Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cinnamon Buns a la Peter Reinhart

I have a confession to make. I have an addiction. I don't think there is a 12-step program for me, either, because I don't think anyone wants me to get over this addiction. I am addicted to Peter Reinhart's book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

I had heard of the book before, and heard wonderful things about the recipes contained therein. So on one of our weekly trips to the library, I actually found it and took it out. I swear, I could have sat and read this like a novel. He does a fantastic job of explaining the theory and science behind bread making, and writes his recipes to be clear, easy to follow and understandable.

It took me some time, but I picked my top three recipes to try (I had the book for three weeks, I figured I would try one a week), and was ready to see if I could live up to my own hopes and expectations.

The first recipe that I chose was cinnamon buns. Little miss and daddy were very pleased with this choice, so I got started.

The dough for these cinnamon buns is a yeasted sweet dough, and it came together very nicely, though prepped more like a batter than what I am used to for a real bread dough. But, like all breads, a prime ingredient (aside from, you know, yeast and flour) was time, so the smooth dough was left, covered in plastic wrap, to ferment for two hours.

When the dough was just about ready to be rolled and shaped, I enlisted some help in preparing the cinnamon sugar. Little miss was more than happy to whisk, whisk, whisk for me, and we soon had a bowl full of sweet, cinnamon-y goodness just waiting to be rolled into my now risen dough.

Now, I will admit that I did make one slight alteration to the recipe as written, something that I almost never do on a first-pass at a recipe. The recipe calls for the dough to be rolled, and then topped with the cinnamon sugar mix. I decided to spread brown butter onto the dough before topping it with the cinnamon sugar. I did this for two reasons - one, most cinnamon bun recipes that I have ever seen (and tried) call for butter to help the cinnamon sugar stick to the dough. Secondly, I happened to have one stick's worth of brown butter in the fridge just waiting for a good use, and it just sounded good to me. I let the brown butter come to room temperature and brushed it onto my rolled and measured dough before letting little miss pour the cinnamon sugar over the top and carefully spread it out. I then took over and carefully rolled the dough into a long spiral, then cut the long roll into individual buns. The dough cut beautifully, and I soon had 14 really nice looking buns, nicely spaced and set, once again, to rest.

After proofing for an hour and a half, these buns had grown beautifully, which was very encouraging. The dough was still soft and delicate, but now the rolls were really starting to look like real cinnamon buns. So into the oven they went for about 20 minutes, and I only wish I could share with you how good the house smelled during that time.

By the time the timer went off, we couldn't want to see how these would look, and when we pulled out the pan, we were far from disappointed.

There was only one thing left for us to do, and that was to make a glaze for the top. Confectioners sugar, milk and a touch of vanilla extract, some expert stirring, and we were ready to drizzle. And drizzle, she did.

We actually made about one half of the recipe for the glaze, and it was more than enough for our buns. Little miss loved making patterns with the glaze, and it was fun to watch her do so.

Once the buns were glazed, they were moved to a cooling rack to cool, which was perfect timing, as it was time to eat some dinner. By the time that dinner was done, we were more than ready for dessert.

Oh. My. Gosh. These were so good. The dough was so sweet and soft and delicious, these may just be the best cinnamon buns I have ever had. And I mean ever, including store-bought ones. We each had one for dessert, then each had one for breakfast the next morning. These were so dangerously good that we actually shared them with friends to remove the temptation of just sitting and eating the whole batch at once.

These will absolutely be made again. I am actually considering making them tomorrow, or maybe Friday to have over the weekend. Yum.


  1. They are perfect, send me some please

  2. Yum, those look delicious! I have got to get to baking more! I feel like I'm in a slump with all the other stuff that is eeking away my time.

  3. Shelley:

    I have a jar of cinnamon flavoured honey here. To Die For!

    I would like to make cinnamon buns with it. But don't want any of it oozing out.

    I love the concept of your chocolate swirl buns.

    Do you have any suggestions for me?


    1. I would like to use the honey in place of a powdered cinnamon mix.


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