeds.

Ingredients (gives about 14):

For the dough: For the filling:
40 g yeast 70 g ground poppy seeds
400 ml milk 100 g sugar
1 egg 180 g butter, room tempered
80 sugar
1.5 tsp cardamom 1 egg for brushing
2 tsp salt
500 g wheat flour
350 g spelt flour
120 g butter, room tempered

For the dough:

Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add the egg. Add the yeast-milk bit by bit and knead the dough for about 15 min. Cut the butter into small cubes and knead them into the dough, again kneading for about 15 minutes. Let the dough rest for about 1 hour at a warm place.

For the filling:

Grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder or use a mortar to get s fine mass. The seeds will loose some of their fat, so it is completely natural, that the seeds will stick together and not get a fine flour-like texture. Whisk together all of the ingredients and leave the filling in a warm place, so the soft butter keeps it’s consistency.

Assembling the twirls:

Sprinkle the countertop with a bit of flour and roll the dough to a rectangle of about 35 x 45 cm. Spread the poppy seed filling on the dough, such that the entire surface is covered. Fold in a third of the dough like a letter, then fold the other third on top, such that you get three layers. Roll this out again to a rectangle of about 25 x 45 cm, cut the rectangle into 14 strips of equal width.

Carefully take one of the ends of one strip in each hand, and turn them counterclockwise around their own axis. Wind the twine twice around two of your fingers and fold the end over the dough and press it down in between your fingers. Transfer to a baking sheet with baking paper and continue with the remaining strips. Let the twirls rest for 1 hour until they are doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Whisk the egg together and brush the twirls with it. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown.

Tip: If you cannot eat 14 at a time, you can easily freeze them and defrost the again in the microwave, one at a time 🙂 Furthermore, they taste even nicer if you serve them with clotted cream and jam!


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