Cinnamon Buns

Like pie crusts, I have always felt very intimidated with trying recipes with yeast.  It has always been a very long process of the whole kneading and proofing, and if the end result isn’t even remotely reasonable, that would be very discouraging.  However, stepping outside the comfort zone gives me the opportunity to grow, so here we go.

Ingredients for cinnamon buns:
20 grams fresh yeast (if using instant yeast, use 1 package and dissolve in 2 tbsp of warm water)
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups bread flour (in addition to previous)

Ingredients for filling:
1/2 cup butter softened (spreadable)
1/3 cup sugar
2-3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Ingredients for frosting:
4 tbsp. butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese softened (I used the spreadable tub)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
Cinnamon Buns:  In a large bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, sugar and salt.  Make a small well in the flour mixture.  Add the yeast.  Then the warm milk.  Slowly stir in the egg and the melted butter.
Sift the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour on a clean surface and work the dough mixture into the flour.  The mixture will be VERY sticky.  ***DO NOT ADD FLOUR***  Knead the dough until it does not stick to the clean surface and become smooth.  Work the dough into a boule (making sure that there is tension on the surface).  Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel.  Then let the dough complete first round of proofing for 1 1/2 hours, best temperature at about 28°C.
Turn the proofed dough onto a clean and well floured surface (Be sure that it is well floured, or the dough will stick to the surface).  Roll the dough out with a rolling pin into a rectangular shape measuring approximately 12″ x 18″ and 1/4″ thick.
Filling:  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Mix well.  Smear the softened butter all over the dough surface, making sure that it covers the entire surface.  Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the smeared butter, making sure to cover the dough evenly.
Cin filling
Start on the long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough up.  Using a dough cutter and cut the rolled up dough in half. Cut each half in half again. Then cut each quarter into equal thirds so you have 12 pieces.
Place each piece into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish with the spiral side up.  Cover the baking dish and refrigerate overnight.  (If you want to bake on the same day, let the baking dish rest on the kitchen counter and rest and room temperature for about 2 hours)
The following day, remove the baking dish from the fridge and let it sit in a warm spot in your kitchen for one hour.  Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Place the baking dish on the center rack of your oven, and bake for 24-27 minutes. The tops will be golden brown.
Frosting:  Cream the softened butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth and then add powdered sugar and whisk again on low speed. When all of the powdered sugar is mixed in, add milk and cinnamon. Whisk on medium high speed for about a minute.  Smear on top of warm cinnamon buns.

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