Monday, July 13, 2009

BBA Challenge #8: Cinnamon Buns (of pure evil!)

So, Amy and I have been trying to lose weight since January. Which is all well and good except that I decided to join this Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge hosted by Nicole of Pinch My Salt. So I am still trying, but it has definitely been slow going. I have given lots of bread away, but lately that has been very hard, as the bread is so good that I just want to keep it.

For the next recipe from the challenge, we were baking Cinnamon Buns. Now, I've never really been a fan of Cinnabon. I can eat about half of one before I go into Sugar Shock, and have to save the rest for later.

If you didn't gather from the Casatiello post, I am a vegetarian. Once, there was nothing for me to eat at an airport, and I had to make do with a Cinnabon. Not a good idea. Note to Airports: Offer more vegetarian food. I don't care how much it costs. That Cinnabon was almost six US dollars!

The number "2" on the egg designates that it is a Bodenhaltung Ei, which is to say that it was taken from a chicken that was not caged. DE means it was produced in Germany, and the number at the end is the number of the company that produced it and their production code.

Unfortunately for me, the flavor extracts come in small tubes with no mention of how much is in the little buggers. Plus you have to shake the thing to get the liquid out, so it's not a good system. I did see a small bottle of extract next to these, but didn't think I would be needing much, so I decided not to get it.

Type 550 flour is pretty much all-purpose flour. I rarely buy it, but always try to have at least a kilo on hand, as compared to up to 4 kilos of Type 812 and Type 1050. The higher the number, the more of the grain is milled into the flour. There is a type 405, which is in fact the most common flour here, but it is basically made up of the very center of the grain. That means no nutrients and all starch. I never buy it.

In all its Type 550 glory.

I managed to get a good mise en place shot for this one, though it was actually the last time it happened. I think this is also the recipe where I got muddled in the directions, so if you're wondering what that pyrex measuring cup full of water is doing there, it's because I got confused.

To the non-existent naysayers that say the DLX cannot cream butter and sugar. Boo-ya! It took a minute for the butter to behave, but after cranking it up to 2/3 of its 700 possible Watts, the sugar and butter creamed.

A little caveat here if you do have a DLX, make sure the butter is at room temperature or this adventure will end in a big FAIL.

At first the dough was very cake-batter like. I hadn't added in the flour yet. With the DLX you pretty much add the liquids in first then the flour.

Which turns it into this.

And then this.

This too.

And eventually into silky smooth dough. I kept taking pieces off and popping them into my mouth. It was that good!

Here's the first rise. Zimtschnecken literally means Cinnamon Snails, and is the German word for Cinnamon Buns/Rolls.

Because I wanted to net 12 rolls for everyone on my list (yes, I made a list!), I rolled the rectangle long to about 40cm. That ruler thingie at the top of the photo is a Zollstock, a collapsible measuring stick that is ubiquitous here.

Oh man, what a beautiful schnecke! That is, a beautiful snail.

I first divided it in half and then in half again, taking the advice of a blogger (I don't remember who). Here are the first three.

I sort of skimmed over the part where it says to place them close together so that they grow into each other.

We have no oven light, so this is me holding a flashlight to the cinnamon rolls and also taking a photo.

Pre-icing. They broke a bit due to the oven spring.

Also, they were a bit brown. Even though I have two thermometers running, my baking times are always shorter than Peter Reinhart's in the book. And yes, the thermometers match when they are side by side!

A shot of all of them. The end bun on the bottom right was my fave, aesthetically.

See, I even took a close-up of it.

I have to confess that I sort of messed up the glaze. I was going to make a half recipe, but I added the full amount of milk, and ended up having to open up another box of powdered sugar to make up for it.

Nevertheless, they were pretty good, and nowhere near the diabetic-shock-inducing sugary-sweetness of the aforementioned Cinnabon. So they were way better.

Here a skewed shot of the dozen buns.

I actually had to hold off on trying these until the next day because I was bringing them in for Monday morning breakfast at work, so they were a bit dry the next day, but I think this is because I baked them too long. Still, they were really good.


  1. Congratulations!! I loved your pictures -- especially the step-by-step ones of the dough gradually forming. Your roll looked perfect, too...very tight. Nice job. I'm sure they tasted fab even the day after...

  2. Awesome. They look great.
    Nice baking along with you,

  3. Oh Daniel! You always make me laugh. I love the flashlight to the oven door shot. And how many times have I done something like use the full amount of milk when I meant to make a half recipe. Sometimes that's part of the fun - trying to figure out how I can fix my mistakes - is it too late or is it salvageable? And I love that you made that butter behave in the DLX. As always, your rolls look great.

  4. Love all the photos! I think I've told you this before, but I'm jealous of your mixer! :-)

  5. Wow! Love the tutorial on the types of flour. That in itself would be a challange. Excellent rolls & photos. I liked the end roll also. Very aesthetic.

  6. Lovely rolls. And I want your mixer too.

  7. Thanks for the primer on what those numbers mean on the bags of flour. I was wondering about that on one of your earlier posts. Your cinnamon rolls looked beautiful and I am envious of your perfectly rolled rectangle and tight roll. Precision is not my forte!

  8. Yes, it's tough keeping the weight off while joining all these online baking groups. :P
    Your cinnamon rolls look wonderful. Thanks for the info on flours and the great pictures.

  9. Oh wow great post! I have about 4 of the cinnamon buns today and I am seriously in carb coma/sugar shock. My friends are loving me because they are getting a ton of free bread.

    Nicely done!

  10. Great job! They look so yummy!

  11. They are stunning, these are so good.

  12. Thanks everyone for the great comments! I really only got the mixer because it was cheaper than a KA. And because I read that it was awesome.

    I only had the nice rectangle because I have practice making Tortillas. They never come out round, but always rectangular. I'll try to take photos next time. And the tight roll was just luck. Even though I've been making bread for 12 years, I hadn't progressed past the basic white loaf until this April.

    And I only had one of these, though I wanted more!

  13. For creaming butter, wouldn't the plastic bowl work better?

  14. Hi Anonymous-

    Thanks for the comment. You do have a good point, but would entail getting both the plastic and metal bowls dirty. Something I don't mind, though. I'll try it next time I'm making a cake- which is pretty soon!