Our March extra challenge:
Cinnamon & Sticky Buns (from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice)
Daring Bakers Challenge #11: September 2007 Host: Marce (Pip in the City)
Oh my goodness! These are the best cinnamon rolls! You totally have to make these! I will be making these a lot. The sticky buns are really good too, except that I accidentally burnt the caramel topping. Oops. They weren’t inedible, I just cut the top off of them. I didn’t need to make very many modifications & I followed all of the directions, except for the caramel. I made it like I normally do, on the stovetop, but that made it overcook & burn in the oven. Next time, I will follow the directions they have for making the caramel. I have my modifications below.
Active/Resting/Baking Time: 15 minutes to mix, 3 ½ hours fermentation/ shaping/proofing, 20 – 40 minutes to bake Recipe Quantity: 8 – 12 large rolls or 12 – 16 small rolls
1. You can mix up the spices to your liking. Meaning you don´t have to use cinnamon if you don´t like it. I’m thinking you could use ginger, allspice, cardamom, etc. (Personally, I´m going to leave the sticky buns as they are & mix up spices in the cinnamon buns)
2. You can do both cinnamon & sticky buns or choose one.
3. You don´t have to use nuts for the sticky buns if you are allergic or you don´t like nuts.
4. You don´t have to use raisins for the sticky buns, & you can substitute the raisins for any other dried fruit you like & think would work with the other flavors.
6 ½ tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 ½ tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine Earth Balance
1 large egg, slightly beaten Ener-g Egg Replacer
1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
3 ½ cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast*
1 1/8 to 1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk, room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk & 1 cup water Soy milk mixed with lemon juice
½ cup cinnamon sugar (6 ½ TBSP granulated sugar plus 1 ½ tsp 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, & shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon & mixing bowl & do it by hand).
Note: if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, & add the water with the flour & yeast. I used my Kitchen Aid
Whip in the egg & lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, & milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook & 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 & 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 & 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 & transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed with shaping the buns. (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“ thick & 14“ wide by 12“ long for larger buns, or 18“ wide by 9“ long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough & chewy rather than soft & 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 ¾” thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 ¼“ thick for smaller buns.
Step 4 – Prepare the Buns for Proofing:
* For cinnamon buns: line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately ½” 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 ½” high with a ¼” layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the nuts & raisins (if you are using raisins or dried fruit.) You do not need a lot of nuts & raisins, only a sprinkling. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about ½” apart. Mist the dough with spray oil & cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. For the sticky buns, I just sprinkled in some cinnamon & a few crushed walnuts.
Step 5 – Proof the Buns: Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another & 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 & into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark & 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 & then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans & 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 & 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.
yeah, a little burnt, I know.
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 & 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 tsp of lemon or orange extract & 6 TBSP to ½ cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk slowly & only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste. I used powdered sugar & orange juice (I used a fork to drizzle the icing on).
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 & waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze & 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 & fat, cooked until it caramelizes. The trick is catching it just when the sugar melts & lightly caramelizes to a golden amber. Then it will cool to a soft, creamy caramel. If you wait too long & 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 & texture, such as corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystallizing & 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 Café in Forestville, California.
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 ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, & ½ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature. I cooked the sugar on the stove, don’t do that! Follow these directions, unlike me, or it may turn out like this:
2. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup & 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light & fluffy. I used golden syrup instead of corn syrup.
3. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a ¼” layer. Refrigerate & save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container.