For months before I started this blog, I had been following the adventures and escapades of a virtual group of like-minded baking enthusiasts called the Daring Bakers. Essentially, what happens every month is that a challenge recipe is selected and every member of the group is asked to make that recipe and post about it on the same day at the end of that month. Goodies that have been part of the challenge in the past include Gateau St Honore (hosted by Anita and Helene), Strawberry Mirror cake (hosted by Peabody), and Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart (hosted by Veronica and Patricia).
Every single month, when I've read the posts of the varied members of this group, I've literally found myself starting to drool. This month's challenge, hosted by Marce is no less drool-worthy. In fact, this month is a double treat of sorts since the chosen recipe for the month was Cinnamon and Sticky Buns using a recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. What that means is that the one base recipe can be used to make either cinnamon or sticky buns and members were given a choice as to which they wanted to make, or if they couldn't choose, to make both!
For my first challenge, I decided to make the cinnamon buns since M loves his kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns). To try to recreate the taste of the buns found in Sweden, instead of just using cinnamon in the filling, I chose to use a mixture of cinnamon and cardamom - one of the allowed modifications for this month's challenge recipe.
To be honest, I was slightly nervous when commencing this recipe for a myriad of reasons but mostly because it was my debut challenge and I wanted to do a good job. Also, since I haven't worked all that much with yeasted doughs, I was worried as to how this would turn out. As it turns out, my fears were not completely unfounded. For one, I found that my dough was really really sticky and hard to roll out. I kept sprinkling flour on my surface and on top of the dough but was worried that this would make the buns hard and doughy. From what I've read, other members did not seem to have this problem so perhaps there was something in the way I whipped up the dough.
In any case, despite the slight executional challenges, the cinnamon buns were totally yummy and won M's approval even if they're not exactly the most picture perfect creations. Given how delicious these were, the sticky bun version will definitely go onto my must-try recipe list. To do justice to this fabulous recipe, please do check out other members' creations here.
PS: To commemorate my official joining of the Daring Baker's group, you'll find a new DB logo on my blog!
Cinnamon and Sticky Buns
From The Bread Baker's Apprentice
Days to Make: One (1)
Active/Resting/Baking Time: 15 minutes to mix, 3 1/2 hours fermentation/shaping/proofing, 20 - 40 minutes to bake
Recipe Quantity: Eight(1) - twelve (12) large rolls or twelve (12) - sixteen (16) small rolls
Making the Dough
- 6 1/2 tablespoons (
3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/2 tablespoons (
2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 1/2 cups (
16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast*
- 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk (DMS) and 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or any other spices you want to use, cardamom, ginger, allspice, etc.)
- White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns or caramel glaze for sticky buns (at the end of the recipe.)
- Walnuts, pecans, or other nuts (for sticky buns.)
- Raisins or other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or dried cherries (for sticky buns, optional.)
*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.
Step 1 - 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).
Note: if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, and add the water with the flour and yeast.
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.
Step 2 - Fermentation: Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
Step 3 - Form the Buns: Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed as shown in the photo below for shaping the buns.
(Text from the photot: (A) 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
Step 4 - Prepare the Buns for Proofing:
- For cinnamon buns: 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.
- For sticky buns: coat the bottom of 1 or more baking dishes or baking pans with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high with a 1/4 inch layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the nuts and raisins (if you are using raisins or dried fruit.) You do not need a lot of nuts and raisins, only a sprinkling. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag.
Step 5 - Proof the Buns: 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.
Step 6 - Bake the Buns:
- Preheat the oven to
350°F( 175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf for cinnamon buns but on the lowest shelf for sticky buns.
- Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes or the sticky buns 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If you are baking sticky buns, remember that they are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. It takes practice to know just when to pull the buns out of the oven.
Step 8 - Cool the buns:
- For cinnamon 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.
- For the sticky buns, cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.
Toppings for the Buns:
White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns
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.)
Caramel glaze for sticky buns
Caramel glaze is essentially some combination of sugar and fat, cooked until it caramelizes. The trick is catching it just when the sugar melts and lightly caramelizes to a golden amber. Then it will cool to a soft, creamy caramel. If you wait too long and the glaze turns dark brown, it will cool to a hard, crack-your-teeth consistency. Most sticky bun glazes contain other ingredients to influence flavor and texture, such as corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystallizing and flavor extracts or oils, such as vanilla or lemon. This version makes the best sticky bun glaze of any I´ve tried. It was developed by my wife, Susan, for Brother Juniper´s Cafe in Forestville, California.
NOTE: you can substitute the corn syrup for any neutral flavor syrup, like cane syrup or gold syrup.
2. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.