September Daring Bakers: The Cinnamon Roll

This was my first challenge as a member of the Daring Bakers group and I was excited to tackle it! To be completely honest, I was overwhelmingly relieved that my first challenge appeared to be something I could handle without a lot of complicated steps that might intimidate me.

We were provided with the recipes for both cinnamon rolls and sticky buns and had the option to make either one or both. I stuck with the classic cinnamon rolls because I didn’t have a doubt that they would definitely go.

I didn’t run into any problems and in fact the dough was perfectly soft and silky – maybe the best dough I have ever worked with! There was nothing very difficult about this recipe and I will be saving it as my default cinnamon roll recipe.

Thanks to the Daring Bakers for inducting me and making my first challenge a success, and thank you to Marce for hosting this month!


Cinnamon Buns and Sticky Buns
(from Peter Reinhart´s The Bread Baker´s Apprentice)

Days to Make: 1

15 minutes mixing; 3 1/2 hours fermentation, shaping and proofing; 20 to 40 minutes baking.

Yield: Makes 8 to 12 large or 12 to 16 smaller cinnamon or sticky buns

Ingredients:
6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast*
1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk (DMS) and 1 cup water

1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons 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.

Directions:
1. 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); if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, and add the water with the flour and yeast. Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then 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 to 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.

2. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

3. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed as shown in the photo on the left for shaping the buns.

(Transcription: (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 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 finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. (B)Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and (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 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.)

4. For cinnamon 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.

For sticky buns, coat the bottom of 1 or more baking dishes or baking pans with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high with a 1/4 inch layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the nuts and raisins (if you are using raisins or dried fruit.) You do not need a lot of nuts and raisins, only a sprinkling. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag.

5. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and 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.

8. For cinnamon buns, cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and 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 and 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.

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 and 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 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and 6 tablespoons 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.

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 and waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze and 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 and fat, cooked until it caramelizes. The trick is catching it just when the sugar melts and lightly caramelizes to a golden amber. Then it will cool to a soft, creamy caramel. If you wait too long and 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 and texture, such as corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystallizing and 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 Cafe 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 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature.

2. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

3. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/4-inch layer. Refrigerate and save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container.

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38 Responses to “September Daring Bakers: The Cinnamon Roll”

  1. Peabody on September 30, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Welcome to the Daring Bakers. Great job on your first challenge.

    Reply

  2. Beth G. on September 30, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    YUM!! Nate loves cinnamon rolls, I’ll have to try these :O) They look great!

    Reply

  3. Maryann on September 30, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    They look great :)

    Reply

  4. slush on September 30, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    Congrats on finishing your first challenge, they look soooo good. Your drizzle is perfect!!

    Reply

  5. breadchick on September 30, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Great job on your first DBer Challenge!! Peter’s doughs are among the best you will ever handle and I love running my fingers through them!! Again, great job on your first challenge and welcome aboard!!

    Reply

  6. Jennyfer on September 30, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Love your pics!!! Good job!

    Reply

  7. Chris on September 30, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Congrats on completing your first challenge!

    Reply

  8. Lis on September 30, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Gorgeous, beautiful, smashing buns ya got there, lil missie! ;)

    Glad you enjoyed your first challenge – happy as all get out to have you with us!

    xoxo

    Reply

  9. Tartelette on October 1, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Beautiful job on your first challenge! Welcome to the DBs!

    Reply

  10. Belinda on October 1, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Don’t you just love being in the Daring Bakers?! From one new girl to another…you did a fantastic job with the cinnamon rolls…they are beauties! :-) And I was very happy that this recipe was well written and straightforward to follow as well…expecially for the first challenge! Whew!

    Reply

  11. Jenny on October 1, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    They look great, and welcome!

    Reply

  12. Deborah on October 1, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    You have done wonderful with your first DB challenge!!

    Reply

  13. Ivonne on October 1, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Michelle,

    Congratulations on completing your first Daring Bakers challenge! Your buns look great!

    Reply

  14. Amber on October 2, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Looks awesome Chelle!! Great job completing your first daring bakers challenge.

    Reply

  15. joey on October 2, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Fab job on your first challenge! :) Isn’t it exciting? :)

    Reply

  16. Anne on October 2, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    You did well on your first challenge :) Glad your a DB :)

    Reply

  17. MyKitchenInHalfCups on October 2, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    DB success! They are lovely.

    Reply

  18. marias23 on October 3, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Welcome and congrats on the challenge! Nice glaze work, hun!

    Reply

  19. Gabi on October 3, 2007 at 11:52 am

    Lovely buns there!
    Congrats on the fist challenge done so well- from one new DB to another!
    xoxo

    Reply

  20. Aoife on October 3, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    The cinnamon rolls look great. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

    Reply

  21. Baking Soda on October 4, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Hi and welcome, great rolling!

    Reply

  22. Kate on October 4, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    I am so impressed you’re doing daring bakers. That completely intimidates me!

    And I’m tagging you for a meme!
    http://katorade.blogspot.com/2007/10/me-me-me-me-meme.html

    Reply

  23. Julie on October 5, 2007 at 3:16 am

    Congratulations on your first challenge! I enjoyed your fly-by photos! =)

    Reply

  24. Jessica on January 15, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Wow, those look absolutely gorgeous!

    Reply

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  26. Erin on January 17, 2011 at 4:46 am

    hello Im Erin from Australia, real amuture baker and cook but I made these today and they turned out brilliant. Im almost 8 months preg so it took me a bit to get my head around the recipe, even asked the 3 children for complete silence cos Mummy doesn’t understand, they thought it was very funny.
    My children LOVED these and my husband is looking forwardto opening his lunch box up at work tomorrow. :)
    Thanks so much.

    Reply

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  29. Li-Anne on February 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

    These look amazing!! But that seems like an awful lot of fondant glaze to make…do you usually use it all up or are there left-overs? I’m making these this weekend for friends and they can’t wait :P

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 24th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      Hi Li-Anne, Usually there are leftovers, but it really depends on if you just want to drizzle or if you’re going to totally cover the rolls. You could always cut the recipe in half if you think it’ll be too much, or save the leftovers for another use :)

      Reply

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  31. Alana on June 1, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Do the cinnamon rolls need the lemon?

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 2nd, 2013 at 10:58 am

      Hi Alana, You can omit it if you don’t like lemon flavor if you’d like.

      Reply

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