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
Rolls before baking, after baking and after glazing (Instagram pics).
Recipe for Cinnamon Rolls with glaze
- 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.