Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Buns/Rolls

Sourdough Cardamom Buns

May 29, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Sourdough Cardamom Buns

Sourdough Cardamom Buns

Sourdough Cardamom Buns

When I was exploring the Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls that I shared recently, I came across Swedish Cardamom Buns from famous Fabrique Bakery in Stockholm, London and New York.  I tried few times using my Sourdough Shokupan (Sweet Stiff Starter) as the base recipe and everything turned out great except the shaping.  I couldn't get the shaping right.  The buns are grossy with sugar crusted.   End of the day, I tried this braided shaping that I tried in my Twisted Cinnamon Buns.  I love about this shaping is because it is easier to understand and turned out nice.  

Since the shaping is different and I baked in muffin pan then I should not call it Swedish Cardamom Buns.  This buns are a delicious change from the usual Cinnamon Buns.   I just got hooked to it.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.


Yields:  12 Buns


Sweet Stiff Starter:
70g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), use at its peak 
215g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
90g water
35g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
150g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All sweet stiff starter (above)
10g brown sugar (I used organic brown sugar)
1 1/8 tsp (7g) salt 
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
35g milk powder (I used full cream/whole milk powder)
50g egg, whisked (from 1 egg), balance use for egg wash
80g water (reserve about 20g and add in later if needed), I used 60g of water for this bread
28g butter, room temperature

*  If you do not want to use egg, please use total 105g of water and omit egg.
*  If milk powder is not available, please replace water in the main dough with whole milk.

55g sugar (I used brown sugar) 
3 - 4 tsp ground cardamom
50g butter, room temperature

Egg Wash: (Optional)
1 egg + 1 tbsp milk

10g brown sugar
5g hot water
10 honey
Pinch of ground cardamom
Pinch of salt

Two 6-cup non-stick muffin pan  (7.5 cm size)


  1. Sweet Stiff Starter 
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together.   It can be done by hand mixing too.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. The starter should look smooth and round dome.  It shouldn't collapse.
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter) into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually torn the stiff starter into pieces first.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until the dough is silky and smooth and until reach window pane stage.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  3. 1st Proofing/Resting:
    1. Round up the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes in the same bowl.
  4. Filling:
    1. Combine cardamom powder and brown sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  5. Shaping:
    1. Roll out on a floured surface into a rectangle roughly about 48cm x 38cm. 
    2. Spread the butter and mixture of sugar and cardamom evenly on the dough. 
    3. Starting with the widest end, fold it into thirds like a letter.   
    4. Divide into 12 equal sections (about 4cm width) with a knife or pizza cutter.
    5. Cut each section with twice down the length to get three strands (leave one end uncut).  Plait the strands and tuck in both ends to become a knot.  Repeat the same for the remaining.
    6. Place the buns into muffin pan.  Please remember to grease your pan if it is not a non-stick pan. 
  6. Final Proofing 
    1. Let it proof at warm place until the dough double in size.  This one took approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes at room temperature of 28C - 29C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Syrup:
    1. Dilute sugar with hot water in a small bowl.  Add in honey, pinch of ground cardamom and salt then stir until well combined.  Keep aside.
  8. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 180C - 190C (top & bottom heat) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash then sprinkle with some ground cardamom (optional). Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
    3. Remove cardamom rolls from oven and brush with sugar and honey syrup immediately. Let them cool on rack.

Please watch this video for shaping:

Sweet Stiff Starter

Main Dough, Shaping and Baking



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.


The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.


The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 


Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 

If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in size.


Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. hi Paws, thanks for sharing the recipe. I tried once (with Cinnamon) and my family loved it :) I have 2 questions: 1) The sugar & cinnamon filling started to melt as I shape which made it a bit difficult to shape. Any way to solve it? The buns became a bit dry on 2nd day. Would it work with Yudane method to keep its moisture?

    1. Hi, thanks for trying the cinnamon rolls. I guess you live in tropical country. The only way is do in aircond room. My butter melted too.. lol. I guess we have same weather. Yes, you can use the Yudane method. However, it is nice to toast the buns before eating.

      Cheers :)

    2. Hi again Paws, thanks for your reply. Yes I live in Singapore so we have quite similar climate :)

    3. You are most welcome!

      Stay safe and happy baking :)


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