Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BBA: Cinnamon Buns

The Slow & Steady bakers in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge are taking on Peter Reinhart's Cinnamon Buns this week. I sensed an overall lack of enthusiasm for the cinnamon buns at the beginning, a lack of enthusiasm that I shared to some degree -- we're in the middle of a stretch of enriched sweet breads with the BBA, and I think many of us are looking forward to getting to the crustier hearth breads. But once I tasted these cinnamon buns, my enthusiasm returned in full force. These rank right up there with the best cinnamon buns I've ever had. They also rank right up there with the best cinnamon buns I've ever made, although it is somewhat crazy to me to think that I have indeed made enough different cinnamon buns at this point to have several to choose from in declaring one "the best." I've made Dorie's pecan honey sticky buns using her brioche, and they were to die for fabulous. I've made raisin snails using Peter Reinhart's brioche - also very good. And I've made Ina Garten's easy sticky buns, which were delicious, and indeed easy. But for the perfect combination of both simplicity and out of this world deliciousness, I just don't think you can beat Peter Reinhart's recipe.


Making these is no more difficult than making a typical cake or brownie recipe. Mix together sugar, salt, and butter or shortening (I used butter). Another nice thing about this recipe, for all you health conscious cinnamon bun eaters out there, is that it uses significantly less butter than the brioche-based cinnamon buns (5.5 tablespoons, as opposed to a full stick of butter in a half recipe of Peter Reinhart's middle class brioche and a stick and a half in a half recipe of Dorie's brioche. Add an egg and some lemon zest or extract (I used extract because I have it and never use it). Add the flour, yeast and milk (I used nonfat buttermilk), mix until a ball forms, then switch to the dough hook and knead for 10 minutes. I had to knead (er, let the Kitchen Aid knead) mine for a little bit longer before my dough passed the windowpane and the temperature tests.

Once it passed the readiness tests, I transferred it to a bowl sprayed with oil and let it rise. It's supposed to rise for two hours, but as bad timing would have it, I had the opportunity to leave the house (alone) and run errands (by myself) right when the dough had been fermenting for a little over an hour. And NOTHING stands in the way of Mama and her alone time. Therefore, it rose for a good three hours before I was able to shape it. It had at least tripled in size by then, and I worried that I overfermented (is that a word?) it, but it certainly didn't seem to affect the final outcome.

Rolling up the cinnamon/sugar filled dough:


Cinnamon rolls sliced and ready for second proofing (I wanted to bake them fresh the next day, so I covered these with plastic wrap and retarded them in the fridge overnight):


The next morning, I took them out of the fridge - they had to proof for 3 or 4 hours before baking. This worked out perfectly with my timing, since I planned to serve them around "brunch" time at my daughter's two year old birthday party. It was a "Madeline" themed party:


I know that cinnamon buns aren't particularly French, but then neither are pigs in a blanket, and I served them too.

The cinnamon buns smelled incredible as they were baking, as cinnamon buns are wont to do. And they were really, really wonderful. I don't think that my two talking kids have ever been as enthusiastic about anything that I've baked as they were about these cinnamon buns. And my birthday girl?


She loved them too.

Suffice it to say that I will make these again. Peter, I'm sorry I wasn't excited about all these sweet breads. You sure showed me! I am in love with this recipe, and am already plotting and scheming to manufacture some other cinnamon bun occasions in the very near future.

21 comments:

Anne said...

Oh man I'm dying over the party table- that is so cute Cathy! Your little girl is adorable, too. :)

I've been looking for a good cinnamon roll recipe (not that the brioche one isn't amazing, but something a little less buttery, you know) and will have to try this one!

Jennifer said...

Your cinnamon rolls look absolutely mouth watering!!! YUM!

I Love Caroline's party theme! So adorable!

Natashya said...

I just made these again last night for the third time.. we loved them too.
What a great birthday theme! My daughter will be 20 this week, she still gets princess cakes.

Audrey said...

You know, I didn't even notice the "significantly-less-butter" part! Mine didn't come out well but I'm going back in for a re-do. I love knowing that these can rest overnight in the fridge because timing sometimes stops me in recipes like this...unless you're a person who LIKES getting up at 5 am, how do you make cinnamon buns for Sunday breakfast? Now I know.

Love the Madeleine party...and the birthday girl picture!

natalia said...

Ciao Cathy ! Your party theme is just adorable ! I love the doll I've never seen one around !! Did you make the hat cake too !! The cinnamon rolls wher really delicious I agree !!!

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous buns! ;-) I love the less butter part too. Your little one is adorable and I love the party theme--the table looks amazing.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I had the same reaction to these buns (and I was a lot less enthusiastic going into it!). These were a great - albeit non-French - contribution to your brunch table. There are almost enough pictures to satisfy your curious friends; that shot of Caroline is adorable. And are those madeleines in the back of the table? Great job on these!

The Blonde Duck said...

I would eat the entire pan. I've been craving cinnamon rolls lately--I think it's because I'm in the mood for winter in this endless 105 degree weather.

What is proofing? (Idiot question from the blond..)

Cakelaw said...

Love your cinnamon buns - and the Madeline themed party. Happy birthday to Caroline!!

Sam@BingeNYC said...

Aw, I loved Madeline when I was little, what a sweet party theme. Your cinnamon buns look scrumptious!

Lady Baker said...

cath, I LOVE the party theme!! Happy Birthday Caroline!! :) Hugs xoxox

Mary Ann said...

I just might have to try these. I haven't really gone for making cinnamon rolls too much- I remember watching my mom do it and it always seemed to take forever!
What a cute party theme- love the treats and decorations.
and of course, the adorable birthday girl!

Kayte said...

Your rolls do look incredibly great...I think that extra rise did them proud! I just loved messing with that dough, it felt so good. The party photo is wonderful...you are planning all my parties from now on. You do boys things, too, right? I think you are in the wrong line of work...I think your real hidden talents lie in party planning. Darling photo of C and the dolly...love the dress (and yes, it is totally acceptable to plan a party around a dress!) and look at those cute little toddler fingers and toes and little cheeks...priceless. Great post.

pinkstripes said...

I loved Madeline as a child. Happy Birthday to Caroline!

I loved these cinnamon buns and I made them vegan. I want to try the original version soon. Glad they were a success.

Leslie said...

Yummy! Who doesn't love cinnamon rolls, really? I also liked that this recipe had significantly less butter than others and yet had such great flavor and texture. Your daughter is adorable! Love the Madeleine theme.

Pamela said...

Oh! Happy Birthday to Caroline!! Looks like you threw her one heck of a delicious party!

Di said...

Happy birthday to Caroline! How do they get so big so fast? My girls loved the cinnamon rolls, too. Picky Brianna even asked me when I was going to make more. =) And I love the party pictures. Brianna's middle name is Madeline, so she loves Madeleine, too.

Sweet and Savory said...

I love cinnamon buns and haven't made them in about ten years. I think the time has come.

doughmesstic said...

So cute! I love the way you decorated, and her dress? Adorable. Looks like she enjoed herself, and I am glad my cookies helped a little!

alex said...

Absolutely amazing, i love it cinnamon roll. keep it up and we will be waiting for your next post.





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Marshall Lynch said...

Amazing post. Thanks for sharing... keep it up and we will be waiting for your next post.





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