Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Buns/Rolls

Twisted Chocolate & Cardamom Buns (Sourdough)

October 14, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Twisted Chocolate & Cardamom Buns (Sourdough)

Twisted Chocolate & Cardamom Buns (Sourdough)

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Cardamom and chocolate are always good match.  I purchased these stainless steel round mould rings sometime ago and had no idea what to do with it. Then I saw some beautiful chocolate buns online recently and thought I could maybe use the rings to bake Twisted Chocolate & Cardamom Buns.  

I try to consume less sugar so I did not add sugar to the filling as I used Valrhona Jivara 40% chocolate which already has some sweetness.  Please go ahead and add sugar in the filling if you would like it sweeter.

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.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

How To Make Twisted Chocolate & Cardamom Buns (Sourdough)

Yields:  9 buns


Sweet Stiff Starter:
70g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), preferably 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 stiff starter (above)
20g brown sugar (I used 15g organic brown sugar)
1 1/4 tsp (6.6g) salt
3 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
50g egg, whisked 
60g whipping or heavy cream
20g water (please hold back 10g and add in later if require)
30g butter, room temperature

Chocolate Filling:
100g Valrhona Jivara 40% chocolate
50g butter
40g brown sugar (I omitted)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (Valrhona cocoa powder)
40g almond meal
Pinch of salt

Handful of almond flakes
Egg wash:  1 egg + 1/2 Tbsp water
Some icing sugar, optional

Baking tray, lined with parchment paper
9 units x Round Mould Ring (8 cm diameter X 5 cm height), lined the side with parchment paper or greased

  1. Sweet Stiff Starter (Prepare one night in advance)
    1. Dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and mix in bread flour to become a dough.  Please use stand mixer with paddle attachment to mix if you find hard to mix with hand.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and left it in aircond room (about 24C - 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 28C - 30C. The starter should look smooth and round dome.  It shouldn't collapse.
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter), including all the stiff starter into a bowl of stand mixer.  I usually like to loosen the stiff starter dough by tearing slightly.
    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 about a minute 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 at low speed #2 (KA) or until the dough comes together.  Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes at low speed #2 or until the dough become smooth and shiny, and  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. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 30 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with cling film or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 45 minutes and the dough rose slightly in 45 minutes.  (I did not find any big differences between 30 minutes to 60 minutes rest.  So, please follow your schedule).
  4. Filling:
    1. Add all the filling ingredients (except almond meal) in  a heat proof bowl.  Place on a saucepan with simmering water, stir until butter, chocolate and sugar melts.
    2. Stir in the almond meal and leave a side to cool.  
  5. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface then divide dough into 9 equal portions (approx. 83g each for mine). Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Rest for 15 minutes.
    3. Please watch the video "How To Shape Twisted Buns"
    4. Place bun into the prepared round ring.
  6. Final Proofing:
    1. Let the buns proof at a warm place until the dough rise double in size and almost reach the rim of the ring.   This one took approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes at room temperature of 29C - 30C (my kitchen temperature).  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle some almond flakes on top.
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
    4. Remove bread from oven and let them cool on rack.  
    5. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top (optional)

Sweet Stiff Starter

Chocolate Filling

Main Dough


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.  

There are so many ways and methods of how to maintain the starter.  Below is my method of starter maintenance.  This is just for your reference. Please try and find a way or schedule that works best for you.

I bake almost everyday.  So, my starter is left at room temperature and I feed it twice a day every 12 hours at its peak when it is tripled.

10.00 am - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 26C - 27C
10.00 pm - at ratio 1:10:10 at room temperature 25C - 26C 

I feed a very small amount of 1g starter + 10g water + 10g flour if I am not baking, so that I will not end up with too much discard.  When I am baking, I will feed the starter accordingly to make up the quantity required by the recipe to be baked. If I know that I won't be baking for a few days, I will then feed it only once a day at 1:10:10, transfer to the fridge when it is doubled, and feed again 24 hours later.

If you do not bake daily or if you bake perhaps once or twice a week, then you may place your starter in the fridge and feed once a week.  But, you will need to refresh your starter 2 days before the baking day. There is no way around this, sourdough baking takes planning! 

How I judge my starter is healthy?  My starter usually tripled in size (or at least double) in within 3 - 4 hours at room temperature (27C - 28C) for feeding ratio of (1:1:1 = starter:water:flour)

When is a starter at its peak?  My sourdough starter is usually at its peak when it is tripled in the jar. The surface of my starter looks bubbling and uneven.  It usually stays at its peak within 30 - 60 minutes before it starts to reduce/fall.  

Why use starter at its peak?  This is when the starter is most active and it will result in a better rise for your bread in general.  By the way, you can use when it is doubled/before its peak too.  But, not it starts to fall.

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.

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. 

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.


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