Recipe by Meike Peters

Lemon Cardamom Crescent Milk Rolls with Poppy Seeds

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Dairy Dairy
Medium Medium
10 Servings
1 Hour, 50 Minutes

As soon as these puffy golden yeast rolls leave the oven, they fill the kitchen with the sweetest smell of butter, cardamom, and citrus. Soft crescent milk rolls are a classic German breakfast treat, made even more tempting with sweet lemon-cardamom butter. Makes 10 crescent rolls




  • 3 and 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon (500 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 (1/4-ounce / 7-gram) envelope fast-acting yeast

  • 1 teaspoon Tuscanini Fine Sea Salt

  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (220 milliliters) whole milk, lukewarm

  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 1 large egg


  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom


  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons poppy seeds


Prepare the Dough


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, butter, and egg—the mixture should be lukewarm.


Add to the flour mixture and use the dough hooks of an electric mixer to mix for a few minutes or until well combined.


Transfer the dough to a work surface and continue kneading it with your hands for a few minutes or until you have a soft and silky ball of dough.


Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place, or preferably in a 100-degrees-Fahrenheit (35-degrees-Celsius) warm oven, for 70 minutes or until doubled in size.

Prepare the Filling


In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, lemon zest, sugar, and cardamom until fluffy.


Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Assemble and Bake


When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, take it out of the bowl, and knead for about 30 seconds.


Divide the dough into 10 equal (roughly 3-ounce / 85-gram) portions and use your hands to roll each portion into a smooth ball.


Lightly flour a work surface and use a rolling pin to roll out each portion into an eight-inch-long (20 centimeter) triangle shape, about four inches wide (10 centimeters) at the base.


Spread a thin layer of the lemon-cardamom butter onto each triangle then, starting at the base, roll each triangle up toward its tip.


Bend the rolls into crescent shapes; make sure the pointy tip of the triangle is tucked underneath, so the rolls don’t open while baking.


Arrange the rolls on the lined baking sheets, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Reserve the remaining cardamom butter for serving.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). For the topping, whisk together the egg yolk and water and brush onto the tops of the crescent milk rolls.


Sprinkle generously with poppy seeds and bake, one sheet at a time, for about 11 minutes or until golden. Serve with the reserved butter. The rolls taste best on the first day.


This recipe excerpted from Eat in My Kitchen (Prestel, 2016). Reproduced with permission.

Lemon Cardamom Crescent Milk Rolls with Poppy Seeds

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