Sunday, 30 September 2007
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.
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.