Sunday, 30 September 2007

Daring Bakers

September turned out to be a month of challenges. The greatest came about as a result of me putting my hand up to cater for 80 people at an event last weekend. Less daunting was my adventure into the world of sweet doughs. For my first Daring Bakers task I took up the challenge of Marce from Pip in the City to make Cinnamon Rolls or Sticky Buns. The recipe came from The Bread Baker Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. Thankfully for this apprentice baker, who was short on time, the recipe is relatively simple. Although the dough itself requires several hours to rise the actual hands on time was very reasonable.

The dough was simply delightful to work with, resembling the softest white pillow after kneading. It was incredibly enjoyable making this by hand and one of the occasions on which I was thankful I don't use a mixer. I opted for the cinnamon buns and the end result was a spicy scroll topped with a fragrant lemony fondant drizzle. The texture was a little too bread-like for my taste but I'm sure that could be altered with a little recipe tweaking. You can view the results of the other Daring Bakers here.

Cinnamon Buns

from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice

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
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.)

Step 1 - Making the Dough: 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).

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.

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 and transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed as shown in the photo below for shaping the buns.

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.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and 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.

Step 4 - Prepare the Buns for Proofing: Line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they are not touching but are close to one another.

Step 5 - Proof the Buns: 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.

Step 6 - Bake the Buns: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 7 - Cool the 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.

Step 8- White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns: 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. This makes a lot of glaze so feel free to halve the recipe.

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.


Anh said...

Truffle, welcome to the Daring Bakers! Your buns look really good!

I personally like buns stuffed with fresh fruits. I modified the exact recipe in the past for it, and I still liked it better. :D

slush said...

Welcome to the DBs, your rolls look delish! Great job!

Big Boys Oven said...

Bread baking is not my cup of tea yet, therefore I salute to your success and wonderful buns you have thre!

Kalyn said...

Just lovely! I'm sure they taste wonderful too.

Kelly Mahoney said...

Oh my goodness those look so delicious.

Anne said...

Great job! The buns look beautiful!

Brilynn said...

I'm sure catering for 80 was a huge challenge, I can't imagine! Well done with the buns.

kellypea said...

An 80 person event? OMG. I've cooked for 45 before, but that pales in comparison...Your buns turned out spectacularly. I love the tiered effect and the gorgeous brown color. They're truly beautiful. Nice job. Oh, I almost forgot...Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh your buns are loverly, loverly!
Welcome to the DB's.
I sure do know about raising your hand - I once ended up in charge of a dinner for 600! Nut case here, haven't ever done that again.

katiez said...

Truffle, they do, indeed, look very good - perfect, as a matter of fact. I'm sorry I didn't do this, I do rather love sticky/cinnamon buns! Maybe I can convince someone to mail be some...

Anonymous said...

They look yum :)

Truffle said...

Anh- thank you so much! I thought yours were gorgeous. I'll have to try them with the fresh fruits. Sounds lovely.

slush - thank you!

Big Boys Oven - It didn't used to be mine either but I'm realising it's quite enjoyable.

Kalyn - thank you! The only problem is the temptation of having a tray full of them in the house!

Kelly Mahoney - thank you and thanks for reading :)

Anne - thanks! They certainly reminded me how enjoyable baking can be.

Brilynn - Thanks! It was stressful but so much fun it almost made me rethink my career!

kellypea - Thank you so much!
I think 45 is pretty impressive! I confess much of it involved making some clever purchases to cut down on the prep work.

MyKitchenInHalfCups - thanks very much! 600? Now that truly is impressive!

katiez - I'll happily send over a tray load. While they were a pleasure to make it's almost too sinful having them in the house to devour!

Maryann - Thanks and thanks for reading!

Chris said...

Welcome to the DBs! Great job on your first challenge.

Peabody said...

I too loved kneading this dough by hand.
Welcome to the group, excellent job on your first challenge.

breadchick said...

Welcome aboard Daring Bakers! Great job on your first challenge!!

Nora B. said...

Hi Truffle,
wow catering for 80! What did you make? I am usually very slow with such things because I like to take my time, so when I have to make for a large crowd, I give myself plenty of time.

Your buns look delicious! How did you managed to squeeze all that into your schedule? Well done!

Truffle said...

Chris - thanks so much! It's great to be involved.

Peabody- it's a pleasure to work with by hand. Thank you!

breadchick - thanks for the welcome!

Nora B. - I cheekily did minimal cooking. Lots of salads and some sneaky purchases made it relatively fuss free.

I'm afraid it resulted in a distinct lack of posts on here but both tasks were very enjoyable. Thanks so much!

marias23 said...

Simply lovely, dear Truffle! Your rolls browned beautifully!

Lis said...

Yay for your first challenge! And what beautiful buns you have! =)

I agree, they were a lil bready - I'm going to experiment next time too.

And excellent job! Well done!


cupcaketastic said...

These look delish, hope your catering for 80 odd went well. Can be a bit daunting.

Truffle said...

marias23 - thank you! I actually wish I had watched them more closely and whipped them out a minute or two earlier but it's always tricky to tell with these things.

Lis - thank you! I'm not quite sure how to tweak the recipe to replicate the texture you get in the cafe versions but I think it will be interesting to attempt.

cupcaketastic - It certainly can! Thankfully I mostly relied on things that were easy to put together like Middle Eastern meze platters. It was a case of good shopping rather than good cooking.

Tartelette said...

Smashing success! Welcome to the group! The buns look wonderful!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Truffle, great job on your first challenge!

Are you completely mad putting your hand up to cater for 80 people? That's why you and I get on - both of us mass catering because we put our hands up. Don't know about you but my thoughts were I wouldn't be putting my hand up next time.

Truffle said...

Tartlette- thanks for the welcome. Yours look amazing!

Amanda- We're crazy, aren't we? Next time I'm signing up for an easier job!

Lydia said...

I really have to stop reading blogs before breakfast -- your cinnamon buns look too good! Glad you enjoyed your first Daring Bakers challenge.

Deborah said...

Your rolls look delightful! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Belinda said...

Oh my for 80 people would be beyond a HUGE challenge! Wow! As for the cinnamon buns...they are just beautiful, and look soooo delicious! :-)

Jenny said...

Welcome to the DBs! Your buns make me think of roses. :)

Truffle said...

Lydia - thanks! I'm just glad my first one went smoothly. Fingers crossed for the next!

Deborah - thank you so much!

Belinda - Thanks! Out of the two challenges I think I preferred the buns. Less stressful and something sweet to eat at the end of it ;)

Jenny - thanks so much! That's what my Dad said too just before they went in the oven:)

Ivonne said...

Congratulations on your first Daring Baker chalelnge! Your buns look beautiful!

Valli said...

Congratulations on joining the Daring Bakers. I love those creative ladies! Your cinnamon buns look delicious!

Mike said...

Daring Bakers is something that I have been following & have been very tempted to join & participate. Seeing all these delicious interpretations is making my mouth water. I might just have to join... :)

Truffle said...

Ivonne - thank you so much! I really enjoyed making them :)

Valli - Thank you! It seems like the perfect chance to improve my baking skills.

Mike - Definitely consider joining. Baking is one skill I admire but lack so hopefully this will improve.

Jane said...

The buns look great.


Wendy said...

Tell us more about the catering gig!
Gorgeous buns. :)

vida said...

Truffle, they look delicious, moist and sticky. Did you have leftovers, because I would have been over in a flash... Vida x

vida said...

I think I just commented twice, sorry! V x

Kelly-Jane said...

I didn't realise you were DB Truffle! Welcome, I'll know next month to come sooner...

Great debut, gorgeous buns :)

wmpe said...

Your rolls look great. I love the cubist angularity of the uncooked rolls - great photo. Wendy

Figs Olives Wine said...

Congratulations on beings such a daring baker! The rolls are absolutely beautiful!

Truffle said...

Jane- thanks!

Wendy- thank you! It was a three day event being hosted by a group I'm involved with and silly me, put her hand up to organise the food.

vida - I made a batch as a present. I've started giving away a lot of my baked goods as it's simply too tempting having them in the house.

Kelly-Jane - thank you so much! It's exciting to be involved and my baking skills could certainly do with some improvement so this may be the group for me.

Wendy- thank you! I love the way the rolls look uncooked too.

Figs Olives Wine - thanks so much!

Baking Soda said...

So nice! I just LOVE the picture with the just-cut dough, like little flowers!

Aoife said...

Your buns look like pretty rosettes nestled together. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Truffle said...

Baking Soda - thank you! That's so sweet!

Aoife Thanks! That's such a lovely image :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your buns look great! I love to bake my own bread, it's such a fulfilling activity!



Canadian Baker said...

Nice buns! Your pictures are great.

Truffle said...

Rosa's Yummy Yums - I've only just started to do it but agree that it's terribly satisfying.

Canadian Baker - thank you! I was very nervous about these so I'm so pleased there were no disasters.

Dolores said...

Congratulations and welcome to the madness. If you're already coupling the challenge with catering an event for eighty, you'll fit right in! :)

Truffle said...

Dolores- Thank you! I'm so glad to be involved :)