It’s that time of month again, and five months on the Daring Baker Challenge has lost none of its charm. If you would like to read some background on the Daring Bakers link at the end of this post, or in my 'Places I Like To Visit' on the right.
It’s a fun thing to do - dedicate a special time to sharing a baking experience and maybe making something that you might not otherwise have done. This months challenge is Cinnamon and / or Sticky Buns, the recipe comes from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I chose to do the recipe half and half – half cinnamon and half sticky.
I have wanted to make sticky buns for quite a number of years now, and can think of a couple I have earmarked to try, Tessa Kiros has a recipe in one of her books that I’ve heard rave reviews about. The thing that has stopped me is thinking that I might end up with a burned caramel and buns that were stuck like glue to the tin. Never let it be said I’m not a positive thinker =) I came very close to chickening out of the sticky bun part, but thankfully I gave it a go, and you know what? They came out fine!
The recipe can be broken down into component parts, the (1)sweet yeasted dough, (2) cinnamon sugar, (3) white fondant glaze and (4) caramel glaze plus fruit and nuts.
Like many multi-stepped recipes, as a whole they seem like a lot but break it down and what you have is quite manageable. The cinnamon sugar was just a stir together job, and the recipe allows you to use any spices you like, I thought about using mixed spice to go down the hot-cross-bun style route, but stuck with cinnamon because we all like it, and as I’ve not made this type of bun before I wanted it to be echt. The caramel glaze was made in the food mixer, and only a light bit of chopping for the fruit and nuts. The sweet yeasted dough flavoured with a little lemon zest was easy too, although I needed to add a few spoons more of flour than in the ingredients to make a dough.
I used the food mixer to knead the dough, something I've not done before – but will definitely do again, as it made such light work of it! When I think of the hard work kneading the bagels of a previous challenge… but I guess you have to do it by hand a number of times to know what it should look / feel like when the equipment has help out. The dough had a first rising of 2 hours, some fellow Daring Bakers had issues with slow rising dough, so I left it for 3 hours (having gone out) and it looked fine when I came back.
I used dried cranberries, apricots and pecans for my fruit and nuts.
The dough was rolled out, sprinkled with sugar, rolled up and cut into slices then set upon the baking sheet and the prepared pan with the caramel glaze with fruit and nuts for it’s final proving. Then into the oven, while I mixed up the fondant glaze (it taste so good on its own, cooks perk you know!).
My cinnamon bun whilst being in no way burned came out a lot darker than I would have expected, although I don’t have a lot of yeast and bread experience, so I’m really not sure it this is right or not. I had a vision in my mind of a kind of Danish pastry, which I suppose was a bit off track. The cinnamon buns came out first and were very pretty in their towering spiral circles. Once they cooled they were drizzled with the glaze, I did enjoy the drizzling a lot.
The sticky buns were inverted to turn them out, and what a sight to behold they were! Glistening caramel and bejewelled fruit, with a really golden bun dough in there somewhere.
We liked them both, my favourite was the cinnamon buns, probably for the lemon-cinnamon flavour combination which I really liked, that and the fact that they somehow reminded me of the bakery iced buns I can remember from childhood. Though the sticky buns were great too. I could hardly believe that I had made the results of this challenge, I’m really pleased with them.
Thank you to Marce of Pip in the City for choosing this months challenge. Click away at the Daring Bakers site to see how everyone else got on with them.