Friday, June 18, 2010

Natural baked goodness: whole wheat cinnamon buns

With the chicken drama behind me for now (and thanks again to everyone who talked me through it -- your understanding and support means so much!), I thought I'd finally write that post on whole wheat cinnamon buns.

It was another cold and rainy day on Wednesday so Ella and I decided to do some baking to warm up the kitchen, our hearts and our bellies!

I have another new/used book that I've been excited to try out: the Home Bakebook of Natural Breads & Goodies, by Sandra and Bruce Sandler.

Published in 1972, it contains recipes for yeast bread, sourdoughs, rolls, quick breads, cakes, cookies, pies & puddings, using whole grain flours such as whole wheat, whole rye, soy flour and cornmeal.

Even in the early 70s, the authors noted there was something amiss with the "food" modern families were buying:

"Few things are as enjoyable as spreading fresh sweet butter on hot bread straight from the oven. And, few store or bakery bought breads are quite as nutritious as home baked breads with whole grains and organic ingredients... The pale, squishy supermarket product certainly cannot be the food that supports life. It has all it can to support a knife of firm peanut butter."
We've been baking our own bread for a while now but I've got a confession to make: I've been using my bread machine for the making part.

I know, there's nothing "wrong" with that, but I do believe part of the experience of making bread from scratch is lost with the use of a machine.

I've been intimidated by the kneading and rising part. But that's where the connection to the handmade really blossoms, doesn't it?

Since this is a skill I want my children to have I decided to get over myself and just try it.
First you have to prepare the dough for dinner rolls.
You need:
• 1 tbsp dry yeast
• 1 -1/2 cups warm water
• 3 tbsp raw organic sugar
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 2 tbsp (melted) butter
• 1 egg
• 3 to 4 cups whole wheat flour

1.) In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water. Allow the yeast to dissolve, about five minutes.

2.) Stir in the sugar, salt, butter and egg. Slowly stir in the flour until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl

3.) Turn the dough out onto a floured board (or table) and knead until it feels elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes. It took closer to 10 minutes for us but that's because little hands were eager to help.

4.) Roll the dough into a rectangle about 9" x 18".

Jack came home from school just in time to help with the next part - yay!

5.) Brush the dough with 1/4 cup melted butter.

6.) Mix together 1/2 cup raw organic sugar and 1 tbsp (or more!) cinnamon. Sprinkle this mix over the butter.

7.) Roll the dough jelly-roll fashion into a cylinder about 18" long.

8.) Cut the roll into 1" slices.

Jack thought the inside swirl was really neat and deserved a close-up so you could appreciate its neatness too!

9.) Place the slices cut side down fairly close to each other in buttered cake pans. Cover with a clean dish cloth and allow to rise until about double in size.

It worked!

10.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 25 minutes or until brown.

The verdict: A resounding success! While store-bought cinnamon buns are made from white flour and are dripping in icing, these have a wonderful heartiness to them. Not too sweet but oh so good! I think the next time, I might try even a bit more cinnamon and I might pop in a few raisins. Enjoy!


Mama Pea said...

Omigosh, those look WONDERFUL! Gotta try them . . . soon!

Seeing pictures of Ella (and Jack) right in there working in the kitchen with you reminds me SO much of when Chicken Mama was small and wanted to do EVERYTHING I did in the kitchen. Not having patience as a virtue, I'm surprised I was smart enough to let her work beside me. But I also remember lots of times when a 5 minute job was completed in 45 (with her "help") and I truly wanted to throw myself on the floor spread-eagled with exhaustion!

Erin said...

I too, want to learn to do bread the proper way, by hand! Interestingly enough, hubby taught himself with no cookbooks and I have always relied on him. For some reason he can read yeast like it's part of himself, it's a total mystery to me! Now that he is gone and I am finding myself grilled pizza crust "less" and breadless LOL I think I may tackle this skill!

Now, however, I get to do several horrible things all together, are you ready? 1. go swimsuit shopping 2. in humid stifling heat, and 3. WITH MY KIDS! Can you imagine? Fun times...

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