Newly turned home bakers take note. Fellow bakers will agree when I say that one of the most comforting and therapeutic things to make or bake is Bread.
Bread to me is the ultimate comfort food and go to snack whether it’s my late for anywhere breakfast, my lazy morning start up , my tea time companion or my late night craving. Bread compliments my every mood, not to mention anything in the kitchen too . If eating bread is not comforting enough, baking bread from scratch is even more therapeutic.
I was trained in Bread making during my short course at a culinary school and I remember nervously walking into our first bread class because all I had ever heard about bread baking from my family is that it’s a tricky thing to do. And then to begin your very first day at culinary school with a bread baking class was a little unimaginable. But hey , I was there to learn except that was the one thing had no clue about at the class with regard to prior baking experience. Little did I know I was in for a cardio session in the kitchen. We placed our allotted ingredients on the counter and we were warned to remove all hand jewellery, watches and other fancy items. What were heading in for ?
Welcome to baking bread. Without any machines. I will not try not to sound intimidating at this point but the next 30 minutes (first class chaos and madness) was spent kneading and kneading our bread dough . We were precisely instructed to knead and stretch our dough to activate the gluten for 100 times . 50 for the right hand and 50 for the left hand if you still had strength. Being our first hands on experience (literally), I could hear panting and sighing at the counters around me. Not your ideal “I woke up for class this morning and had a fancy breakfast situation.” We were in for a surprise cardio session right in the middle of the kitchen. Once the dough was pliable to our requirement we were given a break to prepare for the next class while our delicate dough stood on the side waiting for its ” Rise 1″.
Twenty minutes later we were called back to our counters and asked to prepare for Rise 2 after our our dough had been inverted, patted down and placed into our baking trays . Our instructors carefully took our precious dough trays and placed them in the main oven while excitement and anticipation took over the class. Turns out no one else had baked bread before either. And the result? 25 minutes later, risen to perfection, and perfect to the point our bread trays came our way. Believe me when I say, there was nothing more satisfying than this feeling. And there it happened, in no more than two seconds our fatigue from all the kneading vanished and soon our class was filled with the smell of baked bread. All the cardio exercise and all the kneading paid off. There is nothing better and nothing more comforting than watching your efforts turn into something this beautiful. That’s how I look at bread baking and today I will take you down this road again. Of course you need not tire yourself with the kneading. Bread making machines and mixers have cut down on all the effort in bread making with results just as same.
Cinnamon rolls are my new favorite when it comes to bread and I’m here to share the recipe I was trained with however just some fail proof modifications of my own and a pecan glaze topping if you love your cinnamon rolls with that extra special. Beware you will fall in love with these .
250 gms of all purpose flour
5 gms salt
15 gms instant yeast granules
15 gms white sugar + 1/2 tsp for activating the yeast
160 ml water
15 gms unsalted softened butter
For the filling:
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
2-3 tbsp unsalted softened butter to rub
Milk to brush
- Let’s begin by activating the yeast. In a small bowl add to the yeast granules about 60-70 ml of room temperature water and 1/2 tsp of sugar and stir until the granules dissolve.Place the mixture in a warm place, I usually place mine in an oven so that the activation begins. Your yeast mixture is ready once the froth appears and the mixture has nearly doubled.
- If you have a food processor with a mixing bowl, should you wish to prepare this with a machine, attach the spiral dough hook. In the mixing bowl add ingredients like flour, sugar, butter, salt and the yeast mixture except water and begin the mixing process on slow speed until the ingredients come some what together.
- Increase the speed of the processor and add the water little by little and continue to process the dough until it comes together into a soft dough ball. Meanwhile pre heat your oven to 220℃.
- Remove dough from the mixing bowl and tip onto a dry surface dusted with flour. Place an inverted bowl over the dough to rise for about 20-30 minutes or until doubled. This is Rise 1.
- After the dough has doubled, remove the inverted bowl cover and invert the dough on to the same surface and pat down gently using your palms do get rid of any air bubbles. Once done , using a rolling pin gently roll down the dough keeping the general thickness of the dough to about 1cm.
- Using your fingers gently rub butter throughout the flattened dough and spread it right up to the edges. Spread brown sugar and sprikle with cinnamon powder depending on how strong you want the flavor of cinnamon to be .
- Gently roll the dough into a swiss roll cake like form ensuring to keep the sugar and cinnamon powder as much as you can within the roll itself. Pinch the edges so the filling doesn’t spill out.
- Using a sharp bread knife, cut cinnamon rolls about 2 inches thick or depending on your preference. I place my cut out rolls on to muffin or cupcake trays so that the rolls stay in shape for baking. Otherwise the other popular technique would be to place all the rolls in a casserole or baking tray. However in this case, pulling them out would be a little tricky unless you are okay with a pull apart bread situation.
- Once the rolls have been cut out and placed in their baking tray allow them to rise again for 10-15 minutes approximately. This is Rise 2.
- Once the rolls have risen, brush each roll with milk and place immediately in the oven to bake at 220℃ for about 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for around 30 minutes.
Meanwhile you can prepare the pecan glaze for the same, here’s my recipe to the best ever cinnamon roll pecan glaze, I promise 🙂
10-15 pecan nuts, halved
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3-4 tbsp milk
Pinch of cinnamon powder
In a non stick pan, heat brown sugar and butter. Stir over slow heat until caramelized. Add chopped pecans. Add milk one tablespoon at a time and continue stirring. Ensure sugar does not burn. Add a pinch of cinnamon powder. Add additional milk if you find the mixture too thick.
Finally, spread glaze over the cinnamon rolls and serve.
These have been the best cinnamon rolls I have had homemade. I do hope you take time to try it. You won’t have leftovers, I can assure you.
Thank you for being patient and reading this post. Believe me when I say there’s nothing more comforting than a good old homemade cinnamon roll 🙂 For more pictures and posts please follow me on Instagram too @annaceta89
Until my next therapeutic and comforting bake in the kitchen,