The Daring Bakers and the Cinnamon Bun and Sticky Bun Challenge

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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.

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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)


 DAYS TO MAKE: 1, =15 minutes mixing; 3 1/2 hours fermentation, shaping and proofing; 20 to 40 minutes baking.Yield: Makes 8 to 12 large or 12 to 16 smaller cinnamon or sticky buns

Ingredients:

  • 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 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. (B)Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and (C) roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.)4. For cinnamon buns, line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.For sticky buns, coat the bottom of 1 or more baking dishes or baking pans with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high with a 1/4 inch layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the nuts and raisins (if you are using raisins or dried fruit.) You do not need a lot of nuts and raisins, only a sprinkling. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag.5. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.6. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf for cinnamon buns but on the lowest shelf for sticky buns.7. Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes or the sticky buns 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If you are baking sticky buns, remember that they are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. It takes practice to know just when to pull the buns out of the oven.8. For cinnamon buns, cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving. For the sticky buns, cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

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.
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature.2. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

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.

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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.

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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.

22 comments

  1. Julie says:

    Congratulations on completing your first challenge! I love the last photo of your buns–it looks like a big yummy candy bar!

  2. Gabi says:

    Dear Laurie, Maryann, Mary, Peabody, Chris, Lisa, Helene, Belinda, Deborah, Jenny, Ivonne, Laura, Jen, Anne, Tanna, Dolores, and Aoife,
    Thanks so much!
    Gosh you’re all so nice and supportive!
    I’ve been so busy buzzing around looking at all the beautiful buns out there- I hadn’t realized so many of you had stopped by to say Hi and leave such lovely comments
    Thanks again!
    xoxo

  3. Aoife says:

    Ooh, your sticky buns look marvelous, and I love the choice of toppings. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

  4. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen says:

    Congrats on your first challenge! You did a beautiful job!

  5. Laura says:

    Well those are just lovely buns. You are going to love being a Daring Baker!

  6. Ivonne says:

    Congratulations on completing your very first Daring Baker challenge! You did a great job and your buns are so cute!

  7. Jenny says:

    I couldn’t pin down why my sticky buns looked slightly wrong until today when I realized most people baked their sticky buns so they would bake up together. Yours look great!

  8. Deborah says:

    Wonderful job on your first DB challenge! I love the idea of almonds in the sticky buns – I’m gonna have to try that!

  9. Belinda says:

    Gorgeous results on both the cinnamon rolls AND the sticky buns! And I love the combination of fruits and nuts you used in your sticky buns…they sound heavenly! 🙂

  10. Lisa says:

    Gabi!! Could you be any sweeter? =) Loved this post and loved your photos – your sticky buns turned out beautifully!

    Congrats on your first post! I hope to read many, many more of them. =)

    xoxo

  11. laurie says:

    Fantastic job! Your stickies look perfect and I love all the fruit. Delish!

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