Cinnamon Bun Sunday

Sunday, September 11, 2011

   I can't help myself- I have another baked good for you!

   It is Sunday after all, and Sunday demands leisurely brunches and tall, thin glasses of mimosa. Or, at the very least, home made cinnamon buns. This is the same recipe I used to make the sticky buns I mentioned several posts ago, but I left out the sticky and added a delicious white frosting. If I do say so myself, this bun is perfection.

   All you really need as a well made hunk of brioche dough, and I'm here to show you how. Brioche is my favorite of all home made breads. It was my quest to perfect this golden hunk of doughy goodness that prompted me to covet those big beautiful stand mixers (just try making this dough properly by hand or with a hand held mixer... not fun!). Years later, Steve surprised me on my birthday with one of those gorgeous, silver monsters and the first thing I made was brioche. Heaven.

   It can be tricky getting this dough to turn out quite right, which is why I've taken pictures of the stages it goes through. This dough really transforms as you work with it, as long as you have faith.

   You can shape brioche into loaves and serve thick, buttered slices of it along side dinner, or as french toast. They make incredibly cute, baby brioche molds that make individual sized dinner portions. Or, you can roll it out and make tender, buttery, deliciously golden cinnamon buns! You're really only limited by your imagination with this dough.

   You only need half the recipe for the buns so you can use the rest for dinner rolls or whatever you desire. Or, of course, you could just make twice as many cinnamon buns. Never a bad idea.

   As a preemptive warning, this recipe calls for a lot of butter...

   But just take a deep breath and do it. It's so worth it.

Brioche Cinnamon Buns
The dough is from Joanne Chang's Flour Cookbook

For the Dough:
2 1/4 cups (315 grams) unbleached, all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups (340 grams) bread flour
1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (82 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (120 grams) cold water
5 eggs
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons (2 3/4 sticks, 310 grams) highest quality unsalted butter at room temperature

For the Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the dough:
   The night before you would like to eat your cinnamon buns, fit your mixer with the dough hook. To the mixer bowl, add the flours, the sugar, yeast, salt, water and eggs. Beat on low speed until combined, then mix another 3 to 4 minutes. It will be quite stiff and look like this:

   Now, still on low speed, add the butter, 3 tablespoons at a time, allowing each addition to be completely incorporated before adding the next. Do this until all the butter is incorporated. It will look shaggy and scary at this point, like this:

   But keep going! Scrape down the side of the bowl and beat on low for 10 minutes. Then, increase the speed to medium and leave alone to mix for another full 15 minutes. Now, turn the speed up to medium high and mix for another 1 to 2 minutes until it pulls all together and looks absolutely shiny and gorgeous, like this:

   Place the dough in a bowl, use plastic wrap to cover, pressing it down onto the surface of the dough, and place in the fridge for 6 hours or up to overnight.

   Remove the dough from the fridge, cut the dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one week or refrigerate for up to one day and use for something else. With the remaining half, use your rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and a rectangle about 12 X 16 inches. Using the melted butter, brush the entire dough surface to coat in butter. Mix the sugars and cinnamon and sprinkle this over the entire dough surface. Sprinkle with the raisins. Start at a longer edge, roll the dough up tightly, like a jelly roll. Cut at 2 inch intervals into disks to make a total of eight buns.

   Coat a 9 X 13 inch baking dish in butter. Arrange the buns in the pan, cover, and place in the fridge over night. Te next morning, remove form the fridge and allow to rise at room temperature 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough is slightly puffed. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.

   Remove form the oven and allow to cool. As they cool, make the frosting.

   In your mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, 1/3 cup milk and the vanilla extract until very smooth. If not the desire frosting consistency, add a little more milk.

   Frost the buns generously and serve very warm.

   Makes 8 buns.

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