Oh. My. God.
I made bread. I mixed up flour and yeast and I made bread.
These cinnamon rolls blew my mind. Not only are they unbelievably easy to make (considering it’s BREAD), they don’t take much hands-on effort either. A lot of it involves sitting around (or pacing up and down the kitchen, if you’re like me) and waiting for the yeast to do its work. That’s pretty good for this much awesome.
Soft, fluffy, cinnamon-y sweet rolls. Make the dough at night, get your beauty sleep, wake up the next morning and plonk them in the oven. There’s nothing like having your home smell like a bakery. NOTHING.
I made bread!!
So, like I said, as far as baking goes, breads, rolls, buns, or anything else that requires yeast and rising and resting and fermenting, I’ve stayed away from. So for a long time, this recipe has been sitting in my inbox and I finally decided to just do it. I was hoping to make gingerbread cookies but I didn’t have enough time for that and these rolls were quicker.
I spent a substantial amount of time muttering to myself about yeast temperatures, dough thickness and other technicalities. Don’t do that. The recipe I used is easy and almost foolproof. Just make sure you’re using yeast well within its expiration date and you’ll be fine.
A lot of things fell into place very easily for me while making these rolls. I had a 9″ pie dish with me (thanks, Mom!) to bake the rolls in, some cinnamon-sugar from an earlier experiment and Mumbai’s sudden ‘winter’, which unlike the sweltering summers, made for the ideal temperature for the yeast to work overnight. Can I just say, it is SO GOOD to feel a chill in the air!
If I’d done this in the summer, I would definitely have not left the dough out overnight because it could have gone sour. I did spend some time worrying about whether it was going to rise too much, half expecting to see cinnamon rolls flooding my kitchen in the morning 🙂 No such thing happened. I left them to rise at room temperature for about 9 hours and it was perfect. Of course, if you want to eat them almost instantly, a good trick is to pop the dish in the oven for 60 to 90 minutes at about 90 degrees AFTER preheating it and switching it off. We wanted fresh rolls for breakfast, therefore the overnighter.
Here’s what they looked like just before I went to bed (about one hour after leaving them to rise) and then in the morning.
And this is how they looked right out of the oven.
Kneading and rolling the dough was not a picnic, but not too traumatic either. I had to constantly sprinkle flour, while bring it together, kneading it, rolling it and then rolling it up again after adding the cinnamon sugar. It was probably sticker than it should have been but the end result was great, so I’m not over-thinking that bit.
I reduced the butter in the recipe and while it didn’t affect the taste, the bread was a tad drier than the original must have been. But I don’t like buttery bread, so I made my peace with it 🙂
The glaze in the original recipe is made of coffee and sugar. I used Starbucks’ special Christmas flavour 🙂 And yes, I got back home a cup too. I’m a bit obsessed. I’ve never tasted or made a coffee glaze before, so while I made it a bit strong, it was still great. And I just realised I forgot to add the vanilla essence! Oops.
Anyway, the glaze was all sweet and sticky and had more of the aroma then the taste of coffee. I half thought of leaving it out but the best cinnamon rolls I’ve had, have had the sugary glaze. So I reduced the amount of sugar called for and made it anyway.
The crust got a bit too crusty in the oven though I covered the dish with foil halfway through. It got very brown, very fast but the inside of the rolls remained soft and pillow-y. Next time, I’m definitely adding A LOT more cinnamon sugar, maybe even doubling it. And I’m going to try a glaze without the coffee, with milk instead.
Ok, this is a seriously long post. I’m just going to wrap up by saying don’t be afraid of making bread at home, these rolls are a great way to begin and like I said, very little can go wrong. Fresh and fluffy and cinnamon-y, the best of the holiday season’s flavours 🙂
Go for it!
What you’ll need:
For the rolls
2 and 1/4 cups flour (plus more to sprinkle while making the dough)
3 tbsps sugar
1 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
2 and 1/4 tsp dry yeast (I used Blue Bird Active Dry Yeast. It looks like tiny little brown beads and this recipe requires no separate proofing of the yeast, like it says on the back of the pack. It will dissolve automatically once you add the warm wet ingredients)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup milk
2 and 1/2 tbsps butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
3 tbsps cinnamon sugar in a 60:40 proportion (This can be adjusted easily to your taste)
1 and 1/2 tbsps butter (I used salted butter and it didn’t make a difference. The original amount was 3 tbsps which I reduced, but feel free to use that amount)
For the glaze:
2 tbsps strong, brewed coffee (or milk/cream)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
What to do:
1. Sift the flour in a large bowl. Add the sugar, salt and yeast. Set aside. I like that the yeast just gets thrown in as another ingredient, nothing fancy or troublesome!
2. Heat the water, milk and butter in a microwave till the butter has melted and the mixture is hot but not burning hot. Pour this into the dry ingredients and stir it around.
3. Add the egg, stir, and then using your hands, begin pulling the mixture into a dough. Add flour as and when you need it. I needed about 4 tbsps.
4. Once the dough pulls away from the bowl easily and has an elastic consistency, knead it for 3 to 4 minutes on a floured surface until it is soft and smooth. Sprinkle flour as and when you need it, but try not to use too much. Some sticky bits are ok. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest for ten minutes.
5. Get your cinnamon sugar and butter ready in the meantime.
6. After 10 minutes, lightly flour your kitchen counter again and roll out the dough into a roughly 14″x8″ rectangle. Yes, you will need a ruler 🙂 It doesn’t have to be exact and your rectangle might have rounded corners, that’s fine. Just make sure it’s even everywhere.
7. Spread the butter around on the dough and then top with the cinnamon sugar, spreading it well to all four edges.
8. Begin rolling the dough away from yourself and if things get a bit sticky, have a sprinkling of flour on hand. Make sure you roll the dough tightly.
9. Slice into 11 pieces and place vertically on a greased 9″ dish. A round dish will work best for this. Cover with foil and allow to rise overnight till the rolls have doubled in size. Or place in a preheated and switched off 90 C oven for 60 to 90 minutes if you want to bake them immediately.
10. The next morning, preheat the oven to 190 C and bake for 20 minutes till the tops are golden brown. Cover with foil halfway through to avoid too much browning. Check to see that a toothpick comes out clean.
11. Make the glaze by mixing the ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the rolls just before serving. Best eaten warm if you ask me 🙂
You made bread! Yay!