Wednesday, December 26, 2012

'Tis the season, cookies (?), 10


 Cinnamon rolls 

Many years ago, I cannot remember exactly when this tradition began in our family, we started having cinnamon rolls/buns for Christmas Day brunch.  People who have made yeast dough breads know that normally it takes between 3 and 4 hours to make rolls or bread due to the time it takes for the dough to rise and rest.  This recipe takes roughly 90 minutes from start to finish.  It is still a fair amount of work but the rolls are yummy and make a special holiday treat.  Most often rolls like these have a white sugary glaze on the top but we like a butter and brown sugar topping instead.  The recipe will make enough for 3 or 4 loaves of bread depending on the size of the loaf pan, or 3 large pans of rolls, or 2 pans of rolls (approximately 24 rolls) and one loaf of bread.  I often cut it back by ¼ and make 2 pans of rolls (one large pan and one smaller pan or about 30 rolls).

Basic dough for both bread & rolls:

4 cups of warm water
4 tablespoons of dried yeast or 4 cakes of yeast
4 teaspoons of salt
8 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of melted butter
10 to 12 cups of flour

For cinnamon rolls add:
Soften butter to spread on dough
Brown sugar

½ cup butter (1 cube)
¾ cup dark brown sugar

Mix together and heat to form a carmel-like sauce.

Use a large bowl and large spoon.*  Dissolve or soften the yeast in 1 cup of the warm water.  Mix in some flour (2 or 3 cups).  Add rest of water.  Add the sugar, salt, and melted butter.  (Caution:  be sure to add the salt last after there is sufficient flour to keep it from deactivating the yeast, otherwise, the dough will not rise properly.)  Add remaining flour to form a soft elastic but not sticky dough.   Divide into 3 or 4 equal sized balls.  Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.  Using a mallet or the handle of a heavy wooden spoon pound each piece for 1 minute.

For bread form into loaf shape and place in greased or sprayed** loaf pans.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.  The dough should double in size.

For cinnamon rolls—roll out on lightly floured surface forming a more or less rectangular shape.  Liberally spread with soft butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Roll up into a long tube shape and cut into 1/2”  to 1" slices.  Spray or grease 9x13 or 9x9 inch pans.  Place rolls close to each other in the pans.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes.   The dough should double in size.

Bake both bread and rolls in a preheated 400 degree F oven for about 30 minutes or until nice and brown on top.

While the rolls are baking make the topping by melting the butter in a small pan on medium low heat.  Add the dark brown sugar and mix together to make a carmel-like sauce.  Do not boil this mixture or you will never get it out of the pan!  Let the topping stay on the stove on “Low” heat to keep it warm and liquid but do not let it set up.

The rolls are best served hot/warm with more butter and the carmel topping.   The bread is good warm with butter and jam but is also good after it has cooled down.

The basic dough recipe is from Tried & True, p. 18 --  “Jessie Evans Smith’s 90-min. Bread”

*  I am used to using spoons and hands to work with dough.  In theory it should work just as well using a heavy duty mixer like a Kitchen Aid with a dough hook.

**  I often use PAM or some other vegetable spray to grease the pans.

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