Monday 2 August 2010

Give us this day our daily cinnamon buns

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

2 cups icing sugar
60 g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup of milk (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
chopped walnuts (optional)

*****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*****) mix the butter and 1/2 cup of icing sugar.  Then alternate adding a couple of Tablespoons of the milk and 1/2 cup icing sugar until you have a glaze of drizzling consistency (test with a spoon and see if it pours in a smooth stream but not too runny).  Add the vanilla.  Drizzle over the buns once they are mostly cooled and sprinkle chopped walnuts over top.

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
1/4 milk
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.


  1. i'm going to have to wait for an occasion to make these ie some friends over because otherwise I will eat them ALL !!!

  2. That's it. The universe *wants* me to make cinnamon rolls, they've been everywhere, and your post seals the deal.

    They look fantastic! Can't wait to emulate : )

  3. Paula: I almost made myself sick I ate so many of these so quickly. Luckily, well actually unfortunately, I had a friend who just had some pretty aweful news so I saved a batch for her otherwise I would have eaten them all!

    Tom: At risk of sounding like the Dilmah guy...Do try it! They are seriously yum. Can't wait to make them again. Wish I could have cinnamon buns on tap :)

  4. Yeah, these would totally be gone in no time if I were to bake these! But I definitely think the benefit outweighs the risk here!

  5. There is definitely something incredibly addictive about kneading dough and working with yeast. I can't describe it but it's absolutely curative.

    These look amazing! The salted butter idea is genius.

  6. Peggy: You should definitely try them. I cunningly made sure told friends I was dropping over some cinnamon buns for them before baking these so I wouldn't be tempted to eat them ALL. Otherwise.... :P

    Joanne: Yay, thanks for your comment. I am SO keen to get into more bread making. I am starting to think that a little salt in sweet stuff is the secret ingredient for wowness. Always tastes better with salt (shhh don't let doctors hear me say that!)

  7. These look like they'd be fabulous, but I am anxious to hear whether or not they turned out as well for others. A good friend of mine adores cinnamon buns and it also happens to be his birthday. I'd really like to make these but I don't want them to flop—especially if they're a present!

    Is there any way of describing the texture of the buns? Were there any cons to making this dough or changes you would make to them in the future?

    Thanks a BUNch!

  8. Hiya Kate, I would describe the texture of the buns as a cross between a dinner roll and croissant - more buttery than a roll but still bready and fluffy. A tip would be to cut them with a really sharpe knife and definitely let the rise for the full amounts of time. I would also use another glaze next time. Be careful that the milk mixture is not too hot before you add the yeast - it should be around the same temperature as you - too hot and the poor little yeast will die. Oh and when you are putting the sprials on to a baking tray the brown sugar will go all over the place so do that bit carefully and scoop it in your hand to catch the brown sugar cinnamon mixture if that makes sense? While the buns can be frozen and are still pretty rockin, I reckon they are at their peak deliciousness on the day they are baked so it's at all possible bake them the day you give them to your friend. Hope that helps! Feel free to ask any more questions! :)

  9. Just wanted to let everyone know that these are fantastic! The first time I tried to make them was also the first time I ever tried making bread. They flopped because I was naive in thinking that the mixture would rise in a sunny room (albeit in the middle of winter). I made them on Monday and they looked just like Nessies pictures. The trick is to warm an oven at 50 degrees celsius for about 15 min then turn it off and put the mixture with a teatowel over it in the pre warmed oven. Also it is so very important to leave the mixture to rise for as long as you can. I kept checking on the oven and when it started to cool a little I just put it on for about 5 min at 40 degrees.

  10. Thanks Nessie! I ended up making the buns and they turned out perfectly. My friends mom thought I bought them at a store or used a mix! I paired it with cream cheese frosting to have that extra kick. I will definitely be making these again :-D



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