My apologies for it being a little quiet on the post front around here, but that’s because I’m currently overseas! Sadly there is no oven or stove that’s easily available for me to use here, so there have been no new attempts at food making for me in the past month 😦 But I did make a batch of cinnamon rolls before I left at the end of November, and I thought these were rather appropriate for the Christmas season. Perhaps you’d like to find out how I went?
Obviously cinnamon rolls are all year round food, but I find that these scrummy rolls are particularly tasty during the chilly weather. The more I think about it, the less conviction my earlier justification for waiting to put up this post of mine just before Christmas has, but can’t take back time now, can I? Ok well enough jib jab from me.
Now, I can’t take credit for this marvellous cinnamon rolls recipe, but I can tell you whose recipe I followed! Stephanie Jaworski, also known as the lady who is behind joyofbaking.com has shared some of my favourite recipes.
You might be thinking, ‘well, might as well go straight to joy of baking and follow that recipe!’ since I’ve barely made any changes to the original but I’d like to think of this post more as a heads up to any of you out there if you are, like I was, making cinnamon rolls for the first time. This post will document all the things that went right and also instances where things could have gone better, and I’m hoping that this post of mine might help you.
Just so you know, you should give yourself plenty of time when you make cinnamon rolls. Not because cinnamon rolls are particularly hard to make ( I don’t think) but because the dough requires plenty of time to rise.
Alrighty! So firstly, I measured out the flour and active yeast. I split the flour into two big bowls because only half the amount of flour listed in the ingredients will go in with the yeast initially.
I tipped the yeast and half the flour into an electric mixture and blended both dry ingredients together.
I then heated the milk and butter together in a small saucepan. I knew when to turn off the heat when I placed a drop of milk on the inside of my wrist and it was slightly warm.
Next, Stephanie instructs:
Gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, with the mixer on low speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.Then beat this mixture on high speed for 3 minutes. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook (or knead by hand), and knead in as much of the remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups (295 – 365 grams) flour until you have a soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes), but not sticky.
Everything was going excellently up this point. But just as I was getting my camera ready to take a photo, I glanced down to take a look at the ingredients I had yet to use. And it was then that I saw the sugar. And the salt. I was so busy worrying about overheating the butter and milk that I had completely neglected the sugar and salt, that I was meant to pour in with the milk and butter:
In a small saucepan, stirring constantly, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt just till warm (about 120 degrees F) (50 degrees C) and the butter is almost melted.
Remember to add in the sugar and salt into the milk and butter mixture, ok? So, was it all doomed for me? Did I have to start all over again and feel bad about wasting ingredients?
No, friends, no! Putting the sugar and salt into the milk as it warmed probably would have helped dissolve the tiny particles of flavour but as long as you allow everything to get a good stir together in the early stages of mixing you should be fine! I admit though, I did hop about in anguish and stress for a good few seconds thinking I had majorly fluffed up.
Now, after I had incorporated the second bowl of flour into the mixture, this is what resulted!
..Tada! It got quite hard for the dough hook to properly knead the dough near the final stages of kneading (the dough was awfully clingy to the hook) so I used a little elbow grease in the end to get the dough into shape.
As mentioned earlier, the dough is meant to be dry to the touch (but not crumbly), smooth and full of elasticity:
As seen above, my dough wasn’t exactly a round ball when it was on the table top, but after coating the inside of my mixing bowl with oil I placed my dough ball into the centre and gave it a good old toss around, making sure that the whole external surface of the dough ball was coated in oil. From experience, me firmly tossing my dough around in the bowl eventuated in my dough turning into a pretty round ball. I would suggest that you don’t skimp on coating the inside of the bowl with oil (but of course don’t overdo it)- because the oil is what prevents your dough ball from drying out during the leavening period.
In order to give your dough the best chance of rising properly, your dough needs to be placed somewhere warm, or at least somewhere where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate rapidly or get too cold. To leave less to chance, I forgo just wrapping the surface of my oiled bowl. I wrap the bowl in two plastic bags, stick it in the oven (which is not on), close the door and let the dough rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours .
It sounds kind of pedantic, but I have found that this ‘method’ yields the best results for me.
This is the dough after I’ve used my fingertips to release the air from the dough (after letting it rise). Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
And now! Onto the making the sweet cinnamon filling! yay!
(L to R) Ingredients used:! Brown sugar, Cinnamon, butter (cold), all purpose flour (plain flour), sultanas, milk. My parents actually decided last minute- literally as I was about to pour them in- that they didn’t want them in the rolls -_-
After that I rolled out the dough into a 30 cm (12 inch) square. Yes, I took a ruler out and measured my dough. Why? Because Stephanie told me to do so. And who am I to do otherwise?
Rather than using light cream to seal the dough together (because I didn’t have any), I opted to use a little milk instead, which worked just as well. As reminded by Stephanie, I was careful not to roll the dough up too tightly so as to prevent the centre of the roll from popping during baking.
One change I did do was cut up my cinnamon log into more than 8 pieces, mainly because I wanted smaller rolls.
My cinnamon rolls, all snug and happy! 🙂 I had brushed all trays I intended to use with oil to help prevent the rolls from sticking after baking. Unfortunately though, I actually learned after baking was done that I had put my rolls in too close proximity with one another; you need to give each roll a substantial amount of room to rise and spread during the one hour of rising. For this stage of rising though, I did cover the top of my baking trays filled with cinnamon rolls with plastic wrap, lightly brushed with oil to prevent sticking. I let them rise in the oven like I did with the dough earlier.
Milk brushed onto the surface!
And out of the oven! I baked my rolls at 190 degrees C ( 375 degrees F) for 25 to30 minutes as instructed and I did have to cover the rolls up with foil in the last 10 minutes because they were getting rather brown. How did I know whether the rolls were ready? I gave the top of the roll a tap and confirmed to myself that they sounded like they were hollow. Alternatively, you can stick a toothpick into the buns and see whether it comes out clean.
As you can see, some of my rolls had the centre popping out. Rather than this being because I rolled the log too tightly, I think it’s more because I tried to pack in too many rolls in on one tray. I had another tray of cinnamon rolls less densely pack and they all turned out wonderfully. So now you know! No tight packing! Because the rolls will expand even further during baking!
While I don’t have any pictures of me making the icing/glaze I drizzled on top of my cinnamon rolls, here is evidence that I made some! (I mixed in milk and powdered sugar to get the glaze)
Well, this is another kitchen adventure over. My family immensely enjoyed these cinnamon rolls and they were pretty much all gone by the next day. Even though I wasn’t too happy about some of the centres popping out, my family honestly couldn’t care less. They were all about the taste, which at the end of the day, is the most important thing, right? But I now know next time what and what not to do, so that’s a plus!
While I’ve tried to highlight the things I thought important during the cinnamon roll making process for myself, I’ve embedded below a fantastic video of Stephanie actually taking you through each of the steps she does to make her cinnamon rolls. I higihly recommend you watch the following video before you start so then you know whether you’re on the right track or not as you go through the stages of making and baking:
Source: Joy of Baking
I hope that all you have a very happy Christmas, where you are surrounded by people that you love and make you feel happy. All the best for the upcoming year and beyond!
Slightly (but barely adapted recipe) from joyofbaking.com
For the Dough:
- 4 1/2 – 5 cups (590 – 660 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) (7 grams) (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 cup (240 ml) milk
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cold (cut into pieces)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) raisins or currants (optional)
For the Glaze (Optional)
- 1/2 cup (58 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
- 1 – 2 tablespoons milk
- 1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (can use an electric hand mixer), combine 2 1/4 cups (295 grams) flour and the yeast.
- In a small saucepan, stirring constantly, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt just till warm (about 120 degrees F) (50 degrees C) and the butter is almost melted. Gradually incorporate the milk mixture into the flour mixture, with the mixer on low speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Then beat this mixture on high speed for 3 minutes. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook (or knead by hand), and knead in as much of the remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups (295 – 365 grams) flour until you have a soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes), but not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a well greased bowl. Roll the ball in the bowl until all surface area of the ball is coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours). Then gently punch the dough to release the air and let rest for 10 minutes.
- As dough rests, make the filling. In a bowl stir together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender/ two knives/potato masher, until the mixture is crumbly.
- Roll the dough into a 30 cm (12 inch) square. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the rolled out dough and top with raisins (if desired). Lightly brush one end of the dough with a little half-and-half/ light cream/milk to seal the edges of the rolls. Roll the dough to form a log, starting at the end opposite the edge you brushed with cream. (Do not roll the dough too tightly or the centre of the rolls will pop up during baking.) Slice the log into eight equal-sized pieces. Arrange rolls in a well oiled baking pan, and allow for room in between each roll for rising. Cover rolls loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise, at room temperature, until almost doubled (about one hour). (At this point you can refrigerate the Cinnamon Rolls overnight (up to 24 hours). Next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator, take off the plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.) Break any surface bubbles with a toothpick. Lightly brush rolls with half-and-half or light cream. Bake in a 190 degrees C (375 degrees F) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till light brown, and a toothpick inserted into one of the buns, comes out clean. Also, if you lightly tap on the top of the buns they should sound hollow. If necessary, to prevent burning, cover rolls loosely with foil the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Remove rolls from oven and brush again with half-and-half/ light cream/milk. Cool 5 minutes and then invert onto a baking rack and re-invert onto a serving plate or platter. Drizzle with the powdered sugar glaze if desired.