When I began to find so many wonderful food related blogs out there on the net I noticed that some of the best were displaying a logo from a group called the Daring Bakers. I was intrigued- “Who are these Daring Bakers and what do they do?”, I asked myself.
Well, the answer came when I visited the blogs of the co-founders: Lisa at La Mia Cucina and Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice . They had formed an online friendship and decided to make some pretzels together from the same recipe to share and compare notes – and voila!…another great Internet union was formed. Others joined in and the group has grown exponentially- until now I am lucky enough to join what is referred to as the “Kappa class” on the eleventh tier of this group. The Daring Bakers are a greatly creative supportive group of people who each write a blog (or blogs!) around the world and who come together to share in a common baking experience. Basically they are interacting in the spirit of all that’s good and great of the community of humans.
So, I am now a Daring Baker and my first challenge- hosted by the lovely and talented Marce of Pip in the City , is Cinnamon Buns and Sticky buns.
The rules are that we all bake from the same recipe with only the deviations allowed as stated by the host and then we all post on the same day. We are all posting together in a world wide storm of yumminess.
Here is what we were given:
Cinnamon buns and sticky buns (from Peter Reinhart´s The Bread Baker´s Apprentice)
- 6 1/2 tablespoons (
3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/2 tablespoons (
2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 1/2 cups (
16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast*
- 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk (DMS) and 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or any other spices you want to use, cardamom, ginger, allspice, etc.)
- White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns or caramel glaze for sticky buns (at the end of the recipe.)
- Walnuts, pecans, or other nuts (for sticky buns.)
- Raisins or other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or dried cherries (for sticky buns, optional.)
*Instant yeast contains about 25% more living cells per spoonful than active dry yeast, regardless of the brand. Instant yeast is also called rapid-rise or fast-rising.1. Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand); if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, and add the water with the flour and yeast. Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.2. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
3. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed as follows for shaping the buns.
(A) Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and
White fondant glaze for cinnamon bunsCinnamon buns are usually topped with a thick white glaze called fondant. There are many ways to make fondant glaze, but here is a delicious and simple version, enlivened by the addition of citrus flavor, either lemon or orange. You can also substitute vanilla extract or rum extract, or simply make the glaze without any flavorings. Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and 6 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk slowly and only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.When the buns have cooled but are still warm, streak the glaze over them by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze and letting it drip off as you wave them over the tops of the buns. (Remember to wear latex gloves.)Caramel glaze for sticky bunsCaramel glaze is essentially some combination of sugar and fat, cooked until it caramelizes. The trick is catching it just when the sugar melts and lightly caramelizes to a golden amber. Then it will cool to a soft, creamy caramel. If you wait too long and the glaze turns dark brown, it will cool to a hard, crack-your-teeth consistency. Most sticky bun glazes contain other ingredients to influence flavor and texture, such as corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystallizing and flavor extracts or oils, such as vanilla or lemon. This version makes the best sticky bun glaze of any I´ve tried. It was developed by my wife, Susan, for Brother Juniper´s Cafe in Forestville, California.
NOTE: you can substitute the corn syrup for any neutral flavor syrup, like cane syrup or gold syrup.
3. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/4-inch layer. Refrigerate and save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container.
What I made was a recipe of 1/2 Cinnamon Buns and 1/2 Sticky buns as I don’t usually care for sticky buns. I suspect that what I don’t like about sticky buns has to do with the raisins burning in the caramel- I don’t care for that taste. So I elected to use dried apricots and dried pineapple, with almonds for the nuts. I also used orange extract where there was a choice for the fondant and caramel glaze.
The sticky buns were SO yummy! The caramel was soft and buttery and the fruits were the right amount of tart and sweet. I could have eaten every one on the spot- then and there. I actually liked them better than the cinnamon buns (which were very delicious) but the sticky buns were exceptional.
And there it is!, my first Daring Baker challenge complete and reported. And so-we’re off and awaiting the next challenge. I want to say thanks to Marce for hosting and to all the DBers who share their efforts I feel very honored to join you.
Please take a moment to check out the other Daring Bakers fabulous creations.