I made a variation of these cinnamon rolls from Joy the Baker this evening, and let me just say WOW. These were by far the best cinnamon rolls I've ever made, perhaps even the best I've ever had -- and that's saying a lot. The dough was beautiful. I mean, really, really, really gorgeous. It came together so easily, and rose like you wouldn't believe.
I made two pans, one large and one small. The large pan went into the fridge after the final rising, and will bake in the morning for breakfast. The small pan I baked tonight, and Brad and I had them for a late pseudo-dinner. They were delicious, and I can't wait to have more for breakfast in the morning.
Here's the recipe I used, with my changes included. For the original recipe, be sure to check out Joy's recipe here. My changes were pretty simple. I left out the spices and lemon zest in the dough, and then when I rolled it out, I spread it with softened butter, and sprinkled it with cinnamon, sugar and raisins. For the glaze, I just used a simple butter/powdered sugar/milk glaze. Joy's rolls would obviously have a much more complex flavor than mine, with all those yummy spices and lemon zest. Either way, you can't go wrong! : )
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup bread flour
2/3 cup whole milk, cold
4 teaspoons honey
1 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter, cold
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp butter, softened
1 to 2 Tbsp milk
Mix the sponge: In a medium bowl combine all of the dry ingredients followed lastly by the milk. Stir together for 2 minutes, then cover with the flours, then the salt from the final dough. The flours are used on top of the sponge like a covering of plastic wrap. Allow to ferment at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Begin the final dough: While the sponge is fermenting, in a 4-qt mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter of medium speed until smooth and pale. Add the sugar and continue creaming at the same speed for 5 minutes. It should be light and fluffy. Add the eggs in 4 additions, mix until combined. The mixture will look very wet, and curdled. This is a lot of eggs, for the amount of butter; it won’t be completely incorporated. Don’t worry!
Add the flour covered sponge to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until evenly combined. On medium speed, continue to mix with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and mix on low speed until smooth and satiny. If the dough is sticking a lot to the sides of the bowl, add all purpose flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the dough off the bottom of the bowl. Mixing with the dough hook takes about 5 minutes. You can finish with a minute or two of hand kneading if you like.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Place a clean dish towel over the bowl. Bulk ferment at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.
Flip the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface to fold the dough and redistribute the yeast. With a floured hand, pat the dough roughly into a rectangle. Lift the left side of the dough and fold it over almost to the right side of the dough, leaving about 2 inches of room. Lift the right side and fold it all the way over to the left. Lift the bottom of the dough, the side closest to you, and fold it almost to the top of the dough, leaving about an inch. Lastly, fold the top of the dough all the way down towards you. Return the dough to the bowl and cover as before, leaving it for 30 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, using a rolling pin, degas and roll the dough out to a rectangle 15 inches high and 12 inches long.
Spread with the softened butter, and sprinkle evenly with the sugar, and then cinnamon. Add raisins, if desired. Beginning with the long edge, roll up the dough and cinnamon sugar filling. Brush the edge of the seam with water and pinch closed. Cover with a towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Using a bench knife, or sharp kitchen knife, slice the dough into 1 inch cinnamon rolls. Place cinnamon rolls into a baking pan, leaving about 1 inch of space between. Cover the sliced cinnamon rolls with a towel and allow to rest and almost double in size, about 50 minutes. If the room is very warm from the oven, they will proof in as little as 35 minutes.
For the glaze, stir together butter, powdered sugar and milk with a fork; set aside.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on them after 10 minutes, until they are a lovely golden brown. Remove from the oven and drizzle with glaze while still warm.