Monday, 14 October 2013

Cinnamon Buns

I love cinnamon. I put it in biscuits, banana bread, porridge and, less conventionally, chillis and tagines. But one of the best places you can find cinnamon is at the heart of a tightly coiled, buttery bun. A bun packed with sultanas and with the soft torn sides that come from baking a batch that expand and stick together.

 Wipe that dribble off your chin, it's baking time.

This recipe is a bit of a mish-mash. I based it on Paul Hollywood's Chelsea bun recipe from my GBBO book, but used bits of this recipe too.

One of the great things about bread and buns is that because a whole lot of the process happens before it goes anywhere near the oven, you can often freeze it and then just leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so before baking - voila, fresh buns in half an hour. I've got a batch of 8 in my freezer right now. I'm going to get them out the freezer Thursday and bake them fresh for Friday.

I used a cinnamon stick this time because Sainsbury's was inexplicably out of ground cinnamon. It worked really well, but I found I had to use 4 tsp to make the filling taste of cinnamon. So maybe you should add the cinnamon to taste.

You will need:

For the dough:
500g strong white bread flour
50g light brown soft sugar
1 tsp salt
1 x 7g packet of fast action yeast
300ml milk
40g softened butter
1 egg
vegetable oil

For the filling:
75g butter
75g soft brown sugar (I used light this time, but I think another time I'd use dark)
4tsp freshly ground cinnamon stick or 2 tsp ground cinnamon
200g sultanas 
zest of 1 orange

To finish:
juice of 1 orange
50g caster sugar
a little runny water icing (2 tsp water to 5 tsp icing sugar) to drizzle across the buns - this is optional

1. Soak the sultanas for the filling in the orange juice for the finishing glaze. Mix the flour, salt and sugar for the dough in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the yeast.
 2. Put the milk and butter in a pan over a low heat until the butter melts. Add to the dry ingredients with the egg and stir until it comes together as a soft, sticky dough.
3. Tip the mixture out onto a well floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes until elastic and no longer sticky. Wash the mixing bowl and brush with the vegetable oil. Put the dough in and turn it over a few times to make sure it is well-oiled. Cover tightly with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour and a half to rise.
6. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to its original size and knead it a little (gently!) to squeeze some of the air bubbles out.
7. Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 40cm long and half a cm thick. Take the sultanas out of the orange juice and set both aside. Beat together all the other ingredients for the filling and spread evenly across the dough. Sprinkle the sultanas across the dough and press down into the dough.
8. Stick one of the long sides of the dough to the work surface by pressing it down hard with your thumb. Take the other half and pull it towards you, then roll it up, pulling a little each time to ensure a tight roll. Once the dough is all rolled up, cut across into about 10 pieces each 4cm wide. Place cut side down on a buttered baking tray, spaced evenly apart and cover with a tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes.

9. While the buns are proving, preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown.
10. Heat the orange juice and caster sugar in a pan until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Glaze the buns with the orange syrup and then drizzle with the water icing.

I want to tell you to eat these warm, but if you burn your tongue and sue me, I will be sad. But just look at them, so soft, so cinnamony, so fruity, so sweet. You know you want to...

Ta-ta bakelings,


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