Sunday, September 30, 2007

Buns in the Oven

cinnamonbuns


The month is quickly coming to an end and that means it's Daring Baker time again. The group has already survived ten other monthly challenges to date and for this month's recipe, hostess Marce of Pip in the City chose Peter Reinhart's cinnamon buns and/or sticky buns. I've never made cinnamon or sticky buns before. And I haven't baked with yeast since I made bagels for the June DB challenge (which also happened to be the very first time I've ever used yeast). So I'm glad Marce picked a yeasted recipe. We could make cinnamon buns or sticky buns or both. I chose to make just cinnamon buns.

A couple things worried me right off the bat. For some reason I thought the recipe called for active dry yeast but upon re-reading the ingredients I realized that it said instant yeast. Since I didn't want to run to the store, I hoped the recipe would work fine with the active dry yeast. I used about a third more active dry yeast than amount of instant yeast required.

I wasn't sure if just adding the yeast granules straight into the mixing bowl with the sugar, butter, egg, flour and buttermilk would work. Maybe it's a misconception of mine, but I thought I had to let yeast sit in some warm water for about 5-10 minutes before using it. But since I'm inexperienced with yeast, I just followed the recipe and added it as instructed. I kept my fingers crossed.

I decided to let my Kitchen Aid stand mixer do the kneading for me. During the 10 minute knead, the dough was getting slapped around in the bowl pretty loudly. My stand mixer even slightly moved around the counter top from the force. I hope that's normal when kneading dough with a KA. Otherwise I'm giving KA customer service a call. After 10 minutes the dough was exactly as the recipe said it should be - silky and supple, tacky but not sticky.

While my dough was kneading, I warmed my oven to 150F then turned it off so that I could use it to proof my dough. I put my bowl of dough in the oven and hoped it would rise. It didn't rise too much during the first hour but rose very quickly during the second hour. It had doubled in size in exactly two hours. Yippee!

Rolling out the dough was so much easier than I expected. It wasn't sticky so I hardly needed any flour for the rolling pin and the marble top. The dough was elastic but never "snapped" back when I was rolling it out. My only issue was that I couldn't quite get my dough rolled into a rectangle (just like I can never roll my tart/pie dough into a circle). But I decided to just trim off the ragged ends after filling and rolling it into a log. I must say that I loved working with this dough. I used my oven again for the second rise and it went off without a hitch. Then a quick bake and voila – cinnamon buns! There is nothing like a warm cinnamon bun fresh from the oven. They were absolutely delicious!

cinnamonbuns_bakecinnamonbuns_glaze


By the way, I cut back on the volume of milk and made the white fondant glaze with meyer lemon juice since I didn't have any lemon extract. Also, the recipe made an enormous amount of glaze. Even if I dunked all the cinnamon buns in glaze and covered every centimeter of bun, I wouldn't have been able to use up all of it. The lemon juice really helped to cut the sweetness in the glaze and also complemented the meyer lemon zest in the dough. I also decreased the amount of cinnamon in the filling. Thanks to Marce and the Daring Bakers, I now have a great keeper recipe. I will definitely make these buns again.

cinnamonbuns_interior

cinnamonbuns_cat

I was trying to get a photo of the cinnamon inside the bun, but someone got in the way! If you'd like to see what my cat Hobie does when he's not stealing food, check out this video. Sometimes you have to press play twice. I'm trying out Google video. I hope it works.




Cinnamon Buns and Sticky Buns
(from Peter Reinhart´s The Bread Baker´s Apprentice)
Yield: Makes 8 to 12 large or 12 to 16 smaller cinnamon or sticky buns


Dough:
6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
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

Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For cinnamon buns:
1 recipe for white fondant glaze

For sticky buns:
1 recipe for caramel glaze
walnuts, pecans, or other nuts
raisins or other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or dried cherries (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.

1. Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric stand 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 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.

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

3. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Make filling by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Proceed to fill and roll the dough as follows:

(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 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.
(B)Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough.
(C) 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

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.

NOTE: you can substitute the corn syrup for any neutral flavor syrup, like cane syrup or gold syrup.

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature.
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.
3. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/4-inch layer. Refrigerate and save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container.


cinnamonbuns_close

64 comments:

Peabody said...

I cheat and use the oven top to proof my yeast breads a lot too...it's a good trick when you live in a cooler climate.
Your buns look good.

Ilva said...

Yes they do look good! And the cat too, and he was only trying to match his fur when he stole the cinnamon parts of the buns

*fanny* said...

That video made my day. Your cat is sooo sweet.

The cinnamon buns look delicious - soft and fragrant. Hmmmm.

xxx

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

They look great. I love your cat, he's really cute and playful.

Hilda said...

I'm so jealous, your dough rose in two hours without diluting the yeast in water! ;) even sticking it in the oven didn't help the sloooow rise. Anyway, your buns look good (which as Lis pointed out sounds a little odd to say). And your cat is adorable. =)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

ha! your cat is too funny! i took a baking class not long ago taught by a prominent local baker. she said she never proofs her dried yeast, just throws it in with the flour. she said it may take a little longer for the dough to start working, but that it has never failed her. your buns look great!

KJ said...

Lovely buns and gorgeous cat. He must be lots of fun to have around.

Ivonne said...

Wow, Mary! I can't believe this is our 10th challenge! I love how your fondant is all oozy over the buns.

Save me some! I'm coming over!!!

Kelly-Jane said...

I use a cool oven too, it's just not hot enough here to proof at room temp with no help!

Buns looks great, and that cat is so gorgeous, great clip :)(I love cats!)

KJxx

Anh said...

Mary, your cat is sooo cute! And your buns are so light and sweet!

slush said...

I used the oven to proof as well. Its too drafty in my house otherwise. Let alone husband keeps the AC blasting all day when its hot.

Your buns look delish! Great job!

Anne said...

who could resist such beautiful buns! yours look soft and wonderfully light :)

veron said...

I had a problem about the active and rapid rise yeast too. I used active at first and my dough did not do much. It's great that you knew what to do when you only had active yeast. Your buns look sooo yummy. Love the picture of Hobie, my cat loves nosing around when I'm in the kitchen and gets in the way a lot of times

Meeta said...

Good looking buns Mary. Loved the video too!

sunita said...

The buns look amazing... even your cat feels so :)

Quellia said...

Your buns look just like mine! hehehe But your counter is cleaner and your cat adorable!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

It does look like kitty is trying to match the fur to cinnamon. Fun kitty and video.
What really lovely buns you have Mary! I've given up paying too much attention to type of yeast and just know things will take longer.

Annemarie said...

Ha - I love that your cat got in on the action! Nice looking buns, too - great stuff.

Anne said...

Yum - your glaze looks so perfect! Love the kitty - mine were also really interested when I was baking!

Butta Buns said...

They look wonderful! It's funny how your cat has the same coloring as the buns. It almost looks like he has cinnamon swirls too.

Jes said...

I am in love with your cat playing with/eating the bun! My rats went nuts over them. :)

Mallow said...

Thank you for posting that video - I needed that this morning!

Marce said...

wow, they look great, Mary! And that´s one cute little thief you have there. Isn´t taking pics of food with pets around quite the adventure? Phoebe is always walking around trying to get a good angle to steal it, but so far, no incidents.
I´m glad you enjoyed the challenge. Active dry yeast does take a while longer to work and you do need a bit more yeast, but I ever had a problem using it straight into the dough.

Rachel said...

They look so pretty!

Brilynn said...

Love the picture of Hobie trying to eat the bun, is he a bengal by any chance?

Tartelette said...

I do the same thing to proof my buns just because of the AC in the house, maybe I shoud just let them sit outised it is so warm! Your buns look great and I "adore" your cat!!

anita said...

Wonderful looking buns, Mary, and your cat is too funny!

kellypea said...

Mary, your buns are perfect! Bakery store window drool quality. My KA was hopping about as well. When I make this kind of dough, it does do that and gets a bit warm to the touch. Yes, my dough rose in a little less than 90 minutes, but I did heat the milk before pouring it in the bowl.

I love your cat (I have 2) but mine don't try to eat sweets -- well, except my cereal in the morning. Hilarious!

Belinda said...

Mary, your cinnamon buns turned out beautifully...aren't they just so delicious?! I agree, warm from the oven was a real treat! And your cat is too cute. He had to get in on the buns too, the little rascal!

Maryann said...

They look great and the cat liked them too..haha

breadchick said...

Mary, what a riot!! Not only are your buns fabulous looking but apparently they are tasty not only to the human race but that race of four-legged furry folks those of us who have in our house live to serve.

Jerry said...

Looks wonderful.

Jenny said...

Sounds like a delicious use of those meyer lemons!!

Dolores said...

Hmmm. Instant yeast. I didn't catch that in the recipe, and I also used active dry (all I had). My dough rose, so I guess I'm okay.

My Kitchen Aid is slightly younger than vintage, but it also does the counter top dance whenever I knead dough in it.

Beautiful buns! I agree with you; this recipe is a keeper.

Baking Soda said...

Quite funny, nine months of challenges and we have buns in the oven....
I don't know which I like best, the cat, the buns or the pics. Great job!

Laura said...

My daughters puss is a fan of the buns too. I can't blame your cat for enjoying yours they look so good!

Gabi said...

Your buns look so delish!
Aren't cats on a perch good for endless hours of amusement? :)
I do love ginger cats- what a cutie!

Anonymous said...

The buns look wonderful. This is probably a sacrilege but if any of you have a bread maker - try doing this - put the ingredients in the machine and set it to "Dough". Let the machine do the mixing and kneading, then shape the rolls and bake them in the oven. I've been baking bread since I was 12 (I'm 64) and I've found that a bread machine is a wonderful device that keeps my family in home-made bread and rolls all year!

marias23 said...

Awww, Hobie's simply adorable! Just goes to show that anyone (of any species) love freshly baked goodies, no?

Chris said...

Yum! How delicious do these look! And the kitty....I have been fighting the urges to get one...your cutie patooty didn't douse those thoughts, that for sure!

Andrea said...

The buns turned out quite lovely! I bet the Meyer lemon zest and juice really added a nice flavor.

Chez Denise et Laudalino said...

That is so funny .. love the cat! The buns looked great too.

Dharm said...

Your buns look great! Well done Mary - but I never doubted it...!!

Pille said...

I made both sticky buns and cinnamon rolls, and made just 1/4 of the required amount for glaze and fondant, and that worked out just fine. So I can imagine you ended up with way too much:)
Great-looking buns, Mary!

Brittany said...

Aww Mary! Your kitty is so cute!! Your buns look great too!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your buns look wonderful and your kitty is so cute!

Cheers,

Rosa

Mila said...

You're buns looks very good and seams like your cat really liked it..

ChefSara said...

Your buns look great! My cats don't usually steal food (probably 'cause the dog gets to it first), but it is nice to know they're not the only ones who are "special" enough to chase their own tails...

Dana said...

These look so delicious! Really soft and tender. Seems like most of Reinhardt's recipes are winners.

Amy said...

Lol your cat is so cute, that video made me laugh. :P Great job! I can never roll my crusts in a circle or dough into rectangles. The two end buns were so tiny I had to wrap them around each other, hehehe. As for the yeast, active dry requires proofing but instant does not (they're dried/processed differently). When substituting one for the other, you can use the same amount the recipe calls for. Instant can be added directly to your dry ingredients whereas, active dry yeast should be proofed in a bit of whatever (warmed) liquid the recipe says to use. Doughs made with instant yeast will also rise faster, so don't worry if you use active dry and it doesn't rise as quickly. Hope that helps! <3

Deborah said...

Yeah, I can never roll into a perfect rectangle - or circle for that matter!! I never understand how some people can. Your buns look wonderful!!

wmpe said...

Your photos of your buns look delicious. I love how the glaze looks. I agree this is recipe is a keeper. My KA mixer moved around the counter, too, no worries though. Wendy

Nora B. said...

Your buns look delicious. Using meyer lemons was a great idea. I love your cat! :-)

Aoife said...

Kitty! Of course she likes the cinnamon buns -- they look delicious!

Jenny said...

We're all giddy about finding out what this month's challenge is! I think that's why the cat is chasing her tail, she knows and is trying not to let the cat out of the bag... *groan*....

lynn said...

Lovely cinnamon buns, Mary. The addition of Meyer lemon juice to the glaze sounds perfect.

Julie said...

Wow, even the icing drizzle is beautiful.

Canadian Baker said...

Delicious looking buns Mary!

Laura Rebecca said...

Nice work! (I especially love the pic of the cut rolls waiting to be seperated.)

Lis said...

Now those are some hot mama buns! *wink* *wink*

And wouldn't be nice to have a play toy attached to your hind end? I'd never want to leave my scratching post either. heeee!! Very cute kitten =)

xoxo

african vanielje said...

Mary, your buns and Hobie are just too gorgeous. They are great. I'm looking forward to this months challenge

Simona said...

The photos are all really really nice. The one of your cat eating the bun is certainly my favorite.

Patty said...

How do I become a member of Daring Bakers?

Patty

Mary said...

Patty - Contact Lisa or Ivonne to join the DBs. Their contact info can be found on the Daring Baker blogroll site.