It is Food Blog Friday!
I’m on a mission to make the perfect cinnamon bun. The holy grail is, in my opinion, a tender, sweet roll with the perfect amount of cinnamon. A bun that holds it’s own and doesn’t need to be doused in frosting.
Don’t get me wrong, I have an unhealthy love of all things frosted. The kind of love that would make me fist fight for the corner piece of slab cake or accept a cupcake only to lick off the frosting and eschew the rest.
But when it comes to a cinnamon bun, I like a little frosting for extra sweetness, but too much and I feel like I’m eating a decadent dessert when what I really want is a breakfast pastry.
So when I saw Rosa’s Yummy Yums recipe for Korvapuustit (Finnish Cinnamon Buns), A few thoughts ran through my head: 1) Those are the most adorable cinnamon buns I’ve ever seen, 2) Finland borders Norway and I was just in Norway, so, cool. 3)This looks like my cinnamon bun holy grail, but cuter.
According to Rosa:
In Finland, you’ll find [korvapuustit] in every café or bakery. They are very popular with both Finns and foreigners alike. Those rolls are similar to Sweden’s “Kanelbullar” and to the American “Cinnamon Rolls”, yet they differ a little from both. The differences lie within their ear-like shape, flavor (cardamom in the dough and a lot less sweet than their US counterpart), texture (less gooey than “Cinnamon Rolls”) and size (relatively small compared to the oversized American rolls).
Sounds perfect! So I set out to make the rolls.
The result wasn’t exactly what I was going for. I liked that they weren’t super sweet (although Matt had other opinions on that), I loved the cardamom flavour in the dough, and I thought they really were a perfect size and shape (the shape is my favourite thing about them!) but the dough itself wasn’t quite tender enough for my liking.
I liked them for what they were, but what they’re not is the perfect cinnamon bun.
I think I will use some ideas that I took away from this recipe as the quest for the perfect cinnamon bun continues…
So I give this recipe…
Finnish Cinnamon Buns (Korvapuustit)
1 Package (7g) Active dry yeast
1/2 Cup (120ml) Lukewarm water
1/4 Cup (60g) Unsalted butter, melted
1/4 Cup (50g) Castor sugar
1 Big egg, slightly beaten
1 Egg yolk
1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt
3/4 Tsp ground cardamom (optional)
2 1/4 -2 1/2 Cups (~ 300g) All-purpose flour
1/4 Cup (60g) Unsalted butter, softened
1/4 Cup (50g) Castor sugar
1 Tbs Ground cinnamon
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbs Milk
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the butter, sugar, egg, yolk, salt, cardamom and 2 1/4-1/2 cups flour, then knead until dough is smooth.
3. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.
4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle of 30x60cm (12 inches by 24 inches).
5. Spread with the butter, then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
6. Roll up, starting from one of the 60cm (24-inch) side.
7. Cut the roll diagonally into 12 pieces (each piece will be about 1.3cm/½ inch on one side and 7.6/3 inches thick on the other side).
8. With two thumbs or the handle of a big wooden spoon, press down the middle of the side of each roll (by doing that the two cut edges will be forced upward/the rolls will resemble two “ears”).
9. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
10. Place the cinnamon ears on prepared baking sheets. Cover them with a humid towel.
11. Let rise for about 40 minutes, until the rolls are puffy and have doubled in size.
12. Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F) after 20 minutes of rising.
13. Once the rolls have risen, mix the egg and milk together.
14. Brush each roll with this mixture and sprinkle with the pearl sugar.
15. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.
Note: I frosted these cinnamon buns with a drizzle of icing that I made by combining icing sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, and a touch of soy milk to bring it all together.
Food Blog Fridayrecipes are ranked on the scale of 0-3 spoons
0 spoons – That was fucking horrendous
1 spoon – I doubt I’ll be making that again
2 spoons – I’ll probably make that again with some tweaks
3 spoons – That was perfect
After last week’s foray into the exciting world of homemade nut butters, I decided to give peanut butter making a try since peanut butter is my favourite of them all.
I bought Virginia roasted unsalted peanuts and whirred them in the food processor for about 8 minutes with a pinch of salt, and a dash of cinnamon, clove, and cardamom (just because I was feeling whimsical*) and voila, peanut butter.
*Does anyone else feel annoyed by the overuse of the term “whimsy” in relation to culinary arts?
This would be the point of the post where I show you a picture… unfortunately I ate all the peanut butter. In 3 days. It was so perfect that I couldn’t stop myself.
I also made bread this week…of the multigrain variety. I know, it’s not big news since I bake bread most weeks. Sometimes two different types (you’re jealous, I can tell).
The thing I love about multigrain bread is you can literally put any grain into it and it ends up tasting amazing. I’ve never even come across a combination I found mediocre. They’re all awesome.
I actually took a picture before I devoured the whole loaf. Also, in 3 days. This is no coincidence.
My bread and pb binge also coincides with my excitement over this:
ROOM by Emma Donoghue
Jack and Ma live in a locked room that measures eleven foot by eleven. When he turns five, he starts to ask questions, and his mother reveals to him that there is a world outside. Told entirely in Jack’s voice, ROOM is no horror story or tearjerker, but a celebration of resilience and the love between parent and child. (source)
I’ve been excited about this book since it came out last August and I’ve been patiently waiting for the paperback. I found it in Norway of all places. CanLit in paperback in Norway before Canada? I thought it was weird, but I scooped up the book at first chance.
I haven’t been able to put it down in the last 3 days and so I haven’t been making myself square meals. Just eating bread and peanut butter and curling up to an amazing book. I had been feeling guilty about it up until this moment when I re-read that last sentence and thought: “Hmm. That sounds like the perfect afternoon.”
Any good reads lately that you can recommend?9 Comments
Remember back in the summer when I went to Montreal and had those overrated bagels from Fairmount bakery?
Well these aren’t them.
I don’t get Montreal bagels and if that’s sacrilegious to admit then have me excommunicated.
Sure, they are a bit sweeter (thumbs up!) but they are too dense (thumbs down) and too dry (thumbs down) and the centre is too big (thumbs way down—I want more bread, not more air, thank you very much).
So, no, these aren’t Montreal style bagels.These are MY bagels: ever so slightly crispy crust, chewy crumb, and a hint of sweetness. They’re perfect.
At least I think so.
The Best Chewy Bagels
18 oz bread flour
4-1/2 tsp yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
12 oz warm water
3 L water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg white
1/4 poppy or sesame seeds
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients then slowly add in the 12 oz water. Mix until the ingredients come together.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed to created a firm, dense dough. The dough should pass the windowpane test for gluten development… if not, keep kneading!
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume (~1hour)
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll them into snakes about 25 cm long. If the dough wont roll out easily just let it rest for 5 minutes and try again.
Wrap the snake around your palm to form a bagel shape and with your palm still in the centre, roll the bagel on the counter to seal the seams.
Cover the bagels and let them rise for 10 – 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F, prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bring the 3L of water to a boil on the stove. Once the water is boiling, add in the 2 Tbsp sugar.
Add the bagels to the water bath 3-4 at a time being careful not the overcrowd the pot. Keep them in the water for 30 seconds on one side and then 30 seconds on the other. Remove them with a large slotted spoon and place them on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
Brush the bagels with the egg white and sprinkle with seeds of choice.
Bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes or until the bagels are golden brown. They will still be soft when you take them out of the oven but once they cool the the crust will firm up a bit.
This post was submitted to Yeastspotting.
Previous Posts in the Flour Girl Series:
I’m trying to just eat one dessert a week in my efforts to win the office Biggest Loser. And no, those handfuls of Jelly Belly’s from the Cost-Co sized tub on top of my fridge don’t count as dessert. What? They’re made with real fruit!
While I may not be entirely successful in cutting out the sugar, I was entirely successful in baking my own dessert this week. In true Samantha fashion it came in the form of a yeast bread: Stollen.
Okay, let’s not kid ourselves here with the bread moniker, this is cake. Maybe I only put 2 tablespoons of sugar in it, but the with the richness from the butter, egg, milk, booze, and fruit the term bread just doesn’t do it justice.
This is my first time making stollen and, actually, the first time I’ve ever eaten it (the bonus to that being that I don’t know if I FUBAR’d the recipe). Stollen is a German holiday bread that is a lot like Italian panettone in theory, but not quite in practice. It’s much denser. heavier. Whereas I could eat half a loaf of panettone without second thought (and I may or may not have done this before… like, on Saturday afternoon), a small piece of stollen is substantial. Maybe it has a little something to do with all the dried fruit in it, or maybe the has a gooey marzipan filling (my favourite part) :d
That’s marzipan mixed with butter.
Fold the dough over into an ‘S’ shape and then form into a crescent.
I left 1c. of Thompson raisins and 1c. candied citrus peel to soak in a few tablespoons of peach schnapps for 3 days to get really plump and absorb full flavour of the liqueur and that way they would keep the Stollen moist.
Did I mention that as soon as it comes out of the oven you slather it in butter and roll it in icing sugar? Oh yeah, that keeps it pretty moist too. …but don’t worry, you’ll probably eat it all before it has any chance of drying out.
Make a stollen for yourself. It’s a good foray into the wonderful world of yeast baking.
Here are some Stollen recipes online if you’re interested in making a loaf for yourself. After all those delicious pictures, you probably are.
*This bread was submitted to Yeastspotting13 Comments
I really love baking lean white breads, like ciabatta or pain a l’ancinne, because the only ingredients are flour, salt, yeast, and water. All the flavour then comes from the fermentation process. I find it to be pretty damn amazing that such bland ingredients can create such a flavourful dough.
. . . but then I also love to bake whole grain bread. Experimenting with endless possible combinations of whole grains to see which one gives the best flavour or texture. Wheat kernels, emmer, amaranth, barley, quinoa, millet, rice. . . there really is no limit to the amount of experimenting you can do.
This weekend I made an enriched whole grain bread, meaning in addition to the standard bread ingredients I also added some fat and some dairy which provide a soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture. It makes for a really delicious sandwich bread.
This bread contains wheat and barley (a grain I hadn’t yet worked with in bread) that came out fabulous. I also included a few top secret ingredients to make the bread sweet and soft.
All in all, this enriched wheat and barley bread was delicious! Now excuse me while I go make a sandwich. . .8 Comments
So it’s officially a brand new year!
While I’m usually disinterested in celebrating New Year’s Eve and am more keen to stay awake just long enough to do the official countdown to midnight, this year Matt decided to host a wine and cheese at our place on Friday which left me awake into hours of the morning that I haven’t witnessed in years.
In spite of the fact that the party was sort of a last minute effort we had a solid showing of about 10-12 people including best friends, friends from out of town, and surprisingly a friend I haven’t seen since high school! It was a great close to 2010 which was, itself, a pretty damn good year.
Matt and I may have outdid ourselves a bit with the apps, but that’s just our style—better to have too much food than too little!
We polished off 4 bottles of wine and a bottle of bambino.
And served up lots of yummy cheeses. . .
… with some homemade pain a l’ancienne and crackers
We played shot the shit, played some Smart Ass, and watched a terrible B movie (I’d suggest that you don’t watch Trail of the Screaming Foreheads… yes, it is a real movie.)
All in all it was a fun way to kick off 2011.
How did you celebrate New Years Eve 2010?7 Comments
Sunday evening I was caught up in a baking frenzy. Frenzy.
It was mostly to bring down my blood pressure after driving all across the city on terribly snowy roads to get all my Christmas shopping done. When you hate driving in snow, detest shopping, and loathe the mall at Christmas it makes for a stress-inducing afternoon.
So I set to whipping up 2 different types of cookies and my favourite sprouted grain bread. Maybe it was the cloud of flour in the air that hindered my awareness, or possibly the fact that the oven was working overtime and the kitchen was heating up like a sauna but before I knew it my lovely rising dough fell flat
Flat as a pancake.
Normally this wouldn’t worry me all that much, but Matt was bringing this bread to a staff party and I was hoping to impress with my baking skills. An over-risen dough bakes to be tough and gummy– not very impressive.
So if you ever get yourself in the situation where you forget about your dough and come back to find it looking like it was steamrolled, never fear it can be saved.
How to fix an over-risen dough:
1. Punch down the dough.
2. Knead the dough by hand for ~2 minutes to remove all air bubbles.
3. Shape the dough into the desired form, spray with oil, and cover with a clean tea towel.
4. Place the dough into a oven warm oven to proof. (Pre-heat the oven to the lowest temperature setting you have and then turn it off before placing the dough inside. I like to keep the oven door open a crack so that the bread doesn’t get too warm.)
5. Depending on the warmth of the environment, the dough should rise again within 1-2 hours.
6. If the dough doesn’t rise then the yeast is dead and it probably can’t be salvaged. Roll out the dough thinly onto a floured surfaced, cut into squares, and bake. Congratulations you have made crackers.
Luckily I was able to salvage this dough. After only 20 minutes in a warm oven it rose beautifully once again:
And after 45 minutes of baking voila, a beautiful loaf of sprouted grain sandwich bread.
Ezekiel, eat your heart out.4 Comments
Ciabatta is probably one of my favourite white breads. It has a crust that is soft but toothsome and a crumb that is moist and chewy.
It makes a perfect bread for a panino. These loaves didn’t quite make it that far. Matt brought one to share with his staff and the other two we gobbled up over the course of 2 days : /
That’s usually how it goes with the homemade bread at my house.
I’ve made ciabatta a few times in the past. This is the first time I think I really got the hang of the shaping method, so they actually do look like ciabatta.
The basic dough is traditional, made with the basic 4: flour, yeast, water, and salt. It starts with a pre-ferment made of the same ingredients (minus salt) a day in advance. The preferment gets the yeast working and helps to really develop the flavours of the final dough. When a dough is made with only the basic 4 the fermentation process is crucial to imparting flavour on the final loaf.
The ratio of water to flour of ciabatta dough is very high, so the dough itself is quite wet and sticky. It’s best to knead it right in the bowl.
The dough is both proofed and shaped through a series of stretching, folding, and resting. I let the dough proof for extra long this time (about 5 hours) before baking. In my cold house that was entirely necessary.
And voila, my best ciabatta yet.8 Comments
In spite of the very warm and sunny weather this weekend that is more typical of early summer than mid-autumn I had a characteristically fall weekend filled with fallen leaves, pumpkin picking, beer and baking.
I was extremely excited when I came across this at the LCBO on Saturday:
Pumpkin Ale! Last weekend they were all sold out and told me they wouldn’t be getting any more in stock. I was so excited when I saw this one that I dished out $9 of Matt’s money for a bottle just to try it.
And it sucked.
One sip and I was done with it. It was too strong, too bitter, too hoppy. I was expected something more like a pumpkin lambic. This beer was an utter failure and unfortunately most of it ended up down the drain.
On a brighter note, Matt and I also went to pick out some pumpkins from Mr Goodlawn for decoration/eating. I had never been to their farm before (which is owned by a friend of ours) so I was really impressed by the awesome Hallowe’en set-up they have going on there with haunted houses, creepy props, and tonnes of pumpkins. I can’t believe I forgot my camera! I took a few pictures of the pumpkins on the stoop.
Let’s just call the dead leaves on my porch ‘festive’.
The green one is apparently the best for cooking so once Hallowe’en is over I’ll have to come up with something really creative to make with it (and by really creative, I mean pumpkin pie).
And speaking of baking. . .
My Nonna’s birthday is tomorrow. She will be 87 years young and she’s still going strong. What do you get for an 87 year old who has everything? Panettone.
I spent Saturday baking this beauty as her present:
Yes ladies and gents that beauty is straight from the Menzies’ oven (and onto the Menzies porch)
For anyone who doesn’t know what panettone is I feel bad for you. It’s my favourite festive bread (yeast cake? coffee cake? loaf of deliciousness?) . It’s a sweet bread that originated in Milan and is eaten by Italians primarily at Christmas time. It’s made with butter and eggs and a touch of sugar and is filled with orange-peel and raisins that have been soaked in rum. It’s as good as it sounds.
With the success of this bread I think I’m going to be making a lot more loaves for the Christmas holidays coming up.
Nonna certainly liked it.No Comments
So you go to the bakery and you buy a delicious loaf of bread. You’re barely out the door when you decide to rip into it because the aroma is so enticing. The crust is firm and crispy and cracks as you break into the loaf. The crumb is soft and chewy with nice big air pockets. How do they get the loaf to come out like that?
It’s surprisingly not very difficult to replicate this at home. Bakeries may have ovens that can get much hotter than yours, and they may be equipped with steamers, but these are all things that you can replicate at home.
Hearth-style baking involves breads that are not baked in a loaf pan in a very hot oven. You can replicate this by inserting a thick baking stone into your own oven and placing the loaf on top of the stone to bake. The stone improves heat retention that is necessary for that crispy crust that you’re looking for.
Professional bakeries have devices blast steam into the oven at regular intervals during the first 5 to 10 minutes of baking, and then subsequently stop producing steam to create a dry environment. Steam will condense on the dough’s surface keeping the outside of the loaf moist and flexible thus delaying the hardening of the crust. This allows the bread to rise for a longer time period in the oven creating large uneven holes in the crumb. Once the steam runs out and the oven is dry the crispy crust is able to form. Additionally, the moisture from the steam dissolves sugars in the dough so when the oven stops producing steam during the second half of baking the moisture evaporates leaving sugar on the dough’s surface to create the brown crust.
You can do this at home by using a steam bath with just a cup of water and a metal baking pan:
- Place a cast iron (or other metal) pan in the cold oven directly above or below the shelf where the bread will be placed (depending on the size of your oven). Don’t use glass or ceramic because you’ll end up crying to your husband that you broke your favourite green Le Creuset baking dish. Trust me.
- Preheat the oven to 50 – 100 degrees F above the required baking temperature with the empty steam pan inside.
- Place the bread on the baking stone.
- While wearing oven mitts add 1 cup of hot or simmering water to the steam pan and close the oven door immediately. (Avoid using ice cubes or cold water which will bring down the temperature of the oven.)
- Reduce oven temperature to the recommended baking temperature.
- Do not open the oven door during the first 10 minutes of baking. After that you can open the oven to rotate your loaf 180 degrees and remove the steam pan if there is still water left in it.
This method of hearth baking with a baking stone and steam pan can be used on any number of different types of breads. It is usually used for breads that aren`t enriched with butter or oil and are primarily flour, water, yeast and salt, such as french bread, ciabatta, sourdough, pugliese, pain a l’ancienne, etc.
Check out some recipes where you can use this technique:10 Comments
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- Lose 6cm from my waistline
Start (Aug 15): 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Aug 31: 82cm /89cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Sep 20: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Oct 1: 83cm/ 88cm/ 165.6lb
Oct 10: 82cm/ 89cm/ 166.6lb
Oct 31: 81cm/ 88cm/ 166.6lb
Nov 15: 81cm/ 87cm/ 169.4lb
Dec 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.2lb
Jan1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 169.4lb
Feb 1: 84cm/89cm/171.8lb
Mar 15: 83cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb
Apr 15: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb