I’ve heard more than once in the military that to be a good leader you have to be a good follower. That’s total bullshit, in my opinion. I’ll note however that once you’re a leader, you come to appreciate good followers, and then may become one yourself for your leader.
The same is true for cooking; a cook can better appreciate flavours and tastes (at least this cook can). Knowing what’s in my own meal allows me to taste other people’s food with that same appreciation.
But can you become a better son by being a father? The timelines don’t really work. Everything you experience in the first year of your kid’s life cannot help with your relationship with your dad, when you’re both adults. But, I can now appreciate the other side of things. So now I can relay this message from my six year old self.
Dad, I know I only let Mom tuck me in at night for, like, the last four weeks. I don’t know why I do this, but it makes sense in my six year old brain. But it won’t always be like this. I’m sure we’ll have other differences as I get older, but things’ll sort themselves out. Everyone says I’m a little you, and it’ll turn out that I’ll be exactly like you, except for an appreciation of broad comedy and a disdain for professional sports. How about in 25 years when you visit next, we can have cinnamon buns and you can tell me other times I did something like this? Or not; you don’t like sweet things. Maybe that’s another difference.
Cinnamon buns, like all bread, require a lot of passive time, bursts of activity with long periods of inactivity. If you make’em and bake’em the same day, that’s about 4 hours of mostly waiting. Let them sit in the fridge overnight and the time increases by 3 hours. Once in a while, though, these are worth it.
Eat these 30 minutes out of the oven and you’ll know it was time well spent.
The biggest thing to note is the type of flour matters! I tried cake flour the other weekend to see if I could get a more cakey bun, but it was an utter failure.
Makes 8 – 10
- 5 1/2 tbsp butter
- 6 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp yeast
- 16 oz flour, all purpose or bread
- 1 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 butter
- 1 – 2 cups icing sugar
In a stand mixer, on medium speed with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and salt.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the zest. Place the whole works in the stand mixer. Mix on medium until smooth.
Weigh out your flour. Add the yeast. Add to the stand mixer. If your milk is cold, nuke it for a bit in the microwave, say 20 seconds. Add the milk to the stand mixer. Mix on low until the dough forms a ball. A lot of dough will stick to the sides, and that’s okay, but the paddle should have a distinct ball shape stuck on it.
Replace the paddle with the dough hook. Scrape the sides of the bowl so all the dough is in the center. Knead on medium-low for about 10 minutes. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky.
Place in a oiled boil, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at room temperature until the dough is roughly double in size, about 2 hours.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle roughly 12 inches by 14 inches. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough, leaving a 1-inch boundary of dough at the edge.
Roll the dough up to form a log. It may stick in places, so go slowly. Cut the log in 1 1/2-inch thick slices. In a square, non-stick baking pan, place the buns in rows.
Let proof (sit on counter) for approximately 60 minutes; or place in the fridge to cook the next day (when taking it out, let it sit on the counter for 3-4 hours to warm to room temperature).
Heat your oven to 350F. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, until golden.
Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Melt the butter in the microwave. Add to small bowl. Add a cup of icing sugar. Whisk like mad to form a smooth glaze. You probably will need more icing sugar to get a glaze that stays glazy.
After 10 minutes, take the buns out of the pan, place on a cooling rack. Drizzle with the glaze. Wait 20 minutes before eating.
Must be served warm.