Franzbrötchen is a sweet cinnamon sugar-filled pastry roll native to Hamburg, Germany. Think of it as the lovechild of a croissant and a cinnamon bun. Traditionally, it’s made using a laminated pastry dough (called Plunderteig in German), but we’re taking a shortcut using store-bought puff pastry…because, well…it’s easier. This looks like it would be a weekend baking project, but with this little hack you can get it ready super quick, and hassle-free.
I first learnt about Franzbrötchen from one of my Instagram followers – I had put up a story asking what recipes all of you would like me to work on. At the time, I wasn’t even sure what I being asked to make, but I was intrigued by the idea of a German cinnamon roll made to defy the French. Intriguing, right?
What is Franzbrötchen
You can think of Franzbrötchen as a German take on the cinnamon roll. It’s traditionally made using Plunderteig, a laminated pastry dough, similar to a croissant. The most visible difference takes place with the final shaping step, just before baking, to create the traditional Franzbrötchen shape.
As the story goes, back when the French occupied Hamburg in the early 1800s, French soldiers would frequent the local bakeries, and demand croissants and baguettes (called Franzbots).
One baker “accidentally” fried a franzbot in a pan of fat, while others “accidentally” prepared sweeter croissant-like pastries with cinnamon sugar fillings claiming miscommunication. And thus, the franzbrötchen was created in one of history’s more delicious acts of defiance.
Now, this is the story I was told, I’ve not verified it with any actual historical sources so do let me know if this is just a fun folktale!
And just in case you want it, here’s the Franzbrotchen recipe video on YouTube.
How to pronounce Franzbrotchen
Franz-bröt-chen. The ö is pronounced closer to a ‘u’, so think of the pronunciation as franz-bru-chen.
How to bake with store-bought puff pastry
Store-bought puff pastry is surprisingly good. It’s quick, easy to store, and quite delicious. There are a couple of things to keep in mind though to make sure that your franzbrotchen turn out great:
- Use all-butter puff pastry. Accept no substitute!
- Make sure to let the puff pastry thaw before you start using it (otherwise, it’ll snap.)
- Read the instructions properly. I know, I know…but this is actually quite important. (And in case you need a primer, check out How to Read a Recipe.)
Store-bought vs homemade puff pastry
If you’re considering making this using a homemade puff pastry dough, all you need to do is substitute it in. In terms of the difference, there is generally very little discernible difference between homemade and (good) store-bought puff pastries – typically, homemade puff pastry is a little flakier, and will have more visible layers.
If you’re looking for a project, or are a puff pastry aficionado, go for homemade. If you’re just looking to get this delicious German cinnamon roll into your tummy, then a good store-bought puff pastry is your easiest option!
How is Franzbrotchen eaten
Traditionally, franzbrotchen is enjoyed alongside a cup of coffee (…if you’re a coffee and pastry lover, this is a heavenly combination!), or as a sweet breakfast.
These are usually best eaten fresh, but can be stored for 1-2 days in an airtight container. If you want to freeze them, franzbrötchen (once fully cooled) can be placed in a resealable bag, and frozen for up to 2 months. Make sure to allow them to thaw fully before eating!
More baking recipes to try
Once you’re done with this delicious German pastry recipe. Here are a few other baking-centric recipes that you’re sure to love:
- Canadian Butter Tarts
- Kunafah (Middle Eastern Cheese Pastry)
- Lemon Curd Cake with White Chocolate Swiss Buttercream
- Pastilla (Moroccan Chicken Pie)
- Burnt Basque Cheesecake
The link below is an affiliate link. This means that if you choose to purchase using it, I will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). These small commissions help keep Chocolates & Chai going. Thank you.
Since we’re making an easier version of the traditional German recipe, there are no special tools required to make this dish. However, should you want to follow a more traditional approach to German cinnamon buns, check out Classic German Cooking by Luisa Weiss.
And that’s it for today! Have you ever tried Franzbrötchen? What do you think of the shape? Let me know in the comments below.
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Franzbrötchen – German Cinnamon Rolls
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 8–12 franzbrotchen buns 1x
- Diet: Vegetarian
An easier way to make franzbrötchen – a sweet cinnamon sugar-filled pastry roll native to Hamburg, Germany. Think of it as a the lovechild of a croissant and a cinnamon bun.
- Store-bought puff pastry, thawed
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoon butter, softened
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 395 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Brush the unrolled puff pastry gently with a teaspoon of water.
- Combine butter, cinnamon, and sugar in a bowl until well-mixed; spread the filling evenly over the dough.
- Roll the dough up from the long side; press down slightly to make sure it doesn’t unroll. Cut the roll about every 4cm/2 inches (you’ll want to create a very slight ‘V’ shape when cutting each slice), and using the back of a wooden spoon, press down in the middle (it will sort of look like a butterfly…or a fly with big cartoony eyes).
- Place them, spaced out, on a baking sheet, and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden. Enjoy warm!
- Usually prepared using a yeast dough. We are speeding up the process by using store-bought puff pastry for our franzbrotchen. This is one of the few situations where the store-bought pastry is worth using (…unless you just enjoy making puff pastry, in which case, you do your puffy thang. I’ll meet you at step 3) – just make sure to pick a brand that is an all-butter puff pastry.
- This recipe assumes that the unrolled puff pastry dough measures approximately 31.50 inches x 15.75 inches (80cm x 40cm).
- It’s important to note that bake times may vary slightly depending on which store-bought puff pastry you use. The differences shouldn’t be anything crazy, just keep one eye on the oven as you approach the baking time.
- These are best eaten fresh, but can be stored for 1-2 days in an airtight container. Franzbrötchen (once fully cooled) can be placed in a resealable bag, and frozen for up to 2 months.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: German
Keywords: Franzbrötchen, German cinnamon rolls, German cinnamon buns
All of the filling ran out and burnt in my pan. Not sure what I did wrong but I’m not happy.
Same for me. Made a huge mess.
I’ve only made this twice but it worked perfectly for me both times. Maybe you didn’t roll the dough properly? Or you overfilled?