Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bunz of Cinnamon

Look all around and it's bad news everywhere. Higher prices at the gas pump and the grocery store, people getting sacked and not in a good way, politicians slinging dirty low-down garbage at each other, money woes on every level. What is it all about, this Vida Dulce? Well, some folks make lemonade out of lemons, and some can make a smile out of limes. Don't quote me, I read that on a Daisy sour cream label. But hold on, I think I have a temporary solution.

Going through some old favorite baking formulas, I came across this one---let's make our life a little bit sweeter with sweet rolls. Buns of steel? Hardly, although these are quite hefty though airy, yet they are not recommended for everyday consumption. Sure, they can be adapted to include nuts (we like pecans) or re-hydrated dried fruits like golden raisins or cranberries, or sticky toffee glaze, even adding chocolate bits to make this simple recipe more delicious and rich. I kept these bunz plain cinnamon iced.

Perhaps the best part is the aroma as they bake and infuse your home with an intoxicating perfume. Yeah, those HIGH PRICED BUN makers know what they are doing as you stroll through the mega mall. I dare you not look their way as pans of "sin"-a-mon bunz (admit it, they are evil) are removed from the ovens and placed in front of the shop windows for all to see. Ahh! Deliciously evil little things, torturing all who breathe in that scent. One bite and you are hooked. But these here bunz are much better for you, actually cost-effective, plus you have the benefit of bragging to all creation that you baked them yourself. Gosh, look at that, I couldn't help myself and ate one before I could find the darn camera. Yep, sure takes the bite out of a lousy economy!

This recipe takes a bit of time, especially waiting for the pre-ferment and the raising of the dough. It is given in weights for accuracy and volume for the heck of it. Hang in there, like all good things, you will be pleasantly rewarded for your efforts. Bon appetit!

CINNAMON ROLLS - adapted from "Crust and Crumb"
by Peter Reinhart
Makes 12 large or 24 regular
13 oz. AP flour (3 cups or less)
4 oz. Cake flour (1/4 cup or more)
Lemon zest, fine (2-3 tsp.)
16 oz. Buttermilk (2 cups)
Mix the buttermilk, flours, and lemon zest in a large bowl by hand, cover with plastic wrap, put in frige for up to 24 hours. Best left in the frige overnight for baking in the morning.

Pre-ferment all 33 ounces of it
15 oz. AP flour (3-1/2 cups or more)
4 oz. granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
2 tbsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. plain salt, not Kosher
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 oz. unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
Combine all above ingredients, including the pre-ferment in a mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed 1 minute, then on medium speed for about 8 minutes, stopping to check that motor does not overheat. Many KA mixers have gone to meet the Mater Baker In The Sky due to mixing heavy doughs, so make sure you check the top of the mixer for heat. Dough should be soft, smooth, a bit sticky (sounds like one of my ex's) and pass the windowpane test. Take a small piece and stretch it out, it should be translucent. Place kneaded dough into a clean large bowl, take the softened butter wrapper and wipe the top of the dough, cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise 45 minutes to double. You can also place the dough in the frige for one hour, or even freeze it for later use. It will firm up as it cools, the texture is really very nice. When you are ready to rock, remove from frige or freezer and let it come up to room temp. Lightly dust your table surface with flour and roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/4" thick. Sprinkle on top with a mixture of:

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
and if desired, mix in
2 tsp. vanilla paste (optional)
Rehydrated raisins, cranberries, etc. (optional)
Chopped nuts, pecans, walnuts, etc. (optional)

Roll up from one end like a jelly roll. Prepare cake pans or a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or with parchment paper. Cut dough roll into 1" wide pieces and place them spiral side up on prepared pans, allowing 1/2" between them. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp for about 1 hour, until the dough swirls thicken and the pieces are touching. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pans in oven on lower third rack. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until bunz are a deep golden brown and firm to the touch. When done let cool slightly on pan while mixing glaze:

Glaze icing:
8 oz. confectioners sugar (2 cups sifted)
2-4 tbsp. cream or 1/2 and 1/2
2-3 drops vanilla, orange, almond or lemon extract
OR 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste

Drizzle glaze on bunz evenly and pull apart to enjoy. You will never crave those mall bunz again.

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