It might sound silly, but I just cannot bake bread at all. I’ve tried sourdough, brioche, normal sandwich loaves, and they all failed miserably. I followed the recipes meticulously, but the dough didn’t prove right, or I ended up with a doughy, tasteless mess, despite adding plenty of salt, or cocoa powder to my brioche! I just didn’t know where I was going wrong. So, here comes the revelation, I finally cracked bread dough last night. Admittedly, I used packet mix, BUT I didn’t follow the instructions properly, so it just counts as a shortcut right?? The temptation of making cinnamon rolls, which are the epitome of cinnamon heaven, has been calling me for as long as I’ve been baking. Forever frightened of bread dough though, I cowered away, using puff pastry as a poor substitute. Bread dough was the only way I was going to get fluffy, cinnamony goodness – I was going to have to face my fears.
I started off gingerly, only spurred on by the encouragement of a few friends, and opened my packet mix (from Aldi nevertheless, because student life calls for living cheaply – although, Aldi is brilliant, really, it is). I dumped the mix into a bowl and threw away the instructions without reading them properly…realising about 5 minutes later and having to panic in trying to find it, thankfully it wasn’t too gruesome a task!
Right… 500 grams of mix + 320ml of tepid water, simple. But I knew from lusting over many cinnamon roll recipes that the dough needed enriching with sugar, eggs, milk and butter. I can’t play with the packet mix and substitute all that in surely?! In the end I decided, 200ml of warm milk, 120ml water would suffice instead, and threw in approximately half a cup of sugar for good measure. Butter and eggs are overrated anyway, right?
The mix came together well, the sugar made it a little sticky, which I expected, and the dough stuck more to my hands than staying in a bowl, but I managed to battle with it until I could knead it properly. So far so good! I stuck the kneaded dough in a greased bowl, covered it in clingfilm and prayed it would rise. I was supposed to return to studying but I admittedly watched it like a hawk. Note to self, watching bread rise is like watching paint dry, its unsurprisingly a dull task. But I was excited, it was like my little baby ball of dough, and I was willing for it to grow. (Is this a little obsessive? Probably, oh well)
I couldn’t wait any longer, I had to turn it out, I wanted to get rolling with all that cinnamon and sugar…. It was basically doubled, and pillowy and light. I’d never had a bread dough turn out so well. Now to freelance it a bit, what can I stuff into these rolls? Half of the dough was dedicated to cinnamon, so I spread butter, brown sugar and cinnamon all over the rolled out dough, and rolled them all up. I definitely didn’t eat the rest of the cinnamon sugar by dipping my finger in the bowl… (I might have done…okay yes, and it was incredible). The other two fillings were some leftover chocolate ganache, and raspberry jam and raspberries. I had no idea whether those were going to turn out right, but if I made two batches of cinnamon rolls I might eat them all and have a cardiac arrest… 😛
I laid them in greased cake tins and waited for them to prove once more.. I was growing impatient now, I just wanted to eat them all up!
I don’t have a pastry brush, so brushing these with milk with my fingers was a long task. I was getting a little tired of all this faffing around, I’m certainly not making these again without several hours to spare, no matter how heavenly they are!
I chucked them in the oven for about 20 minutes and my kitchen smelt like heaven already. I needed to ‘taste test’ one of these rolls ‘tout de suite’.
No regrets, at all. They might be a calorific treat, but they were so worth it, I mean, just think of all the calories I burnt while slaving away over these, that’s basically the same as what’s in one of these, right?
I pulled a roll away and I was delighted, they were gorgeously fluffy inside…
Anyway, I should probably share my gateway into heaven with you, so here’s the recipe.
For the dough:
500g packet of crusty bread mix (I used Aldi’s)
200ml lukewarm milk
120ml lukewarm water
Approx. 50g caster sugar
For the cinnamon filling:
2-3 tbsp softened butter
2 tbsp cinnamon
4-5 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
For the jam and raspberry filling:
2-3 tbsp raspberry jam
1 tsp cornflour
Handful fresh/frozen raspberries
For the chocolate filling:
4 tbsp set chocolate ganache/nutella
For the lemon glaze:
4-6 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, and grease some muffin pans or a cake tin.
In a bowl, mix your dough mix with the water and milk. (The water and milk mixture should be warm enough that you can keep your finger in the mix comfortably without burning yourself, so as not to kill the yeast in the mix.)
Knead for 5 minutes on a floured surface, and then let prove for 30-40 minutes in a greased bowl covered in clingfilm.
Roll out your risen dough to a 1-2cm thickness. For the cinnamon filling, spread your butter generously over all the dough, before scattering with your cinnamon sugar (mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together before scattering) Roll up tightly, and cut into 5cm wide slices. Arrange in a round cake tin, leaving some space for them to spread out, then cover in cling film and let prove for another 30 minutes.
For the raspberry filling, spread raspberry jam generously across the dough and scatter raspberries over the jam. Roll tightly, taking care to not squash the raspberries, and again, cut into 5cm wide slices. For chocolate, repeat, as with the jam, then roll tightly and slice. Either place into another round cake tin, or into a greased muffin tin for individual rolls. Allow to prove for 30 minutes or so.
Once all the dough has proved again, brush with milk or a beaten egg, and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden.
While the rolls are baking, make your glaze: mix lemon juice with icing sugar until you have a loose but spreadable consistency, if it is too watery it will not coat the rolls, so thicken with more icing sugar.
Let cool for 10 minutes then drizzle your lemon glaze all over the buns.
Enjoy!The raspberry and chocolate ones didn’t work as well as the cinnamon ones, but they tasted great with a little more jam or nutella slathered on top nevertheless.
Love Sian xxx