Monday, August 10, 2009

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I'm a big fan of Alton Brown and the Food Network's "Good Eats" show. I love Alton's quirky skits and how he uses cheap, everyday props to explain the chemistry behind the cooking/baking process. The episode on Overnight Cinnamon Rolls was one of my favorites, but I have to be honest I was too intimated by the whole yeast/proofing/rising thing to give them a try. Until this past weekend that is.

Ta Da. Behold my Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. Not too shabby, Eh?

The process WAS time consuming, but not too difficult.

First mix the eggs, sugar, butter, and buttermilk .

Add half the flour along with the yeast and salt.

Mix the dough until still soft, but not sticky.

Turn the dough out of the mixer and kneed by hand for 30 seconds. Place in a bowl for the first rising. I had a moment of panic at this stage. I was already cooking something in the oven and the microwave, so I couldn't put the dough in there to rise. It was a rainy, humid day and the AC had the house downright cold.

Where to put the dough?

I was stumped.

I don't bake bread often (meaning never) so I don't have any tricks to fall back on. In my panic I put the bowl inside the dryer. I sorry, sorry, sorry, but it was the only warm place in the house! Is that unsanitary? Is that totally gross? I had the bowl tightly covered and the dryer is brand new (about a month old), but I still whisper to myself, "How could you DO THAT?"

Once I was finished with the microwave, I transferred the (still tightly covered) bowl from the dryer to microwave for the rest of the rising cycle. I'm so embarrassed.

Next I rolled out the dough and sprinkled it with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Then rolled the dough into a tube and sliced it into twelve parts.

Into the buttered pan the rolls went and then into the refrigerator for an overnight stay.

The next morning, the rolls along with a pan of boiling water went into the cold oven for 30 more minutes of proofing.

And then the baking. Here they are just out of the oven. Warm and amazingly fragrant.

And the final product.

In the final analysis AB's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls were good but not great. I found them a little bready and they didn't have enough ooey, gooey, sticky filling for my taste. I read almost all of the 225+ reviews this recipe received on the Food Network page and found a few reasons why my cinnamon rolls weren't "to-die-for" [#1 The first rising needs to be longer than 2 1/2 hours (some suggest up to 8 hours). #2 Roll the dough really thin (too thick and the roll will taste bready), #3 more filling WITH pecans].

Next, and there will be a next time, time they will taste awesome.

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