Since I'd already jump-started my bread baking journey for 2012 with the #Baketogether ~ Peasant Boule a few days ago and now feeling somewhat confident handling yeast again because of it, I decided to make ABC's February recipe -- the Glazed Cinnamon Rolls (also one of Abby Dodge's delicious bread recipes found in her book, The Weekend Baker) -- slightly ahead of schedule. I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry anyway and since I'm having a few guests for brunch tomorrow, I thought that these rolls would be a lovely addition to our meal. That is, if none of us gets too tempted to finish all of them before the day ends!
I started quite early in the morning, measured all of the ingredients first, mixed as instructed, and proceeded to knead the dough by hand. I didn't make any changes to the ingredients except for using unbleached all-purpose instead of bleached. This was a very easy dough to deal with, very soft and not too sticky, and it didn't take long for it to become smooth and supple. The picture above shows how the dough looked like after its initial rising. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take pictures of the kneading process because of my very sticky and floury hands LOL.
As I waited for the dough to rise, I made the cinnamon filling, making sure to apply Abby's revisions to the recipe as posted and emailed by Hanaa. I omitted making the glaze as I'm not really a fan of frostings made with confectioner's sugar so I decided to turn a few rolls into sticky buns, for a little variety, while leaving the rest plain and unglazed. I made half of Peter Reinhart's Creamy Caramel Slurry recipe from his book, Artisan Breads Everyday, which I then spread to the bottom of a 9 1/2" inch round silicone pan. As you will see in the succeeding pics, the pan I used turned out to be a little too small LOL. Also, since I love cinnamon rolls with raisins and nuts (inside or outside), I sprinkled the slurry with golden raisins and coarsely chopped pecans before I placed the rolls on top. YUM!
Rolling the dough into a 12 x 17" rectangle was surprisingly easy to do and as Abby had written in the procedure, the dough wasn't too sticky indeed, making it unnecessary to flour the surface of the counter beforehand. However, I did require the assistance of a bench scraper so I could lift and tuck the edges of the dough. I wasn't able to roll it uniformly all throughout as well that's why I ended up with slices of varying sizes. I even made a mistake of placing all of the larger pieces inside the silicone pan filled with the slurry and all of the smaller ones inside the bare round pan. As you can see below, even before the second rise, the dough was already filled up to the edges of the pan.
To slice the log into 1-inch thick pieces , I used a strand of dental floss instead of a knife which left the rounds with really smooth and clean edges. I must say that this was the part that I thoroughly enjoyed doing and seeing the cinnamon-y swirls that I had created after making each slice was absolutely thrilling for me too!
The smaller slices baked perfectly without overfilling the pan...
For good measure, I'm include the slurry recipe I used for the sticky buns adapted from Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Everyday"
Creamy Caramel Slurry
4 0z/113 g granulated sugar
4 oz/113 g light brown sugar
4 oz/ 113 g heavy or whipping cream
0.5 oz/ 14 g unsalted butter, melted or at room temperature
0.75 oz/ 21 g light corn syrup
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, if using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. If mixing by hand, stir vigorously with a large spoon for about 2 minutes. The mixture should be smooth and homogenous.
Note: The slurry should be about 1/4 inch high inside the pan. It can be kept in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
VERDICT: Both versions of these cinnamon rolls are really, really good and I love that it's very easy to make too! Totally not a recipe that a yeast-phobe should worry about. I kind of like the plain version more because you can really taste the bread and cinnamon and is of course, a lot less sweeter than the sticky buns. My mother-in-law, who loves anything with cinnamon, thoroughly enjoyed eating these and had a few more pieces a few hours later. We only have a few rolls left today so I guess I'll be thinking of something else to serve our guests tomorrow LOL. The dough itself is also very versatile and can definitely be used in making other kinds of sweet breads. This is certainly another terrific recipe from Abby Dodge's The Weekend Baker! And as usual, I'm looking forward to baking next month's ABC recipe!