'What are you doing?' asked Tommy.'Well, if I say I'm sweeping the chimney you wouldn't believe me, as clever as you are' said Pippi. 'As a matter of fact, I'm baking but that will soon be out of the way. You can sit on the wood box in the meantime.'
Pippi could work very fast. Tommy and Annika sat on the wood box and watched how she cut her way forward through the dough, and how she threw the biscuits onto the tins, and how she slung the tins into the oven. They thought it was all rather like something in the films.
'All clear' said Pippi at last, slamming the oven door after the last tins with a bang.
In Kastellgatan street in Gothenburg live the strongest girls in Sweden: Fanny, Lizette and Sabina. They have shapely muscly arms and broad shoulders: everyday they work from the middle of the night, all day and their husbands never see them. (But their husbands still love them for they smell of yeast, cinnamon, sweat and sugar). These ladies dress like pirates; striped tee shirts, bandanas, rolled up trousers and wear no makeup bar a fine white powder dusted over their pale complexions. Fanny is their leader, she owns this Sourdough bakery Alvar and Ivar which has the very highest standard of ingredients. Little girls watch them work and go home and dream of becoming bakers.
Kanelbullar (Fanny's recipe)
500g whole milk
50g fresh yeast
500g plain flour
350g spelt flour
125g cane sugar
10g cardamom seeds
100g butter at room temperature
50g cane sugar
15g ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp water
Prepare the filling: mix butter, sugar, cinnamon and water to make a paste.
Prepare the dough: put flour, yeast, sugar, salt, cardamom and milk in a bowl, add the butter in pieces and mix the dough for five minutes. It should be smooth and a bit shiny.
Let it rest for 20 minutes then put it on a floured surface.
Divide it into two pieces, shape them as loaves and out them in the fridge for one hour to rest.
Take out one piece and, on a well floured surface, roll it out to a rectangle of approximately 20 x 30 cms and 3mm thick.
Spread the filling gently with a palette knife or dough scraper all over the rectangle. Evenly; not too thin, not too thick.
Starting at the top, fold the edge carefully and start rolling it downwards. You want a thinnish roll as this means you get more filling in your bun.
When you have a nice roll, cut your roll into 2.5cm slices, put them on a baking tray, cover and let them rise somewhere where it is warm until doubled in size.
Spray them with water if they start to dry.
Then brush with milk or a lightly beaten egg, sprinkle some cane sugar on top and bake them at 250 degrees centigrade for around 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Alvar and Ivar bakery, Gothenburg.