I don’t do fancy stuff for breakfast. Seriously. Some people might look at my Breakfast posts and disagree, but as I explained in my Cherry Sour Cream Scones post, most morning meals are simple with just fruit and grains of some sort. With three little boys to get going in the mornings, I don’t have the luxury to make extravagant breakfasts. Though I dearly love cinnamon rolls and could eat them every single morning, I reserve fancy things like that for special occasions such as Christmas or when we have family visiting. Actually, that’s probably a good thing because all that butter and sugar goes straight to my backside.
For our September project, Marce of Pip in the City challenged The Daring Bakers to tackle Peter Reinhart’s cinnamon and sticky buns from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I own the book and have made several things from it, but I’ve never made Reinhart’s cinnamon buns because we have a family recipe that we really like, so thanks to Marce for the opportunity to try this recipe. As usual, the DBs have to stick to the recipe with only a few modifications allowed:
We could mix up the spices and use things other than cinnamon if we wanted to,
We could make both cinnamon and sticky buns or choose just one,
We didn’t have to use nuts for the sticky buns if we were allergic to nuts or just don’t like them,
We could skip the raisins or substitute other dried fruits that we thought might work well, and
If a particular ingredient was unavailable or cost-prohibitive in our region, then we could substitute.
Since I’m not a sticky buns fan, I decided to skip those and just make the cinnamon buns. The recipe does list a few options for some of the ingredients, so I’ve written the recipe the way I made it. For the full recipe and all the variations, including instructions for making the sticky buns, check out Marce’s blog. One thing that I’ll be straight up about is that I only made half of the glaze and found that it was plenty for a batch of buns. We made 16 smaller buns, but even they were still a couple inches in diameter, so unless you just like humongous pastries, you can probably make 12 to 16 buns out of the recipe and no one will feel like they were cheated by a too-small bun.
The dough is soft and lovely to work with, and has a light, interesting flavor, and the buns were popular around the neighborhood, but overall I think I prefer the family recipe (sorry, Peter). The main difference between the two is the filling: Reinhart’s recipe uses simple cinnamon sugar in the middle layer, while our family recipe calls for butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and chopped nuts. We just happen to prefer gooey, loaded cinnamon rolls, and I will post that recipe as we get closer to the holidays since that’s when we typically enjoy them.
Make sure you hop on over to The Daring Bakers Blogroll and check out all the beautiful buns!
stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments
large mixing bowl, lightly coated with cooking spray
silicone pastry sheet (optional)
half sheet baking pan, lined with parchment paper
6-1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5-1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
3-1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached 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)
GLAZE (I made half this amount and thought it was plenty.)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon, orange, vanilla, or rum extract
6 tablespoons milk
1. MAKE THE DOUGH: In the bowl of the stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar, salt, and butter, until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly. Add the lemon extract/zest and mix until combined.
3. In the small bowl, stir together the flour and yeast, then add to the butter mixture and stir. Add the milk.
4. Mix on low speed until the dough starts coming together in a ball and clears the sides of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook, and knead on low for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and supple, not sticky. If the dough is too sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour. If the dough is too dry and shaggy, add a tablespoon of milk.
5. Transfer the kneaded dough to the oiled large bowl, and spray a little cooking spray over the top of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm location to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
6. SHAPE THE BUNS: Move the dough onto a silicone pastry mat or mist some cooking spray on your work surface, then roll it out into a rectangle about 2/3-inch thick. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour while you work to keep the rolling pin from sticking. If you want 12 to 16 buns, then make the rectangle 9 inches by 18 inches. If you want 8 buns, then make the rectangle 12 inches by 14 inches.
7. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the rectangle, then roll the dough into a log. Cut the log in half, and then half each piece again. Continue cutting until you have the desired number of buns (8 to 16).
8. Place the cut buns on the parchment paper with about 1/2-inch distance between them. Allow the buns to sit at room temperature for up to 90 minutes, until the buns have nearly doubled in size and spread into each other.
9. BAKE: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Put the rack in the middle of the oven.
10. Bake the buns for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
11. MAKE THE GLAZE: While the buns are baking, stir together the powdered sugar, extract, and milk in a small bowl. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and thick.
12. Drizzle the glaze over the tops of the buns while they are still warm. Remove buns to a cooling rack and allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving.
Source: adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart