Sometimes, it's the basic things that can trip you up..... When I was working on…
I always enjoy seeing demonstrations or classes by other instructors. I ALWAYS learn something new or pick up some tip or trick. Thursday was no different. I was back at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens for the evening demonstration by the King Arthur Flour team. On the plan for the evening – a sweet dough which was made into a cream cheese and chocolate filled coffee cake and cinnamon rolls.
When I was preparing for the Holiday Breakfast class back in the fall, I found many different approaches to cinnamon rolls and settled on two – one that was a nice yeasty bready version and one that is closer to the ones that you find at the grocery store in the prepared section (however, they were MUCH better). The recipes differed in many ingredients, so I did a very unscientific survey – I made both recipes and fed them to family, folks at work and other friends. The frustrating thing was that it came out 50-50, depending on whether you liked the really sweet style or the more bread style. I was very interested to see how the King Arthur recipe came together. The big difference was the use of yogurt in the recipe.
First, Frank started off by talking about the types of yeast. He used the active dry yeast which requires mixing with warm water, flour and sugar to wake the yeast back up. He also discussed Instant and Instant Rapid Rise. The new information on Rapid Rise that is was developed to have a large first rise, but not much of a second rise. When I made my cinnamon rolls, I used the Rapid Rise and got a nice second rise on the rolls – so I’m not sure why I had a different experience.
We started with creating the “sponge” (the yeast mixture) and then getting the rest of the ingredients together. As the yeast was ready, Frank mixed up the dough then turned out onto the board. Since this recipe doesn’t use any specific liquid (it uses the liquid in the ingredients – see the recipe below), the only variable for texture is how much flour to use. The recipe calls for 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups. I would guess by the time he was done, he used about 4 3/4 cups. The new trick on this was that we added the minimum amount of flour (4 1/2 cups) and then measured out 1 additional cup of flour that was kept next to the board. As he used flour for the board, he took it from this cup that was set aside, that way you know if you get close to using the maximum amount. Then Frank demonstrated how to knead the dough. An interesting point he made was that if you press the dough too hard while kneading, it actually causes the dough to get sticky again and then you tend to add too much flour to get it soft again – so don’t knead too hard….
Once the dough was ready, it was divided into two parts. The first half was pressed and rolled into a 10″X15″ rectangle. The corners were trimmed, cream cheese filling spread in the middle, and chocolate chips sprinkled on top of the cheese. On the two sides strips of dough about 1″ in width were cut. Next the top was “mock-braided” and sealed. He brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled coarse sugar on the top.
The second half was then rolled out to another 10″X15″ rectangle. I was interested in how the filling would be put on. I’ve experienced “issues” with putting the filling in cinnamon rolls in the past. I started with sprinkling brown sugar and cinnamon on the dough, but it would fall out or melt out during baking. The method I’ve been using is to brush the dough with melted butter to help hold onto the sugar and cinnamon – that has worked well. Well – Frank pulled out the King Arther Baker’s Cinnamon Filling which is a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon and instant clearjel® which he mixed with a little water that created a thick paste that he spread onto the dough. (Yes, they sell the mixture and the clearjel as well) I may have to try this approach with the clearjel, but I like to fresh grind my cinnamon. Next he rolled the dough up making a log. He then discussed the way to cut the rolls so you don’t press the layers together. The quick method is to use a bench scraper and press through the dough to cut very quickly. The other way is to use dental floss to cut them out (don’t used flavored versions!). I’ve used dental floss to cut other items such as cheesecake, but had never used it to cut dough like this.
I’ll let you decide how everything looked – we didn’t get to try them, so I guess I’ll have to make a batch and experiment with these and compare to the other recipes I have. I’m sure I’ll have no shortage of volunteers for this test…..
Basic Sweet Bread Dough
1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (6 ounces) warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon Red Star active dry yeast
All of the sponge
3/4 cup (6 ounces) plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla or other flavoring, or 2 teaspoons citrus zest
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups (19 to 23 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
In a small bowl, combine the warm water and 2 teaspoons sugar. (Note water should be 100-105 degrees) Stir to dissolve. Stir in the yeast and 1/2 cup flour. Cover and set aside for about 20 minutes. Should be bubbly and active.
In a large bowl, combine the sponge, yogurt, butter, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing until incorporated into the dough. Continue adding flour until the dough comes cleanly away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Add only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the surface or your hands. Knead about 5 minutes until dough is soft and pliable, but not sticky. Let dough rest for just a couple of minutes (now is a good time to oil a bowl or other vessel for rising). Continuing kneading until the dough is smooth, supple and springy.
Place dough into the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Frank show a trick of using a 2 quart pitcher instead of a bowl to make it easier to see when it doubled.)
Turn back out onto the work surface, press gently to partially deflate the dough. Divide in half and make into whatever you have planned…. Once ready, allow to rise about another 45 minutes until the dough becomes puffy. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake about 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.