Sunday, September 30, 2007

These bunz will go right onto your bunz!!!

It's true! They are oh-so good but oh-so bad at the same time. But really, who cares as long as they taste good, no? *winks* Anyway, it's that time of the month again: the DB challenge! And again my fellow baking soul mates have yet come up with another unbeatable crowd favorite: cinnamon buns and/or sticky buns. We have our Pip in the City, the lovely Marce to thank for this awesome selection. The recipe we used is the one from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Since I'm not a huuuge fan of sticky buns, I chose to make cinnabunz only.

I associate cinnabunz with warm childhood memories. I remember having my first cinnabun some time when I was in my teens, while vacationing in America with my aunt's wacky family. At the time, I was living in Singapore and found every facet of American culture (including food, of course) supremely fascinating. My first cinnabun seemed to me a warmly luxurious and luscious , even though it was just a snack we bought at the shopping mall we were in. I distinctly remember the cinnamon-y fragrance just wafting into my olfactory neurons and the pillowy concentric dough melting in my mouth, transporting me to the realms of cinnabun heaven, albeit for a few minutes only. So I was uber excited about this month's DB challenge!

This isn't my first time baking with yeast, so I wasn't too nervous. I have made some yeast-based goodies before here and here, but never cinnabunz. I thought making cinnabunz would be pretty complicated, what with the pretty swirly shape and getting the pillowy texture right. I ended up making it twice because the first time round, I overbaked my buns despite only baking them for minimal time. The second time, I decided to crowd the buns a little bit more before baking and the buns' mouth feel turned out to be closer to the desired cinnabunny, chewy and pillowy texture!
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Contrary to my expectation of cinnabunz being hard to make, it was pretty simple (especially if you have a Kitchenaid mixer, which I must say is a dream machine for all bakers!). The only adjustment to the recipe that I made was instead of using only cinnamon for the cinnamon sugar, I used a teeny bit more pumpkin pie spice, which basically comprises of a combo of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice and nutmeg for extra spice! Besides spacing the buns correctly and slightly underbaking them for the right duration, the most challenging part of the recipe was the rolling of the dough! It was quite difficult to roll the dough tightly so that the concentric swirls aren't too far apart. Fortunately, despite the lack of talent in the dough rolling department, the bunz didn't turn out grotesque or anything!
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Baking with yeast never fails to give me a sense of earthy satisfaction and accomplishment. I remember the first time I used yeast, I underestimated the temperature and ended up killing my poor Saccharomyces cerevisiae (geek talk for yeast). The maiden bread was a heavy, brick-like thing that was reminiscent of a brick. Since then, thankfully, I've become more adept at not killing the dynamic baking ingredient.

Points of improvement for the future includes possibly rolling the dough thinner so that the circular concentric layers aren't as thick and underbaking them even more. It's pretty cool to have made something that seems to difficult. My lab mates (who I share all my baked goodies with) are all amazed that someone (or really, anyone) makes cinnabuns from scratch at home. And as usual, it's a great joy to be able to share my passion (or at least, the results of it) with people around me! Do check out my fellow baking soul mates' efforts here. They're pretty darn awesome!

25 comments:

slush said...

Calories from challenges dont count I decided. So dont worry about that. Your buns came out gorgeous, great job!

Chris said...

Wait...wasn't it decided that all the DB recipes were calorie and fat free? Well, that's my story and I am stickin' to it!

Great job on the buns!

Deborah said...

I agree with slush - the calories don't count!! Your buns looks great!

marias23 said...

Heehee! The reality should be that nice, calorie-free DB challenges! :)

Lis said...

I swear, I truly am learning so much tonight from all of you excellent bakers!!

So now next time I make them, I am going to crowd them more- maybe that will take away from the slightly hard bread-like crust that forms.

Your cinnabuns are just gorgeous!

xoxo

Tartelette said...

The others are right: challenges calories do not count!
Great job on your first cinnamon buns! I have made my share of yeasted bricks too in the early days but as you said bread baking is really satisfying!
Welcome to the Dbs!

Katie said...

Your buns look great. Work off those calories by kneeding more dough heheh

Truffle said...

I ended up giving mine away as a present as they were simply too tempting! Well done!

Veron said...

These buns are beautiful. They do evoke childhood memories, don't they? And I do agree that they give a sense of earthiness to the entire baking experience.

Belinda said...

Those cinnamon buns turned out downright perfect! Believe it or not, after going on two days of reading about cinnamon rolls...I'm still craving one right this minute...and mine are long gone! :-)

breadchick said...

WOW your buns look great and fantastic work on the proofing!

Jenny said...

They look great. And way to tackle the yeast monster.

creampuff said...

I love how cinnamon buns evoke such pleasant memories for everyone! Great job!

Simona said...

Giving away freshly baked buns is a great solution. Your buns look great.

Laura said...

I think those are soft enough to sleep on though perhaps a little sticky! Beautiful job.

ChichaJo said...

Your buns came out great! :) I must try that glaze next...love the strip-stripey effect :)

Brilynn said...

When baking with yeast works I always get a sense of accomplishment! The buns look great!

Bruno said...

Lovely buns Maria!

Gabi said...

Calories, schmalories...
good stuff never makes you fat- it's all the mediocre stuff that does it!
Lovely buns!
xoxo

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Success! You are really on your way Monica. When you can go back and change things and be more pleased with the product you are learning. I tend to think if you haven't made a brick you missed out! So many things make big differences like how close you put the buns as you found out!
You are certainly a DB!

Aoife said...

Finally, someone else who had trouble rolling out and rolling up the dough. Although, if you hadn't told me, I never would have known!

Peabody said...

They certianly went my buns...and my thighs too!
Great job on your buns.

Baking Soda said...

Haha Chris and Slush I sooo want to agree!
Not grotesque no way, just lovely rolled buns, you did great!

Julie said...

Your buns look wonderful! And all your geeky terminology cracks me up. =D

Dolores said...

Congratulations Monica, your bunz are *gorgeous*. And I'm with you... I prefer soft and fluffy to browned and crunchy and I think crowding them together in the pan pre-baking is the key to success with this recipe. And I predict a LOT of additional success with this recipe over the next several months.

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