UPDATE: This is still my favourite recipe that I’ve posted on this blog, and I must get myself baking these again. They fill the house with a wonderful seasonal spice aroma and taste so good for breakfast on a lazy morning. For these reasons I’ve decided to enter it into the two little chefettes’ monthly baking competition for december.
Cinnamon; in my opinion you can’t get a more comforting spice. It’s warming, brings memories of christmas time to the forefront of my mind and well it’s just damn tasty. So over the past week I’ve been trying to perfect my cinnamon bun recipe, and well I think I’ve done it.
The most important thing about these buns is the yeast in the dough. Specifically not to over overheat, over salt or over sugar the mixture. The first time, and the first recipe I used I’m fairly certain I killed the yeast twice over. I’ve got a milk intolerance to dairy milk, so I substituted with sweetened soya milk, also I over heated the yeast adding it directly to the warm / hot milk. So the way I’m going to tell you is how I’ve worked out to get a successful dough and therefore a great cinnamon bun.
450g (16oz) strong or very strong bread flour
140g – 210g (5oz – 7 1/2oz) plain flour (not very precise I know, but I’ll explain why later)
7g (1 1/2 teaspoons) fast action dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
240ml (8fl oz) milk (semi-skimmed or full-fat)
75g (2 1/2oz) unsalted butter
65g (2 1/4oz) white caster sugar
- Mix the bread flour with 140g of plain flour and the salt. Make sure this is well mixed together because we’re about the add the yeast and if the salt comes into direct contact with the yeast it may kill it, then we’d have to hold a mini funeral and everything!
- Stir the yeast into the dry mixture and set aside.
- Pour the sugar, milk and butter into a saucepan and turn on a low heat. The aim of this is to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar into the milk, but also to bring some warmth to the dough to set the yeast to work. (The original recipe called for me to heat it until around 50˚C, but I’ve found this is far too hot.) You want to heat it until the butter is just about melting, then take it off the heat. The residual heat will melt the rest of the butter. You should be able to put your finger in the milk mixture comfortably, without it feeling too hot. Be careful if you’re doing the finger test!
- Make a well in your flour mixture so you can see the bottom of the bowl. Steadily pour in the milk mixture. Then using your hand, slowly knock the flour into the milk until it starts to form a dough.
- Add your eggs one at a time and combine into the mixture.
- Once you have a rough dough tip it out onto a floured surface surrounded by the remainder of the plain flour. The reason we’ve not added this yet is because of the gluten content of bread flour. As you knead bread flour the gluten gets to work and you’ll find that a sticky dough becomes far less sticky!
- At this point switch your oven on to 90˚C to use for proving your dough later.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes in and around the extra flour. We’re aiming to get to a smooth elastic dough, exactly as you would have if you were making bread. The dough shouldn’t be sticky when we’re finished. If you run out of flour by all means at more until you have a smooth elastic dough.
- Switch off your oven and open the door.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with cling film (saran wrap). Place this bowl in the oven (which should now be switched off) and close the door, leave to prove for 1 hour.
160g (5 1/2oz) light brown soft sugar
35g (1 1/4oz) plain flour
1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
110g unsalted butter
So for this you can use either a food processor or do it by hand. If you’re using a food processor, place all the ingredients into the processor and blitz until combined into a dough like mixture. If you’re doing it by hand place all the ingredients into a bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a lovely cinnamon coloured dough like mixture. Done. (Put to one side, you want it at room temperature to make it easier to spread later.)
- After an hour the dough mixture should have doubled in size.
- (This is my favourite bit when making bread!) Punch the dough a couple of times to release the air from the dough. It’s lovely and warm and just explodes with a lovely yeast like smell. It’s great!
- Cover your work surface with some cling film and tip your dough onto it.
- Roll the dough out into a rough rectangle shape. Try to get it as best you can into the right shape. You’ll want it to be approximately 5mm thick. Cut the extra sides off to get a nice rectangular shape.
- Using a palette knife spread the cinnamon butter mixture over the dough, getting a nice even coverage. But leave the top edge clean, we need to now egg wash this so that it’ll stick to the outside of the roll in a second.
- Using the cling film to help you, carefully roll the dough up, but not too tightly and stick the edge together. Place it on the work surface so that the fold is on the underneath.
- Using a sharp knife, score 8 – 10 markings about 3cm apart, these will become your buns.
- Carefully cut the buns out. I usually have to discard the edge pieces, they seem to always smush (Technical term by the way).
- Place the buns in a greased tin giving them a little space to expand.
- Right, this next bit is your decision. We need to let the buns prove for a second time. I cover them and put them in the fridge overnight ready to be baked in the morning so I can enjoy them for breakfast. But if you don’t want to leave them overnight in the fridge leave to prove for 45 mins – 1hr, until doubled in size in a warmed oven once more. If you’re baking them in the morning after they’ve been in the fridge take them out of the fridge 30 mins before you want to bake them. You can use this time to preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F, Gas Mark 4).
- Brush with an egg wash and bake for 15 – 20 mins until golden brown, when tapped on the buns will sound hollow.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Glaze / Icing
50g (2oz) cream cheese (philadelphia works well)
100g (4oz) icing sugar
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
small pinch of salt
- Really simple, beat the butter and cheese together until soft.
- Add the sugar and icing sugar and combine until thick.
- To be able to get this to drizzle on the buns, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds on full power and stir well when done, it should be nice and runny now.
- Now go crazy and top the buns with this glaze.
Enjoy warm with a cup of tea or coffee.