16 September 2008

Cinnamon Buns

Every year for my husband's birthday, I get up early and make him cinnamon rolls. Most years I just use pre-made stuff (you know, like the biscuits in a can?). This year, though, I decided to make them from scratch. The Daring Bakers made cinnamon rolls last year before I joined up, and they looked so good. I decided that this year, I was making those yummy looking cinnamon rolls for the Hubs.

I made the bulk of the recipe the night before, then set my alarm for 3am to pull the dough out of the fridge to temp (!). We weren't disappointed: warm and gooey, sticky cinnamon goodness stuck to your fingers while you pulled apart the soft bread for breakfast: cinnamon rolls (buns) have a special place in this world, and the warm just-out-of-the-oven ones are insanely good. Just trust me, and give these a shot.

There is a reason 90% of the Daring Bakers threw away their previous Cinnamon Roll recipe and made this their main stay.

Cinnamon Buns

6 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
5 1/2 Tbsp. shortening or unsalted butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. lemon extract OR 1 tsp. grated zest of 1 lemon
3 1/2 c. unbleached bread or all-purpose flour2 tsp. instant yeast*
1 1/8 to 1 1/4 c. whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 c. cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar + 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon)
White fondant glaze (at the end of the recipe.)

*Instant yeast contains about 25% more living cells per spoonful than active dry yeast, regardless of the brand. Instant yeast is also called rapid-rise or fast-rising.

Making the Dough: Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand).

Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball.

Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture.

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Fermentation: Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Form the Buns: Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.)

Prepare the Buns for Proofing: line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.

Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.

Bake the Buns:Preheat the oven to 350 F with the oven rack in the middle shelf for cinnamon buns. Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool the buns: Cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Cinnamon buns are usually topped with a thick white glaze called fondant. There are many ways to make fondant glaze, but here is a delicious and simple version, enlivened by the addition of citrus flavor, either lemon or orange. You can also substitute vanilla extract or rum extract, or simply make the glaze without any flavorings.

Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and 6 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk slowly and only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.

When the buns have cooled but are still warm, streak the glaze over them by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze and letting it drip off as you wave them over the tops of the buns. (Remember to wear latex gloves.)


Snooky doodle said...

i love these. That s why I don t make them . I ll end up eating them all. :-) Maybe you can solve my problem by sending me one :-)These look really delicious.

Heather said...

wow they look AMAZING! i think cinnamon buns are easily the most addicting things on this planet. yours look gooey and PERFECT!

Cate said...

I have the Bread Baker's Apprentice but didn't know this recipe was in it! I'm definitely going to make these very soon!

Anonymous said...

hey auntie! it's nicole here! these look great! a lot more appetizing than the cereal i have every morning. i guess that's what college is all about though, right? haha.

Jenny said...

I thought those looked familiar!

Anonymous said...

Yum! I've been meaning to get this cookbook. I think you've convinced me with this post!