Cinnamon Rolls

I have been doing quite a fair bit of cooking and baking with the Covid 19 lockdown.  Thankfully we are still allowed to take walks in our neighborhood and brighten up seeing all the bears and soft toys in the windows of many houses otherwise, with all the cooking and eating, I bet the rate of obesity is bound to rise.

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My breadmaker has been working hard as I use it for the ‘dough’ function in most of my bakings.  The recipe is the same even if you wish to knead by hand.  This recipe is a keeper as I was surprisingly amazed that these rolls were the best I ever made.

Tip (optional): I used the Hokkaido bread method to make a very fine and fluffy roll. Some bakers called it ‘Tangzhong’, an Asian baking technique in which part of the dough is cooked with water ahead of time in a roux.

FOR THE TANGZHONG

(optional but recommended if you want a soft and fluffy roll)

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of flour (plain or self-raising) and 150 ml of water together in a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat on the stove.
  • Stir constantly until the mixture thickens into a pudding-like consistency about 5 to 10 minutes till foamy.  Leave to cool at room temperature.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk (microwave to slightly warm)
  • 2/3 cup (135g) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 cups (300g) plain flour ( for best result use self-raising flour)*
  • 1.5 cup (150g) bread flour.  Total 450 gm flour plus more for dusting and rolling.

*Confession:  I left the dough maker to do its work while I went for my walk. Initially, the dough was too wet when it came out from the breadmaker as I had miscalculated and put in too little flour.  To save that, I added more flour and ended up using self-raising flour hoping for a quicker rise.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Kneaded the extra flour by hand so as I said, the result and recipe are the same even if you use a breadmaker for dough function.

Filling

  • 100 gm cream cheese (or 100 gm soft butter)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

Mix well with a spoon (or you could whisk) all these ingredients together.

METHOD

  1. Microwave milk to about 95°F (35°C) or lukewarm.
  2. If you are not using a bread maker, you will need to add the yeast, sugar to the warm milk and let it rise (wait time 5 to 8 mins) first before kneading. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, vanilla, and then the salt. On low speed, gradually add the flour and ‘tangzhong’ (optional).  Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer.  All these steps will not be necessary if you use a bread maker.
  3. If you use a breadmaker add wet ingredients first, starting with the warm milk, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs, flour, ‘tangzhong’ (optional) and then yeast.  Set the breadmaker to dough function.
  4. After the first rise, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Dust your work area with flour or oil.  Divide the dough in half.
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry and spread the filling evenly.  Roll into a long roll.  Do the same for the other half.
  6. Grease two round baking tins or you could use a bigger rectangular one.  Cut the rolled pastry into approximately 2 cm each with a large pastry knife and place in baking tins.  Leave a little gap in between each roll.  Cover the baking tins and leave to rise until the rolls rise and join together.  Depending on the climate, this may take two hours or overnight.  To speed up the process, you could preheat your oven medium to low heat 100°C switch it off.  Leave the rolls covered to rise inside the oven.  I did this yesterday and it took an hour.
  7. Preheat oven on to 175°C.  Bake the rolls for 25 mins until brown.
  8. Spread butter thinly on hot rolls.  Leave to cool and then remove from baking pan.

 


Preparation time (including rising time): 3-4 hours

Cooking time: 25 mins

This recipe makes about 18 rolls.

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