This recipe is for a northern German relative of the cinnamon bun, called the Franz bun. This sweet temptation is equally delicious, made of yeast dough and filled with a sugar-cinnamon mix that makes it impossible to resist.
The characteristic feature of these buns is their exceptional look, which is caused by pressing the middle of every piece of dough. During the baking process, the filling caramelizes at the surface and gives the bun its characteristic crispy, sweet and sticky taste and texture.
You might ask yourself where this odd name comes from. There is a theory that it derives from the period of Napoleonic occupation in Hamburg during the beginning of the 19th century.
As the French already had their croissants and baguettes, Germans in the northern part of the country seemed to be inspired by those foods, and developed their own way of preparing a similar pastry – but not without paying tribute to its origin.
The prefix “Franz” could therefore be a reference to the German word for the French (“Franzosen”), which gives a hint at the original source of inspiration.
In Hamburg where this pastry originated, people enjoy it for breakfast and as a substitute for cake at the coffee table.
Even today, it is difficult to get this treat at most bakeries, because it is still a specialty that’s unique to northern Germany. For that reason, it’s best to bake a homemade version.
You can even freeze the unbaked pieces and then put them in the oven to enjoy freshly baked treats whenever you like. I recommend indulging in the buns while they are still warm, so the fresh smell of cinnamon can rise to your nose when you take your first bite – simply gorgeous!
This recipe calls for room temperature butter. The easiest way to achieve this is to leave some out on the counter all the time. Find out more on how to go about that safely here.
If you’re a baking expert, try melding this recipe with our homemade pretzel recipe here for a sweet and cinnamony treat. For the classic American recipe, check out our guide to making brioche cinnamon rolls.
For a less sweet treat, explore our brown butter brioche rolls recipe.
Equipment required includes:
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About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.