12 August 2012

Bread baking tales and recipe for cinnamon rolls

The high point of July was this artisan bread-baking workshop most generously organised by Breadworks Boulangerie. We were hand held (literally) through this process of bread kneading, shaping and baking by master artisan baker, Maurice Chaplais from UK. It was so much fun messing around with flour, yeast, butter and other baking enthusiasts to help with the sticky business. We got to take home the gorgeous stuff we baked-challahs, baps, scottish mist and a most decadent chocolate rum tart. It was also the first time I worked with fresh yeast. You may call it a strong smell, but I'll most definitely call it an aroma, which mellows and infuses every corner of your home as you bake with this.  Call it a stupid coincidence, but I came back home from the workshop and my hands were desperate to get kneading some bread and every batch of yeast at home died on me. I had a painful wait as I ordered fresh yeast online, and the very evening it came home, I got started.

Top L-R: Anadama bread, Whole wheat loaf /
 Bottom L-R: White Sandwich loaf, Fig walnut loaf from Masterchef Australia

Now, the recipes we learnt in the workshop asked for accurately weighed ingredients, while my favourite cookbook-How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman has a section on leavened breads with all metric measurements. So I got started with two sandwich loaves, one white and other, part whole wheat. The next was an Anadama bread, which uses part cornmeal, because in my baking spree, the flour in the bin was all scraped out and I need half a cup more and this recipe fit the bill perfectly.

That was three loaves in two days. 

Yesterday presented me with a perfect opportunity to bake something that's been playing on my mind for a while, the cinnamon roll. We had a farewell tea party for a neighbour and bingo, I wanted to bake these. Again, a Mark Bittman recipe with slight modifications, turned out pillowy soft, just the right amount of sweetness and that hit of decadence from the sugary almond glaze. These were my babies, lovingly baked and of course I loved them. But when my friend, Bharath, who never offers praise unless truly deserved raved about them after taking a bite (in stone cold sober state), that these were the BEST rolls he's eaten, I knew these were deserving of good pictures and then a post with a recipe, may be.

So here goes...

Recipe for Cinnamon Rolls with glaze
Makes 15-16 rolls

3.5 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp fresh yeast or 2 tsp instant dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter (soft)
1 cup milk (3% or whole, not skimmed)

For filling
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
2-3 tbsp butter

For brushing
2 tbsp melted butter

For glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
few drop almond extract or vanilla extract

Rolls before baking, after baking and after glazing (Instagram pics)

In a large bowl, combine flour, crumbled yeast, sugar, salt, butter with your finger tips until they are like crumbs and well mixed.
Make a well in the center, add the eggs one by one, mixing well with finger tips.
Add the milk to this, combining with wooden spoon or fingertips to get the dough together. Once it forms a ball, transfer to lightly floured counter and knead for 10 minutes with heel of your palm, folding it back and again stretching with heel of palm. In the end, make a smooth ball with floured hands. Place in oiled bowl, covered properly, to rise to at least double the size (1-2 hours) in a warm, draught free place.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and keep aside.
Butter a baking dish 9X13 inches or use two smaller trays and keep aside.
Once dough has risen to double, remove from bowl on lightly floured surface. Punch down and lightly roll out using a rolling pin, roughly 15 inches in length and 9 inches wide.
Cover the entire surface with the cinnamon sugar, lightly pressing down the coating into the dough with finger tips.
Roll along the length into a tight jelly-roll. Cut into 1" slices, placing them cut side up on the greased baking tin. Keep a little space between rolls, to allow for the second rise.
If you baking in a single large baking tray- place them in 3 rows of 5 rolls to make 15 rolls.
Cover and keep aside for 45 minutes. Or you could place the entire tray inside of a big plastic shopping bag, twist the end and tuck it under tray to have a warm, draught free environment.
Preheat oven to 175 C. Once the rolls have doubled / risen, brush with melted butter and place them in a middle rack and bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, milk and extract until you get a glaze of pouring consistency. While the rolls are hot, using a spoon, drizzle the glaze criss cross all over the rolls.
Eat/serve warm straight from pan.


Anjalikoli said...

What a baking marathon, you were on! The finish is precious when you get rave comments from discerning tasters. We missed being in the same city all the time. May be when you are here visiting we should have a bake off.

Nandini Vishwanath said...

Love Anadama bread. I like the coarse texture :) Good to see so much bread baking!

Tadka Pasta said...

Hey Nandita! Met you at the Breadworks workshop, and so happy to see that you've put all that inspiration to good use. Those breads look gorgeous!


Anand said...

Hi..Nandita! It's tempting ..........http://www.valuemart.co.in

madhu said...

Hi Nandita...stumbled across ur blog from somewhere and i'm hooked!! have been looking for a good cinnamon rolls recipe and this looks amazing. just one question...which yeast do you use? I've tried using the ones u get in supermarkets here (chennai) and none of them have turned out well. Is there a specific brand you use?

sirisha said...

hi nandita......visited for the first time ....i'm impressed....
would like to have more recipes of eggless cakes and biscuits..

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kavita p said...

Hi Nandita...visited u r blog after some time. I am exalted to know that u r also in whitefield. If possible I will definitely try to attend u r bread breaking session.
I tried this recipe here. I have two questions.
Did u dissolve the dry instant yeast in water first? Because I did not and had a tough time getting the dough to raise.
Also I used brown sugar for the filling. I found that it oozed out when baked. Should I have used white sugar

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