Level of Difficulty: Supreme Court of Appeal
At the moment, I am embarking on a quest to learn to make bread, any bread, all bread. The Crumby Goods series of recipes will chronicle the various recipes I take a shot at and whether I had any success.
The first recipe is Cinnamon Buns in a Cinnabon style because it was actually the bread the inspired me to begin using yeast in my cooking. I think that bread making, at the best of times, is a daunting prospect but as I’ve moved through the different types I’ve found that it’s actually not that tricky or difficult – just slightly imprecise and evolving. All you need to be able to make an amazing loaf of bread is time…
I had never made anything that required yeast before this year so I was a little worried. There are so many things to consider when using the substance: temperature, acidity and salinity, climate and time all play a huge role in the success of your bread. However, the for the casual baker, none of this is really a problem. Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve been working on little things to figure out how to create the best environment to make bread.
The first is temperature because bread, as on opposite to pastry, needs warm weather to really thrive. I’ve found that by switching the oven on a couple hours before baking and leaving the bread to proof above it, the temperature stops being an issue when it’s cold.
From an acidity and salinity point of view, the biggest issue is the yeast and whether or not it has the right environment to thrive. The simplest solution I’ve found to the lethal osmisive effect of salt is to mix the yeast into some warm water and with a teaspoon of sugar. This method has never failed. I also don’t have a thermometer to check the temperature of the water so I guesstimate very professionally by filling a third of my cup with boiling water and topping it up with room temperature water. This usually results in a just-above-blood-temperature water that is perfect for activating the yeast. It also ensures that you won’t have clumps of yeast in your bread and that everything is combined as it should be.
It is important to remember that any liquid that is added to bread should never be added all at once. The measurements that work in one place can sometimes flop in another. Always add water gradually and don’t be concerned if you use more or even less than the amount stipulated, it’s really just about how dry or humid the air is.
Finally, my last lesson for today is time. Bread usually needs at least 3 (three) hours to proof i.e. just sit in a warm place and do its bread thing. It then usually needs additional time to proof in the tray. Proofing is not an intensive process, you just chuck it in a container and go do other things but if you don’t have the time to keep coming back to your bread then don’t venture there. The proofing process is critical to the life of a bread. Luckily, this recipe gives you days of leeway when it comes to proofing and can last for up to four days in the fridge so that you can each step when its convenient for you. That said, do not skimp on the proofing times and do not ignore the minimum proofing times stated below.
3 and a 1/2 cups Cake Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs instant yeast
½ cup warm water
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup (4oz/120g) butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 tbs ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Icing:
120g Cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Yield: 12 Hearty Cinnamon Buns
Step 1: The Dough
In a jug combine the yeast, sugar and warm water. Mix well and leave aside. It should begin to smell heady and start to froth. If it does not, the water was either too hot or too cold.
Melt the butter and add to the milk. Mix until well combined. Beat the eggs together and then add to the milk mixture while stirring. Add this mixture to the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Then add half of the yeast mixture and stir with a spoon. Add the rest of the yeast gradually while stirring until the mixture comes together. If needs be, add additional water in 2 tbs spoon increments. The dough should be very sticky to the touch.
Step 2: The Waiting
Cover the dough with a cloth and allow it to rise for 2 hours in a warm place. Following this, cling wrap the top of the bowl and leave the dough in the fridge overnight. The next morning, ensure you remove the dough from the fridge at least two or three hours before you will be working with it. Note that the dough can stay in the fridge for up to three days.
Step 3: The Filling
In a bowl combine the melted butter, cinnamon and sugar.
Step 4: Rolling out the Dough
Divide room temperature dough in half and roll out each half into a rectangle roughly 2 cm thick.
Step 5: Assembly
Spread the half the filling onto each rectangle and spread leaving a 4 cm margin on one of the long sides.
Starting with a long edge, Along the long-edge, roll the dough into a log. Don’t roll it too tightly as this may cause the buns will pop up as they bake. Slice the rolls to be about 5 -7 cm thick.
Step 6: Proofing
Line a deep baking pan with parchment paper and place the buns in the pan, leaving a little space between them. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Let the rolls to proof until they have grown to fill the tray and are touching each other. This will take about 45 minutes if you place them in a warm place.
Step 7: Baking
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, till the tops are a golden brown.
Step 8: Cream Cheese Icing
Whisk the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla together with a whisk until well combined. Spread the glaze over the hot buns and allow the icing to melt into the buns. Serve immediately or reheat.
Don’t forget to give us your verdict by either commenting below or posting a picture of your results on Twitter, Instagram with @bakedlawyer , #bakedLawyer. Good luck!