Baking and Gardening

Things still feel…weird. I mean, the day to day activities at home are pretty much unchanged since Switzerland went into lockdown, but it still feels odd. Something different in the air. Perhaps it’s that I don’t just pop out to the grocery store whenever I feel like it. Or to any other store, for that matter. We go shopping only once a week now, getting what we need for the week (which involved a lot of frozen veg), and then making a list of things throughout the week that I will find a way to live without until then.

But one thing has improved: gardening! Well, improved in a way. Garden centers are closed, but Landi* is open! Well, the food section is open at least…but…they are allowing online orders for pickup! Which means, we can get our soil, fencing, posts and even seedlings! What with the gorgeous weather we have had (up until last weekend, that is), we have been spending a ton of time in the garden. We went from this:

To this:

Peas are planted in the rows, along with early carrots and some radishes. The seeds I bought online from Zollinger Seeds, a family-run bio-seed company here in Switzerland. They have an amazing selection, and a really good planting calendar. Anyway, the daffodils are about to bloom, and things are looking good! Tomorrow I will pick up my order of lettuce seedlings and leeks from Landi, and next week plant out my Kalettes that are growing nicely inside.

One thing that I really wanted to plant, are Mexican chili peppers, especially Poblanos. I cannot find the seeds available here anywhere, and I’ve tried starting them from seed from the ancho peppers that I have bought, but I think they were processed at too hight of a heat, and the seeds are dead. Ah well.

In cheery news, I have been feeding the sourdough, and it is ready! So last weekend I baked up a batch of cinnamon rolls. I was going to make a cinnamon swirl bread, but then at the last minute decided to roll it out and cut it into rolls instead.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Credit: Eat This Knit That, inspired by King Arthur Flour recipe



-130 g sourdough starter, ripe (fed) or discard

-360 g Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

-2 teaspoons instant yeast

-1 tablespoon sugar

-1 1/4 teaspoons salt

-1 large egg

-70 g butter, softened

-150 ml lukewarm water


-160 g dark brown sugar

-30 g Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

-1 tablespoon cinnamon

-1/4 tsp ground ginger

-small grating of nutmeg

-1/8 teaspoon salt

-1 tablespoon melted butter


-1 1/2 cups (170g) confectioners’ sugar

-pinch (1/16 teaspoon) salt, optional

-1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1 to 2 tablespoons (14g to 28g) milk or cream


To make the dough:

1) Combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead to make a soft, smooth dough.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased container, and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s just about doubled in bulk.

3) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured work surface and gently deflate it, patting or rolling it into a large rectangle.

4) Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving 1 cm of exposed dough along the edges.

5) Starting with the long edge, roll the dough into a log. Cut the log into twelve even slices and place them in a lightly greased 23 cm x 33 cm pan (approximate). Place in a warm place to raise for 30 minutes (I used a proofing oven).

6) At this point, you can let the buns rise for another hour or so and then bake them; or you can place the pan in the refrigerator overnight, covered, and bake the buns the next day (up to 24 hours later). This will increase the sourdough flavor.

6a) To bake the same day: Bake the buns in a preheated 200°C oven for 18 to 22 minutes, until golden. A digital thermometer inserted into the center of a central bun should read 88°C.

6b) To bake the buns after being refrigerated overnight: Remove the pan from the refrigerator and leave the buns covered at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 200°C.

7) Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden.

To make the icing:

1) While the buns are baking, stir together all the ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth.

2) Remove the buns from the oven and cool for at least 5 to 10 minutes before icing (or let cool to room temperature).


*Landi, for those outside of Switzerland, is really the farmers’ store: everything from farm equipment of all sizes, to animal feed, to groceries and local products and produce. I don’t think you can find one in a city – only in the countryside.

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