I could eat cinnamon rolls every day. This German version is called Franzbrötchen and uses a buttery, layered yeast dough for its base. It's addictive!
About this Recipe
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I know what's on your mind... what's up with the Germans and their weird names for pastries? 😀 To be honest, I was a bit curious as well when I first discovered Franzbrötchen, a German cinnamon roll-ish pastry that's reached cult-status across Germany. Originally from Hamburg, you can find Franzbrötchen at bakeries all across Germany, although you will more commonly find them in the North, which explains why I never came across this pastry when I grew up in and around Trier. And what a shame that is. Franzbrötchen are so uniquely delicious. Traditionally filled with a cinnamon sugar mixture, wrapped in yeast dough layered with butter... how could anyone not fall in love? By now, there are many variations of the fillings ranging from chocolate chips to apples and hazelnut. I couldn't decide either, so I filled one half with a rather traditional cinnamon sugar filling (I use brown sugar and some almond flour in mine) and the other with a seasonally appropriate and super delicious strawberry filling. And while there is typically no glaze or frosting involved with Franzbrötchen, I decided to make a simple glaze of an Austrian strawberry cream liqueur by Mozart and powdered sugar for my Erdbeer Franzbrötchen and it just truly elevated the already amazing Spring flavors in this variation.
But let's go back to the name, Franzbrötchen, which literally translates to 'Franz rolls.' A few rumors exist. One popular story mentions that when Hamburg was occupied by the French in the 19th century, bakeries started baking French bread and one baker, in search for a new pastry recipe, or maybe just by mistake, baked some French bread in a skillet with cinnamon and sugar. Another rumor presents the idea of the French demanding croissants and the bakers of Hamburg deciding to smush them, expressing their resistance. Either way, I'm so so glad Franzbrötchen came to be as they are immensely tasty little buns, and I'd love for you to try them too! Which version will you create?
Scroll on down for the recipe, now in printable version.
More German Pastry Recipes
Next up is a breakfast goodie that I feel great about making for my family. My apple quark muffins are whole wheat and pack so much apple and protein-rich quark. Make sure to subscribe to my blog now, so you're not missing out when this new Apfel Quark Muffin post goes live!
Franzbrötchen mit Plunderteig: German Cinnamon Rolls
For the Butter Layer in the Plunderteig
- 200 g butter
- 50 g flour
Make the Plunderteig
- In the bottom of a bowl fitted for a standmixer (if you have one), combine the milk (luke warm) and yeast and let sit until bubbly (about 5 minutes).
- Add the remaining ingredients and knead until the dough peels away easily from the sides of the bowl (about 8 minutes).
- Cover the dough and allow to rise in a warm spot for about an hour (or until doubled in size).
- Bring the butter for the butter later to room temperature and combine with the flour and shape to a rectangle measuring about 10 by 20 cm or 4 by 8 inches. Transfer to the fridge and allow to harden a bit (I left mine in there about 15 minutes before proceeding).
- Roll out the dough to a rectangle measuring about 25 by 30 cm or 10 by 12 inches. Unwrap the chilled butter rectangle and lay down in the middle. Now wrap the dough around the butter and close it up tightly.
- Roll it out to measure 30 by 40 cm or 12 by 16 inches, which will help to distribute the butter evenly. Now fold the dough into itself, creating 3 layers. Fold the top over the middle and the bottom over both the middle and top. Cover airtight and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat this step two more times and cool in between.
Make the Filling
- Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and almond flour and set aside. Bring the butter to room temperature and set aside.
Make Alternate Filling
- Chop up the strawberries and set aside. Bring the butter to room temperature and set aside.
Make the Franzbrötchen
- Roll out the dough to a rectangle measuring 60 by 28 cm or 24 by 11 inches. Spread on the room temperature butter (I just use my hands). Then evenly distribute the brown sugar-cinnamon-almond flour mixture. Roll up longwise.
- Using a knife or dough cutter, cut into 12 rolls at a slight angle, alternating the angle every time. This is to achieve each roll having a short side and a wide side.
- Turn each roll with the wide side facing the bottom. Now use the stick of a cooking spoon and push the narrow top side down, forcing the cut sides to tilt towards the top.
- Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit / 180 Celsius (Convection: 320 Fahrenheit or 160 Celsius). Place the rolls onto a baking sheet prepped with parchment paper or a reusable silicone mat, cover loosely with a kitchen towel, and allow to rise another 15 minutes.
- Brush on some milk and bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy either warm or cold.
Alternate FIlling and Glaze
- Spread on the room temperature butter and the jam. Distribute the cut up strawberries evenly, then roll up the dough and cut the rolls. After baking, combine powdered sugar and Mozart strawberry liqueur and drizzle over rolls using a fork. So good!
I received compensation from Niche Import Co. in exchange for writing this post. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions, thoughts and recipes are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may be compensated if you click certain links.