I purchased a rolling pin the other day and thought what better way to test it out than on a cinnamon bun recipe? I am always on the look-out for breakfast alternatives other than the mundane cereal and toast. Not only was I using a rolling pin for the first time, but I was also going to be working with yeast for the first time. In the lab, yeast is feared like the plague. Once you get yeast contamination in your cells, it’s very difficult to get rid of it. Luckily, I haven’t had a lot of problems with yeast at work (knock on wood). Now, hopefully yeast will be just as kind to me in the kitchen.
As it turns out, my first experience with the rolling pin and yeast wasn’t all that bad. The rolling pin did a good job at flattening the dough. Not only that, now I have a tool to tenderize meat with other than my fists. As for the yeast, there was a whole lot of waiting going on as it did it’s magic, but it was easy enough to use – just add and mix. And the cinnamon buns (or rolls according to my husband) turned out well. I’m normally not a fan of cinnamon, but mixed in with sugar, dough and topped with a fondant glaze, it was lick my fingers delicious! So all in all, it was a success!
Recipes (adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker):
- 6 1/2 tbsp (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 1/2 tbsp (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1 tsp lemon extract or 1 tsp grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp instant yeast (also called rapid-rise or fast-rising)
- 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 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.
- 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 12-15 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.
- Ferment at room temperature for ~2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
- 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 buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough.
- 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 8-12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns or 12-16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller 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.
- Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag.
- Proof (let sit) at room temperature for 75-90 minutes or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops.
- Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack.
- Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving.
White fondant glaze
- Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl.
- Add 1 tsp of lemon or orange extract and 6 tbsp 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.
- Streak the glaze over the buns by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops.
Notes and Tips:
I did not have buttermilk or whole milk, so I made my own buttermilk by adding 1 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup and topping it up with the 1% milk I had in the fridge. For step 6, it is better to use a glass or ceramic bowl. Otherwise, the dough will take longer to rise. I had to divide my dough into 2 bowls, since I didn’t have a large one. For step 9, I rolled my dough out on a nonstick bakeliner, which I also used in place of the parchment in step 15. This liner is reusable and you’ll never have to buy parchment or grease your baking sheets or pans again. I accidentally didn’t do step 17, but the buns turned out fine. I don’t have a cooling rack, so I took out one of my oven racks and cooled the buns on that. For the fondant glaze, I didn’t sift the powdered sugar. Also, I halved the recipe and I still had leftovers after using it on the buns.