Sunday, February 17, 2013

By popular demand

I've never had more requests for a recipe than I did for the cinnamon buns I made recently.  So, I shall post it below.  I hope posting the full reference to the author's book and imploring you to purchase it for its many other wonderful recipes is enough to avoid any sort of copyright problem!

Adapted from "Artisan Breads Every Day:Fast and Easy Recipes for World-Class Breads" by Peter Reinhart

Note: If I put the weight in brackets, I would highly recommend weighing that ingredient versus measuring it volumetrically.  It will make the dough much more consistent between batches and closer to the intended consistency in the recipe.

Sticky Buns

Sweet Dough
6 1/4 cups (28 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons (3 oz) sugar
5 teaspoons instant yeast
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm whole milk (about 95F)
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Whisk the yeast into the milk until dissolved, then pour the mixture into the dry ingredients, along with the oil.  If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  If mixing by hand, use a large spoon and stir for about 1 minute.  The dough should form a soft, coarse ball.
Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, or continue mixing by hand, for 4 minutes, adding flour or milk as needed to create a smooth, soft, slightly sticky ball of dough (Note: you shouldn't need much flour; will be slightly sticky at first; just a little flour should make it smooth enough to work with)
Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes more or continue stirring for about 2 minutes more, until the dough is very soft, supple, and tacky but not sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 1 minute, then form into a ball.
Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl large enough to hold it once doubled.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size OR refrigerate overnight.

(Note: The above is fairly detailed just for your info.  Honestly I just stirred it until it all came together.  Then I kneaded it with my fingers until everything seemed mixed in.  Then I plopped it on the counter and added a bit of flour and kneaded it until it was smooth and everything was incorporated.  In total took me about 5 minutes.)

If you put the dough in the refrigerator, take it out about 3 hours before you plan to bake.  If not just take it straight from the bowl.  Put onto the counter and divide it in half, forming each piece into a ball.  Cover each ball with a bowl or plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll each ball of dough into a 12x15-inch rectangle.  If the dough starts to resist or shrink back, let it rest for 1 minute, then continue rolling.
(Note: I really recommend actually measuring out the space.  It makes the dough the best shape and the buns the perfect size.)

Make cinnamon sugar by whisking 3/4 cup (6 oz) of sugar with 3 tablespoons of cinnamon.  Melt roughly 1/4 cup of butter and brush the surface of the dough with it.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface, leaving a 1/4-inch border.  Roll up the dough like a rug, rolling from the bottom to the top to form a tight log.  Now make the slurry.  (I make it ahead of time so it is ready to roll and the buns don't sit on the counter too long while you make it.)

There are 3 slurry options.  I'll put them all here but the Honey Slurry is my favorite.  With all of them you mix all the ingredients until it's a smooth slurry.  You then pour half into one 9x13-inch baking pan and the other half into another.  Spread it evenly along the bottom.

Creamy Caramel Slurry
1/2 cup (4 oz) sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz) light brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Honey Slurry
1 cup melted or liquid honey
1 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
(You can also make Honey Almond Slurry by adding 1 teaspoon almond extract)

Sticky Bun Slurry
1/2 cup (4 oz) sugar
1/2 cup (4 oz) brown sugar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)

Once the slurries are poured into the pans, cut the log of dough into 1-inch slices and place them on the slurry with the nicest side down.  (Divide each log into 12 sections.  Each portion of 12 buns will fit into 1 9x13.)
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours.  Just watch the buns and once they are noticeably swollen and are expanding into each other, they're ready to go.

Put your oven rack on a low position, not the normal middle position.  This is required to caramelize the slurry and cook the bottom of the buns enough.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

Bake for 12 minutes.  Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking.  Bake for another 13 minutes.  The slurry will melt, bubble, and caramelize, and the visible dough will be a dark golden brown.

Remove the pans from the oven and let them cool for 2-3 minutes in the pans.  Place a platter or pan over the top of the baking pan.  It should be large enough to cover the baking pan.  Wearing oven mitts, flip the entire thing over to release the buns and caramel onto the platter.  Now the glaze is on top.  It is INCREDIBLY hot at this point so, although you will be tempted, do NOT taste test it.  Learn from my experience!

Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

No comments: