It all started with the brioche. And now I'm hooked on baking bread. I don't know how I lived before.
There is something truly satisfying about that moment when you lift up the tea towel to see that your little ball of dough has miraculously transformed into a softly swelling mound. I love getting my hands in there, feeling it sigh as you punch it down and then pulling and rolling it until it's soft and squidgy and silky. And then there's the smell as it's baking. Bliss.
My fiance raved about the cinnamon scrolls I made a couple of posts ago and I was keen to see if I couldn't improve on it with a yeasted version. I mean as much as I love scones, seriously, who can resist fluffy bready cinnamony buns? So the very next week after attempting my first yeasted recipe, I decided to try Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls recipe. And boy oh boy am I glad I did.
At first it stuck me as an unusual bread recipe. You start off with scalding the milk, oil and sugar in a saucepan and let it cool before adding yeast. And when it came to adding the flour, you save some and add that later with some baking powder and baking soda - I've never seen that in a bread recipe before but Ree Drummond is a total guru so I just followed along like a good little sheep.
The end result was insanely good. I gorged myself on 3 as soon as they came out of the oven. They were fluffy and sweet but not too sweet. I had the bright idea of using salted butter which gives an almost salted caramelly flavour to the filling. I could eat these every day for breakfast. And I did too until they were all gone.
They were as pretty as a picture. I topped them with glaze (***UPDATE 17 Aug 2011: Tried a new glaze recipe Salted Caramel Coffee Glaze recipe and it is out of control - see the end of the post for the recipe*****) and some chopped walnuts. Looked just like they came from a bakery. Very chuffed with myself I was.
So basically what I am saying to you all is: Go bake these now. You will not regret it. You will be tempted to eat the whole lot by yourself. You will make friends and influence people with these buns.
One thing I must warn you about though, if you're thinking of baking these in a spring form pan: make sure you line the pan with tin foil. I didn't and ended up with a puddle of smoking butter at the bottom of my oven. Not cool.
Salted butter cinnamon buns
adapted from Pioneer Woman's recipe.
Makes around 24-30 buns
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 oil (e.g. canola)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 cups of flour + an extra 1/2 cup kept separate
1/2 tsp baking powder (heaping)
1/2 tsp baking soda (scant - just less than full)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
100-140g salted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
*****UPDATE 17 Aug 2011: Tried a new glaze recipe with the batch I made today...knocks the socks off this glaze recipe! For updated Salted Caramel Coffee Glaze recipe see the end of the recipe.*****
1. Pour milk, oil and sugar into a saucepan. Heat until just before boiling (scald). Take it off the heat and let it cool until just lukewarm (about 45 minutes).
2. Sprinkle yeast on top and let it bubble up for around 5 minutes.
3. Add 4 cups of flour and mix to form a sticky dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour or more. ***Update 17 Aug 2011: If you don't have a hot water cupboard just put your dough in the oven with a bowl of boiling water and close the door.***
4. Add 1/2 cup flour and the baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix together. You can
at this point put the dough in the fridge overnight (up to 2 days) or just go ahead and make the rolls immediately. Split the dough in half and generously flour your bench.
5. Knead a couple of times to get a smooth dough then shape the dough in to a long rectangle and roll out, not too thin, say about 1-1.5 cm thick. Spread 50-70g of butter on the dough leaving a 2 cm gap on the top and bottom like a film strip. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon and sprinkle that on the butter. Roll the dough into a log towards you starting with the end furthest away from you and making it as tight as you can. Pinch the seam together to close up the log. Now repeat with the other half of the dough using the remaining 50-70g of butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon.
6. Prepare your pans (~4 round springform pans/tinfoil pans or a large rectangular baking pan) by lining them with tin foil (use 2 layers just to be safe) and an extra layer of baking paper (optional). Cut your log into roughly 1 1/2 inch rounds and place spiral side down about 1 inch apart. Let rise for 20-30 minutes. (If you are making these the night before, you can put the buns in the refrigerator at this point and bake the next day or freeze them at this point).
7. Preheat your oven to 190oC rack in the middle of the oven. Bake the buns for 15 - 18 minutes until lightly golden.
8. To make the glaze: (*****UPDATE 17 Aug 2011: Go to the end of the post for Salted Caramel Coffee Glaze*****)
9. To reheat the next day, microwave on high for around 10-15 seconds (depending on the power of your microwave). You can freeze the buns at step 6 once they are in their pans and risen a 2nd time then thaw overnight in the fridge and bake them as per usual. Or freeze a pan of baked and glazed buns (but minus the walnuts) and to reheat, leave them in the fridge overnight then bake for 15 minutes at 190oC.
*****UPDATE 17 Aug 2011: Salted Caramel Coffee Glaze*****
Just tried this out with the buns today...smokey salty sweet with a hint of coffee - be still my beating heart!
Salted Caramel Coffee Glaze
1 1/2 - 2 cups icing sugar (start with 1 1/2 cups and add more if required)
2 teaspoons golden syrup
30 g salted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon black coffee freshly brewed
big pinch sea salt (or ~1/4 tsp table salt)
Melt the butter with the golden syrup. Whisk together all the ingredients well - the lumps will disappear with a good whisking. Taste and adjust icing sugar or salt to taste and texture (I usually add all the icing sugar. Drizzle over buns once they are mostly cooled. Lick your fingers, lick the bowl (you know you want to). If the glaze seems too runny, refrigerate for a little bit and it will thicken up.