Franzbrötchen (Flaky Cinnamon Rolls)
Baked, Bread, Dessert, Vegetarian

Flaky Cinnamon Rolls (‘Franzbrötchen’)

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Last Updated on 11 months by Tim

Ok, ok… I know the pastry in the recipe picture doesn’t look like a cinnamon roll. It looks like a… croissant!? And yes, it is a kind of croissant. A very special kind that is popular in Northern Germany and known there as “Franzbrötchen”.

It’s made from a flaky pastry called Danish pastry or “Plunderteig” in German. I refuse to call it puff pastry as many American recipe writers do because it is no puff pastry. Puff pastry contains no yeast and has more layers of butter. Croissant dough is no puff pastry.

Flaky pastries are not exclusive to France. They were introduced to Europe by Middle Easterners who invented Filo dough. It was probably through Vienna that laminated doughs like puff pastry and Danish pastry started to spread northwards to Scandinavia and Northern Germany where they remain insanely popular until today.

In general, German recipes for Danish pastry contain less butter than French or Scandinavian recipes. The German version is just as delicious as the ultra-decadent French or Scandinavian version yet it is much easier to digest.

Danish pastry is easy to prepare

The biggest mistake you can make when working with laminated doughs is to be afraid of them. They are very simple to make. You don’t need to freeze your butter or use a ruler to perfectly roll out your dough.

I looked through some American recipes for puff and Danish pastry. Most of them are horrible in my eyes. They are complicated. They are full of unnecessary steps.

It’s no tough science to laminate a dough. You just need to work quickly and confidently. I always notice that a lot of American baking and pastry recipes make it seem like rocket science. The secret to preparing tasty pastries is to act confident and to follow your intuition.

The only thing you need to always keep in mind: Butter and dough need to have the same consistency. Don’t use a cold-spreadable butter that will melt at room temperature. Use a good European-style baking butter with high-fat content. American butter has more water than European butter and is softer: not good. The same goes for brands like Kerrygold which are also designed for good spreadability on bread. The best butter to use for laminated doughs in Germany is the cheap and good old “Deutsche Markenbutter”. Or you can buy a special butter for laminating called “Ziehfett” in German.

How to prepare Danish pastry

A picture says more than 1000 words. Here are some pictures that will show you how I laminate my doughs. Of course, if you use another technique that is also fine. Many roads lead to Rome.

Wrapping the butter
Closing the butter package
Rolling out the dough lengthwise
Folding the dough inwards
Dough folded 3 times
Laminated dough

How to prepare flaky cinnamon rolls

The last part of the recipe is easy and quick. You need to prepare cinnamon rolls, proof them, shape them, and then bake them until golden brown. Here are some pictures in case the written recipe instructions are unclear:

Rolling out the dough and spreading it with cinnamon
Rollin up the dough
Long dough sausage
Individual cinnamon rolls
Shaping the cinnamon rolls
Baked cinnamon rolls

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