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Cinny Buns

  Cut, wrap, stamp, repeat.  Spending 5-6 hours every day watching everyone else around me bake, this is what I would wake up at 6:00 AM to do.  Package the goods.

  Everyone has to start somewhere, obviously, especially in any kind of kitchen.  I didn't have much on my resume, besides some gaping semesters in my post high school career and some caramel apple and fudge experience.

  This went on for weeks, in the dead of winter.  Until one day, when my manager was working on breads, she turned around and asked if I'd like to swap places and roll out her cinnamon roll dough for her.  Is that something I was familiar with?  Oh hellzzzz yas.

  I had that massive roll buttered, cinnamoned, and sugared in record time.  I set them up on their tray and into the proofer they went.  Little trades like this continued, my manager watching from just behind at the packing station.  I got such a sense of pride and accomplishment coming home after those days.  Sometimes I was so sore, especially after spending an hour rolling out tiny dinner rolls by hand two at a time.  But I was so happy to be moving up.

  Pretty soon that was my every day.  Rice krispies, breads, brownies...in massive volumes.  I loved it.  The thing is, you can love the thing, but sometimes business gets in the way.  I got some powerful insights on how owners try to press their convoluted ideas on their employees. I saw how much crap general managers have to put up with when things are poorly run.  That's why when I was presented with the bakery manager position...I ran away to university with my tail between my legs.

  I suppressed that side of myself for so long that school year.  3 more semesters in I practically had an internal explosion. I needed outttt.

  I only know how to gob cream cheese frosting on warm, gooey rolls. I'm rubbish at working up the motivation to write papers and study for exams. I made myself physically sick with the trying of it.

  I mean, look at these guys, can you blame me?

  So you think the answer would be easy...get back into a bakery.  I did, I tried, and somehow I failed. Or rather, it failed me. Business, again. People, again. Those two things ruin what should just be a happy cinnamon roll.

  So, I don't know. I run around a tiny bar/restaurant. And every day I do that I learn more about myself and other people. Far more than I did at university. I've been trying to remind myself to be more patient, mostly with myself. I got see Joy the Baker some weeks ago again, and it's been five years since our last encounter, but it was just the sort of refreshing experience I needed right now <3

  I'm heading into spring/summer a much different person than I was at either of those bakeries, but I'm taking my love of cinnamon rolls with me.

Cinnamon Buns
Yield: 8 rolls

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active or instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups flour
For the filling:
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter melted
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Splash of milk

In the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the dough hook (or a large bowl) add water, yeast and 1tbsp of the sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes until the yeast starts to froth. In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk, egg, and oil, then pour into the yeast along with the rest of the sugar and mix until combined. Stir through 2 1/2 cups of the flour plus the salt, then gradually add the rest of the flour whilst mixing. Knead for 5 minutes in a mixer or about 10 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface, until the dough comes away from the bowl/does not stick to your fingers. You may not need to add all 4 1/2 cups of flour. 

Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let proof in a warm place for 2 hours, until doubled in size.

In a small bowl mix together the filling ingredients except the butter and set aside.

Roll the dough out to about 12 x 16 inches and brush with melted butter, making sure to leave 1 inch around the sides. Sprinkle filling mixture over the butter. Tightly roll the dough from the shorter side (to make thicker buns) and pinch the seam together to stop the filling from spilling out. Score dough every 1.5 inches to make 8 buns and slice through (I like to use thread for this instead of a knife)
Place buns in a lined brownie ban, or two round pans, it doesn't matter if the buns are touching each other. Wrap pan in cling film and refrigerate overnight and/or up to 16 hours. (If you'd like to make these on the same day, just proof the buns for 2 hours in a warm place, until they have have puffed up.) 

If doing the overnight step, the next day fill a jar or bread pan with boiling water and place on the bottom shelf of the oven. Put the buns on the top shelf, close oven, and let proof for half hour. Take the water and the buns out of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Bake for 30 minutes, until browned and the filling is bubbling.

Let buns cool and prepare topping. With a stand or electric hand mixer, mix all of the ingredients together until smooth and runny. Pour over buns once slightly cooled. Best eaten the day they are baked, but lasts up to 3 days.

Sources: adapted from M Bakes