Toronto Blueberry Buns (Shritzlach)

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Imagine, if you will, a soft, fluffy, and tender sweet roll encasing thick, lightly sweetened blueberry filling. Sort of like a jelly doughnut, but not deep-fried, and much fresher tasting.

That bit of heavenly yumminess, my dear readers, is a blueberry bun.

Blueberry buns, otherwise known at Shritzlach, are a specialty of the Jewish community in Toronto. Once commonly made at home, these delicious treats are now mainly purchased from local bakeries. I think this might be a Polish recipe (see this recipe for Jagodzianiki and this one for Jagodzianiki z Kruzonka)

Journalist Mathew Goodman was able to get a recipe for this treat from the Open Window Bakery, and he eventually included this recipe in his opus, Jewish Food: The World at Table. The recipe is readily available online, including on Lynn Rosetta Kasper’s site, The Splendid Table.

There are a couple of complaints about this recipe online. While it is generally agreed that the filling is delicious, some think that there is a bit too much of it. A corollary complaint is that the finished buns are a bit too bread-ey.

Here is the thing: it is quite hard to squish all the filling into the buns. The dough needs to be rolled quite thin, and that means that the filled buns can tear open before they bake. If the buns tear open or if the buns are not sealed properly, the filling spills out or the buns explode open as they bake.

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On the other hand, if less filling is used, the buns have a less optimal ratio of dough to filling and can seem excessively bread-ey.

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Or the issue with the dough might be that the recipe itself is ever so slightly somewhat off. I suspect that the Open Window Bakery uses its challah dough for these buns, just scaling 3-4 ounces of dough for each bun. In adapting the recipe for the home cook, there might have been something lost in the translation about how the dough is developed, and that might be why the recipe might not produce buns quite like those from the bakery itself.

The recipe for the buns certainly looks like a challah dough, and I think that this recipe will work with any challah dough as long as you allocate between 3-4 ounces of dough for each bun. The solution to the overfilled bun versus bread-ey conundrum might be using a dough recipe that you are already happy with and slightly reducing the filling.

One more note: these buns are yummy from the oven, but are even better reheated the next day. Reheating the buns until they are crispy on the outside improves them tremendously.

I am submitting these buns to Yeastspotting.

update: here is a recipe for Buchty, Slovakian buns that are filled with cheese or fruit. The method of baking the buns close together prevents the spillage problem.

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17 Responses to “Toronto Blueberry Buns (Shritzlach)”

  1. Julia @ Mélanger Says:

    Oh, I love blueberry buns. I have never had these. Sounds so tempting.

  2. Madam Chow Says:

    Exploded or not, these look absolutely delicious. And I suspect that you are right about converting recipes from bakery-sized ones to home-sized ones.

  3. Susan/Wild Yeast Says:

    Personally I don’t mind filling spilling out. They look delicious!

  4. YeastSpotting August 7, 2009 | Wild Yeast Says:

    [...] Blueberry Buns [...]

  5. Mimi Says:

    Great looking buns!!

  6. Deanne Says:

    Dear pragmatic,
    reading this text as I’m looking for a recipe for stonikes (blueberry buns) is so funny. It is by no way a speciality just by the Toronto Community but an ashkenasic delicacy with deep origins in Poland, Ukraine and Belarus I think. I think people all over bake this in the month of August. Here in Europe we certainly don’t cook the blueberrys first, you simply mix them carefully with sugar and a little potato- oc cornstarch and fill the very thin dough. Seal it closely ( it should look like small boats) and bake in a very hot oven 260-275 degrees celsius. Let them cool a little and just enjoy!

    • pragmaticattic Says:

      Thanks so much for your interesting comments Deanne! It makes so much sense that this would be a more general Eastern European speciality, and that there would a particular time of year that it is traditional to bake it. So stonikes is another name for blueberry buns? Interesting! And I will have to try making these buns without cooking the filling first, as you suggest.

  7. Evelyn Jepson Says:

    I would like to get the recipe from Open Window Bakeries for the Babka..we used to get it every holiday, easter and christmas…now that its not open anymore, it would be lovely to have the recipe, so that I can make it for the families.

  8. sherri morr Says:

    where in Toronto can one buy them
    am going there for vacation next week

  9. Wild Blueberry Coffee Cake « Says:

    [...] ended up in the compost heap. I am not a huge blueberry pie fan, although I do recall some amazing blueberry buns from Open Window Bakery when I was growing up in Toronto. I opted for wild blueberry coffee [...]

  10. A Bit of Brooklyn Says:

    Hi there! I’ve been looking for a recipe to recreate my mother’s favorite childhood treat… I think this may just be it! Thanks!

  11. Wild Blueberry Coffee Cake | Salt and Serenity Says:

    [...] ended up in the compost heap. I am not a huge blueberry pie fan, although I do recall some amazing blueberry buns from Open Window Bakery when I was growing up in Toronto. I opted for wild blueberry coffee [...]

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