I have always loved a good cinnamon bun - that heavenly combination of freshly made bread combined with the magic of cinnamon sugar and a touch of icing is pure joy in every mouthful!
While I do love a good Cinnabon, I prefer my buns not overly doused with too much sickly-sweet frosting. You'll find in my recipe below that my buns have just enough frosting to bring in some sweetness without overtaking the amazing flavor of the freshly cinnamon-spiced baked bread!
While these are best fresh, if you pop them into the microwave for a bit they will return to that "just out of the oven feel and taste" and a bit of butter on top doesn't hurt either!
If you have your reservations about cooking with yeast, rest assured that today's yeast is a lot easier to work and as long as its fresh and and you follow the tips below your breads will always turn out perfect!
Always ensure your liquid is the right temperature for the yeast (ideally 46C/115F) and that you add some sugar for it to feed/ferment properly - if your yeast doesn't froth, you aren't going to get a good result
Using a thermometer helps a lot because if your liquid is too cold or too hot the yeast will not do it's thing and your bread won't rise
Greasing your dough hook (if using a machine) with oil before you start kneading your dough will ensure it removes easily off the hook once ready saving a lot of time!
If after 10 minutes your yeast is not bubbly and frothy don't even bother going ahead with the recipe because your yeast isn't working and your bread won't rise. My advice would be to get some fresh yeast, ensure your temperatures are right and start again - it will save you a lot of heartache!
Ensure your dough gets a nice rise in a warm, draft-free environment. An oven that has just been heated a little and then turned off is ideal or if you are a having a lovely warm day, just pop it outside, covered of course, and let it do it's thing.
Bread flour is best for recipes like this because of it's gluten content which allows you to achieve the light texture and right consistency.
You can add nuts, a spread like Nutella, choc-chips or mixed peel if you like to this recipe just before rolling up - experiment away!
And last but not least, store your yeast in the fridge to keep it as fresh as possible
YOU WILL NEED
2 + ¾ cups bread flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 + ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 cup milk (I used low fat milk)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3-4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
¼ cup brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk
In a small saucepan heat milk and butter to 46°C/115°F. Pour into a jug or small mixing bowl and add the caster sugar and yeast. Give a good brisk stir (10-20 seconds) to make sure it is all well combined. Don’t worry if you have a few bits of butter here and there. Cover and set aside for 5-10 minutes or until frothy.
Grease your stand mixer hook before adding your bread flour and salt, to your stand mixer and then gently pour in the yeast mixture and egg and proceed to mix on low to combine and then turn up to medium for 6-7 minutes or until the dough comes together into a smooth and stretchy dough. It will concentrate onto the dough hook itself and leave the bowl completely when it is the right consistency.
If you dough is too wet continue kneading for a couple more minutes and if it has still not come together add a little more flour - 1/8 of a cup at a time, kneading well between each addition and continue to add an 1/8 of a cup at time until the dough comes together nicely into a ball.
You can also knead the dough by hand if you wish until it becomes smooth and stretchy.
Place dough in a large well-greased bowl covered with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Turn out the risen dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes.
Roll into a 40cm x 24cm | 15 x 9 inch rectangle and then brush the softened butter evenly over the surface.
Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar together and sprinkle evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough lengthwise so you have the length to cut 9 larger or 12 smaller pieces – a ruler can help with this process to make them nice and even but if the sizes vary a bit don't worry too much - it's all good!
Place the cut rounds in a lightly greased 23cm/9 inch square pan and lightly cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and set aside for a second rise for approximately 30 minutes.
Remove any covering and bake at 180C/375F for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Remove from oven when done and allow to cool slightly.
Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk together until smooth and brush over warm rolls and serve immediately. I love to top mine with a bit of butter – simply delicious!
MAKES 9 LARGE or 12 SMALLER CINNAMON BUNS