A Bad Baker Redeemed

I’ve written before that this self-proclaimed Good Cooker is a Baaaad Baker. I’m serious about being baking impaired but may have found my redemption when I checked out Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking from the library. In this book (I think I might end up purchasing), AB stated good cookers don’t always make good bakers – especially the “throw stuff into a bowl until it tastes good type of cooker” (like me). Exact measures and procedures are a must to ensure success.

When my daughter asked for homemade cinnamon rolls for her birthday (I always tell them I will make ANYTHING they want for their birthdays - luckily no one has yet to ask for a crown rib roast or a chocolate soufflé), I knew it was time to quit putting off the inevitable, stop being intimidated by any recipe containing yeast, and jump into this baking thing feet first. Fortunately, I remember AB had a great overnight cinnamon roll recipe.  It was long, complicated and, yes, intimidating, but I was determined to avoid the whole canned Pillsbury-pop-open-cop-out I'd resorted to in the past.   

I bought the buttermilk, cream cheese and some fresh yeast (I’m superstitious like that – yeast and baking powder get replaced on a regular rotation around here), gathered my other ingredients and went to work. By the way – I used to love buttermilk as a kid and took a big swig of the stuff while I was cooking, and YUCK!

Since it was already 9:00 pm, I realized I’d better get hoofing if the rolls were to be ready to go in the fridge before midnight. With little time to spare and the need to have five “room temperature” eggs, I submerged them in some warmed water to hasten the process. (The 6 ounce measure of room temperature buttermilk was created in much the same manner.) I precisely measured twenty ounces of flour with my kitchen scale and followed all the other steps in the dough-making process to the letter. The result was an absolutely perfect ball of dough that rolled out nicely and behaved on cue. (I must also note that this was the FIRST TIME I ever used the dough hook that came with my now ten-year-old KitchenAid® mixer.)

Next came the fun part – stuffing, rolling and cutting. I found rubbing the dough with softened butter to be much easier and practical than basting it with runny, melted stuff. In retrospect, I also decided 8 ounces of brown sugar was way too much – at least for my taste. However, at the time I used it all in keeping with my vow to follow the recipe exactly but found the finished product to be a little on the sweet side. After the cinnalog was rolled, pinched, and gently stretched, I “cut” it apart – not with a serrated knife as the recipe states - but with dental floss (plain not minty, please). This method neatly severed off perfect rolls without mashing or otherwise deforming the cinnamon spirals.

A sit in the fridge overnight and a quick bake and frost in the morning produced some of the best cinnamon rolls I’d ever eaten and certainly the best ones I’d ever baked! I am far from calling myself a Good Baker, but I do have to say…Cinnabon EAT YOUR HEART OUT!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls courtesy of Alton Brown: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/overnight-cinnamon-rolls-recipe/index.html

Here’s a video too if you happen to be a visual learner like me: http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/overnight-cinnamon-rolls/44875.html

No comments:

Post a Comment