Cinnamon and Raisin Buns

June enjoys cooking her mother’s precious recipe for boolkes – a cinnamon and raisin bun with yeast, served warm to break the fast of Yom Kippur.

Time: 2 hours (not including dough rest period)

Serves: 40


  • 50g fresh yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1⁄ 4 teaspoon extra
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus 1⁄ 4 teaspoon extra
  • 250g butter
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 150ml milk
  • 150ml cream
  • 6 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • a little oil, for spraying


  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup melted butter, for brushing
  • handful sultanas
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 100g sugar


Crumble the yeast into a small bowl. Add the water, 1/4 teaspoon sugar and1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place until very frothy.

Melt the butter and margarine, but do not boil. Add the milk and cream, and set aside.

Sift the flour, sugar and salt together. Beat the eggs with the extra yolk until frothy. Add the flour mixture to the eggs, then add the yeast mixture. Beat with a dough hook for 10–12 minutes, or knead by hand. Place the dough in a bowl that has been sprayed with oil, and cover with plastic. Leave it in a warm place until the dough doubles in bulk, about 6 hours, depending on the weather.

Throw the dough onto a floured board, divide into three and knead each piece. Add as little flour as possible, as it will only make the dough heavy. Knead as little as possible, as it spoils the texture. The dough must be just manageable. Ensure there is a little flour on the rolling pin and roll each piece of dough out until about 20cm wide and 5mm thick.

Make the cinnamon sugar by combining the sugar and cinnamon. Brush the dough generously with melted butter, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar and sultanas, and roll up lengthwise. Cut the log into 5cm sections and place in the cups of large muffin tins, sliced side up. Mix the beaten eggs with a little water and brush the top of the dough.

Mix the streusel ingredients and sprinkle generously on top. Leave to prove or increase in bulk for about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Boolkes freeze well. Reheat, covered in foil.

Recipe taken from Cooking From Memory by Gaye Weeden, Hayley Smorgon and Natalie King

Part cookbook, part history lesson, this book illustrates the story of the Jewish Diaspora inAustraliathrough personal stories and delicious recipes that rouse taste buds and memories of the past. Readers meet 21 cooks who have migrated toAustraliafrom places likeGeorgia, Italy andIsrael, as well as fromJapan, South Africa andVietnam. While their stories of courage and hardship differ, food and flavours filled their Jewish homes with love, no matter where they lived. Readers can feast their eyes on beautiful photography while learning recipes for Sephardi couscous, chicken soup, gefilte fish, and strudel – as well as indulging in rich Jewish culture and tradition.

You can purchase Cooking From Memory at

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

Related articles:
Fruit Mince Tarts
Baked Apple Crumble

Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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