Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cinnamon Buns


I'll confess -- I used to eat cinnamon buns out of a can. It was so convenient to pop it open, arrange the buns on a baking sheet, and squeeze the sugary glaze out of the plastic packet. But I'm proud to say I've graduated to homemade! Yes, these are every bit as good as you think they are. Light, soft dough filled with cinnamon and sugar, and vanilla-scented icing dripping from the top.  For years I thought they were hard to make. Actually all you need is time, and a lot of it is down time. The recipe is very specific and detailed, and that used to intimidate me.  Now, I see that as very helpful.  They're not so much rules that say something has to be this temperature and that consistency, but a way to let you know that you're on the right track when it is that temperature and that consistency.  So, no more excuses -- they're calling you.

The ingredients creamed together.  Joe, who's made this before, measured out half all-purpose flour and half bread flour, to get the lightness and chewiness from both.

Switching from the paddle attachment to the dough hook.

The dough balling around the hook.  We needed to add more flour to get it to this stage.  Could have been our half-and-half substitution, or the humidity level that day.

013 revised
Sticky stuff, but it almost poured right off my hands!  Very wet hands help with the stickiness.

Let it rise for an hour in an oiled bowl.

The dough was awfully elastic.  I had to walk away and come back because it kept snapping back to its original size.

Roll it into a rectangular-ish shape.  You'll also need to stretch a bit by hand.

Spread your cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Joe subbed in half of the white sugar for brown.  I complained, but he was right -- it is better.  Leave a border of about an inch all around.

Now comes the fun part.  Begin your rolling by folding the top over into a tight lip.

Then roll it down again.

You get the idea.  Keep rolling until you get to the bottom.

Some cinnamon sugar may come out the sides, but don't worry about it.  Or the ends may be all doughy and have no cinnamon sugar.  Just trim those off and discard.

You'll end up with one neat roll.

Gently pinch the seam closed all along the roll.  It helps hold in the filling.

I've heard that using unflavored dental floss is good for slicing the rolls because it squishes them less.  My floss is minty, and the bench scraper didn't really squish them.

We ended up adding more rolls to this pan, since they should be close together.  Plus, Joe made a double-batch of dough.  No, we didn't scarf all those rolls down by ourselves.

After 90 minutes (patience is a virtue!), they'll rise and expand some more.  Into the oven!

They bake up into one bready-looking blob, but easily pull apart.

This baby is beautiful.  Drizzle it with some white icing, and you are good to go.

Cinnamon Buns
From Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice
Granulated sugar6½ tbs3.25 ounces
Salt1 tsp.25 ounce
Unsalted butter, at room temperature5½ tbs2.75 ounces
1 egg, slightly beaten.1.65 ounces
Zest of 1 lemon (I skipped this)1 tsp.1 ounce
Unbleached bread or all-purpose flour3½ cups16 ounces
Instant yeast2 tsp.22 ounce
Whole milk, at room temperature1⅛ to 1¼ cups9 to 10 ounces
Cinnamon sugar
(6½ tbs granulated sugar plus 1½ tbs cinnamon)
½ cup4 ounces
White Fondant Glaze

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. The dough should regiter 77° to 88°F.  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.

Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter.
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 ⅔ 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 1¾ inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1¼ inch thick for smaller buns.).
Line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately ½ inch apart so that they aren't touching but are close to one another.
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.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf.
Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

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.
White Fondant Glaze
From Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice
Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract (I used vanilla) and 6 tablespoons to ½ 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.


  1. Those look seriously amazing!

  2. They look incredible!! You really make the process look so easy....I think it would be a great thing to teach my girls!

  3. Wow, I can almost smell them!

  4. Great step by step post and the buns look incerdible!

  5. They look incredible. Now I want one!

  6. I used to eat cinnamon rolls out of the tube too...until I met my husband and he made my his Grandma's cinnamon rolls. Nothing else will ever compare! No more tubes for me!

  7. Yum! Cinnamon buns are my favorite, it's about time I made them at home too!

  8. Hi! Thanks for visiting A Spicy Perspective. These look wonderful, and you make it sound so easy! Good post! Hope you visit again.



Thanks for visiting! Feel free to leave some comment love.

Please post any questions in the comments, but if you need to e-mail me I can be reached at secondbreakfastblog at gmail dot com.