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Apple Cinnamon Bulkas (buns)

Orna's Apple Bulka Twists

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Update 9.7.23

Recipe updated

NEW YouTube video below


What if I added apples to my already delicious Cinnamon Bulka Twists?

O.M.G. Definitely the best thing I ever made.

Silky brioche dough, twirled to form tender, buttery buns bursting with juicy apples and cinnamon.

Like easy, home-made Danish pastries. (Way better than Starbucks’ new Apple Croissants!)

You won’t even believe you made them yourself!

Apple Cinnamon Brioche Breakfast Buns Boolkes

Join my Bulka Banter Facebook group and show us your bulkas! 

I considered adding honey to the dough for an extra sweet Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), but decided that would be too similar to my Apple & Honey Challah.

Apple pie filling (a trick learned from master baker and mentor, Marcy Goldman) not only eliminates all that peeling and chopping, but happens to seal the layers together so the dough doesn’t come apart. (I thought I’d be left with unruly piles of dough-gone-wild, and to my surprise, no matter how they looked going into the oven, they still came out gorgeous!)


Milk Street’s hack makes rising and cooling the dough faster and a breeze to roll into a square. (Don’t worry if you don’t have a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish, just use the usual ball-into-a-bowl method)

Brioche dough bulk ferment in rectangle 9 x 13 inch baking dish


I tried winding the dough around my fingers (as I do in my Cinnamon Bulka Twists) but those apples were slip-sliding away! 🎶

Simply coil the strip into a snail shape (on the counter!) and tuck the end snugly underneath.

I will warn you that your counter will be a sticky, gooey mess, but it’s worth it! (A bench scraper and moist towel will keep you out of too much trouble 😉)

Most importantly, have fun! (Watch my YouTube video for step-by-step instruction!)

I hope you love these Apple Cinnamon Bulkas as much as we do! 🍏 ❤️

Please share this with family and friends who love Bulkas or Baking.

Join my Bulka Banter Facebook group and show us your bakes!

I always love hearing from you.


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Cinnamon Bulka Twists Recipe

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This post may include Amazon affiliate links

Orna's Cinnamon Apple Bulkas

Apple Cinnamon Bulkas (buns) aka Boolkes

Apple studded Cinnamon Buns with my new and improved brioche dough and time-saving shortcuts. Bulkas aka Boolkes are traditional in South Africa, Australia, and around the world for Breaking The Fast on Yom Kippur.
Join Bulka Banter on Facebook and show us your bakes! And please tag @ornabakes and share with your family and friends who love bulkas!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 16




  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter melted and cooled (Recommended: Kerrygold or other grass-fed)
  • cup (63g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs room temperature, lightly beaten with a fork
  • ¾ cup (183g) whole milk lukewarm (100 – 110°F/38 – 43°C)
  • 3 ½ cups (420g) bread flour or all purpose flour unbleached, plus more for shaping
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast recommended: SAF Gold
  • canola or vegetable oil spray


  • cup (76g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (16g) ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons (18g) bread flour or all purpose flour
  • pinch salt


  • 21 oz (595g) can apple pie filling chopped into small pieces, extra goo removed


  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • pinch salt
  • pinch sugar plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling



  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • To the bowl of your stand mixer add butter, sugar, salt, eggs, milk, flour, yeast. Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed (or with a spatula) until well combined.
  • If time permits, you can cover and rest the dough for 12 – 15 minutes (autolyse). This allows the flour to absorb all the moisture, making the dough easier to knead and you will need less flour overall.
  • Scrape the paddle and the bowl and switch to the dough hook. Knead for about 10 minutes on low speed; scrape the bowl and turn the dough over after 5 minutes. Dust in a tablespoon of flour if the dough doesn't start to pull away from the sides or is very sticky; the dough should be tacky but not sticky and should pull away from the sides. (See my YouTube video for visual cues) Try not to add too much flour or your buns will be heavy.
  • WINDOWPANE test: break off a small piece of dough and gently stretch it out between your fingers until you can almost see through it; if it tears or is hard to stretch, the gluten hasn't developed enough so knead a little longer and check again. (See my YouTube video for how to do this) See Notes.
  • Scrape onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand briefly to make sure you have a soft, supple, elastic dough. Use a bench scraper to help lift/move the dough and sprinkle flour on the counter if necessary.


  • Press dough into well oiled rectangular baking dish into an even layer as thin as possible stretching and pushing it into the corners.
  • Or form into a ball and place in large bowl sprayed/brushed with oil; press down to flatten (so you can tell when it has doubled in size) and lightly spray top of dough (or turn dough over).
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warmish spot, free from draughts, for 30 – 60 minutes until the yeast starts to activate and it starts to rise.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours (the longer the better to develop flavor). Dough should be chilled completely and double in size. (4 or more hours will give you a better result)


  • Stir butter with firm spatula or spoon to soften. Add remaining filling ingredients and mash/whip to form a smooth paste. Cover and set aside. You can make ahead and refrigerate for 24 hours; bring to room temp before using. 


  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter (smooth side down). If it was in a bowl press down firmly with both hands to deflate/degass, patting it into a rough rectangular shape that’s an even thickness, gently tugging on the corners. (It’s easier to roll into a rectangle if already in that basic shape)
  • Lightly flour top of dough and roll into about 16-inch/40-cm square about 1/4 inch/1/2 cm thick. Keep lifting and moving dough and flouring board to make sure it doesn’t stick. Gently pull out corners if getting rounded.
  • Use a ruler/dough scraper to gently mark dough in vertical thirds. With an offset spatula, spread an even layer of cinnamon filling over left and middle thirds, going all the way to edges.
  • Spread apples over it in a thin, even layer; you will have some apples and quite a lot of goo left over. Don't be tempted to add too much or you'll be left with a big, sticky mess!
  • Fold right third without filling over middle, and left third over it like a business letter. (letter fold)
  • Rotate dough so seams are at top and bottom. Press down gently with your hands and roll out a bit to widen (just over 20 inches/50cm) so you can cut 16 slices.


  • Have a half-moist/half-dry towel standing by for your fingers (things can get messy!).
  • Trim left and right edges with sharp chef knife (be careful not to cut your dough mat or slide a flexible cutting mat under as you cut); set aside in case you have a small piece on the end. (Or twirl them up and form a mini-bun for tasting 😉)
  • Cut the dough in half vertically and then again and again until you have 16 vertical strips about 1 1/8 inches/3 cm wide and about 8 inches tall.
  • Keep your strip on the counter and gently twist both ends until you have a spiral. Coil to form a snail shape and tuck the end underneath. (WATCH MY YOUTUBE VIDEO FOR HOW TO DO THIS)
  • Place on prepared baking sheet (8 per sheet) at least 2 inches/5 cm apart – they will rise and grow a lot! Press any rogue apples back in and scoot the bun with your fingers to keep round shape. (You don't need to pinch the bottom to seal because the apple goo is like glue!)


  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in warmish spot to proof for 45 – 60 minutes until puffy (not quite double in size). (Or refrigerate overnight and bring to room temperature 30 – 40 minutes before baking) See Notes below for how to test for proper proofing.


  • Beat egg, water, salt and sugar with a fork until well blended.


  • Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C (STANDARD).
  • Gently brush first tray of buns all over with egg wash. Carefully wipe any excess off parchment with folded paper towel.
  • Sprinkle quite generously with sugar.
  • Bake on middle rack for 15 – 18 minutes until golden brown all over and buns don’t feel squishy/doughy. (200 – 210°F/93 – 98°C on thermometer) Rotate pan after 10 minutes. If buns are getting too brown (but still doughy), cover loosely with foil and/or place on a second baking sheet. Or lower oven to 350°F/180°C after 10 – 12 minutes.
  • Place baking sheet on cooling rack to cool.
  • Repeat with second tray.
  • Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Best enjoyed on day they are made, but will last 2 – 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature (do not refrigerate).
  • Reheat/refresh at 300°F/150°C for 3 – 5 minutes, loosely covered with foil.


  • Freeze in ziplock bags, expelling as much air as possible. Thaw at room temperature and reheat as above.


  • I prefer to make, bake, cool, freeze. But you can freeze buns before baking for up to 5 days: place on parchment-lined baking sheet (uncovered), freeze until solid then place in an airtight container separated by parchment, or in freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Thaw overnight in refrigerator on baking sheet loosely covered with plastic. Let sit at room temperature 30 – 40 minutes. Bake as above.


  • After proofing (in a large bowl), turn dough out onto counter and cut in half with bench scraper. Place flat side down and press down with your hand to flatten and pat into rectangle. Cover with plastic and place in ziploc bag for up to 24 hours while you work with first half.


  • Substitute stick margarine for the butter and oat milk or almond milk for the whole milk.
    Special thanks to Glynis Rosenberg Smith for making my recipe and sharing her parve version with me. 😍


  • This is a soft, tender dough, so the Windowpane test may not work as well as with bread dough, but you can use it as a guide. The refrigerator will help the dough come together.
  • Rising the dough in the refrigerator (slow cold rise) develops flavor, so longer is better (up to 24 hours), and cold dough is much easier to work with. The rest in the fridge will help the dough to come together.
Keyword apple boolkes, Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Buns, breakfast, Break The Fast, Yom Kippur, brioche dough, make-ahead, cinnamon buns, South African, cinnamon apple buns

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4 Responses

    1. I don’t see why not – just watch that any apples poking out don’t burn – you can cover loosely with foil if you see them browning too fast. Please let us know how they turn out – send pics! xo

  1. 5 stars
    Just made these apple/cinnamon bulkas. Love that the dough is more like brioche. Next time will use less apples – was so messy rolling them but they look amazing and taste delicious. Baking time was perfect. Thanks so much. My family loves your cinnamon bulkas – about to deliver the apple/cinnamon ones.

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