Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Cinnamon buns

The plan for this morning was to write some hilarious thing about something or other as an introduction to these terrific cinammon buns, while the carpet man replaced the scraggy old carpet in what is about to be Kitty's new bedroom.

It was all going so well. I hadn't lost the recipe for the cinnamon buns, (a miracle), my laptop was working (double miracle), I'd had a cup of tea and the carpet man was actually early (such a miracle that I ought, then, to have smelled a rat).

But then he brought in the wrong carpet. It was a stripey one, the one we use on the stairs. Not the plain beige one, that we use in bedrooms.

Oh god!! Oh god oh god oh god I've ordered the wrong fucking carpet.

I searched my email, shaking, looking, searching frantically for some indication that this wasn't my fault. But it just completely was. Is. Is my fault. So I now have to re-order the carpet at vast expense and try, for the rest of the day, not to burst into tears about it.

"YOU KNEW I WAS AN IDIOT WHEN YOU MARRIED ME," I screamed pre-emptively and defensively at my husband, who was standing in the kitchen looking at me sympathetically.

Anyway here's a recipe for some cinnamon buns. They're nice.

Cinnamon buns by Edd Kimber
makes 16

For the dough

250ml whole milk
50g butter, plus extra for greasing tin
500g strong white bread flour
30g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
7g fast-action yeast. This is the equivalent of one of those sachets you get in boxes of yeast. I decided instead to use 7g of yeast in a tin, which was past its sell-by date, so the first lot of dough I made didn't rise and I had to throw it away and start again. It's all just going so well in my world at the moment.
1 egg, beaten
veg oil for greasing

For the filling

150g light brown soft sugar
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
60g butter, very soft, plus a bit extra to brush over the buns pre-baking
75g currants

... and some icing sugar. Edd mixes 125g icing sugar with 75 cream cheese and 2 tbsp whole milk. I didn't do this and plain icing is just fine. However, I have tasted this other sort of icing and it is very nice, so if you are so inclined, give it a go.

1 Put the milk and the butter in a small saucepan and heat very gently over the lowest available heat until the butter has melted. Set aside and leave it to cool to a lukewarm temperature.

2 In a bowl, mix together the:

- flour
- sugar
- salt
- yeast

to this add the milk/butter mix and the beaten egg. Mix this round until you have a dough.

3 Flour a surface and knead this for 10 minutes. Ten minutes is a VERY long time, so put a timer on or something because you will want, powerfully, to give up after about 3 minutes.

4 Put the dough in a bowl that is large enough for it to double in size. I do not have a bowl that big so I used a massive saucepan instead. Anyway whatever you use, lightly oil the base and sides.

And NOW stretch some cling film across the top of the pan/bowl in order to form an airtight seal over the dough. I think I am possibly the only person in the world who doesn't know that you are supposed to do this with dough, but I didn't. Maybe you don't know either. Maybe you think, like I used to, that you could just sling a tea-towel over it. No. If you do that air will get to it and form a very thin crust, which will both stop the dough from rising properly and also make it very difficult to shape later.

You're all laughing at me now, I can tell. Go ahead! I don't care! Kick me while I'm down why don't you.

5 Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hr. While this is happening grease with butter a 23cm x 33cm high sided baking tin. If you, like me, don't have one of these, you can use whatever combination of high-sided baking tins you've got to fit the buns in.

6 Tip your dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to 40x50cm. I ended up using a tape measure for this. The funny thing about rolling out dough like this is that at first you think - how am I going to roll this out to any sort of rectangle shape? If you try the dough sort springs back on itself and will only go into a round shape. But if you keep on rolling it out thinner and thinner it suddenly complies and relaxes into a rounded sort of rectangle. It has to be seen to be believed.

7 Mix the brown sugar and the cinnamon together in a bowl. Now take your 60g of very soft butter and spread the dough with it. Now sprinkle over the sugar mixture and then the currants. Don't be afraid to press all this into the dough reasonably firmly.

8 Now roll all this up into a tight log shape. I'm sure the Bake-Off Masterclasses showed a terribly clever way of doing this, but I missed that episode, so just do this the best way you can see how.

9 Trim the ends off the roll and then cut into 16 pieces. I used a tape measure again for this. All you do is mark out the middle of the roll, and then mark out the middles of those two halves and then again until you've got 16 bits. Cut these up and then arrange in your collection (or not) of baking tins then leave THESE to rise for 45 mins, again with the tins covered with an airtight seal of clingfilm. Before baking brush these with some melted butter.

10 Now - to bake. My oven is a fan oven and therefore nukes anything I bake, which is why I don't do much baking. If you have one of these wretched bloody ovens then bake your buns at 165 for 30 mins, laying a sheet of foil over the buns for the last 15 mins of baking time. If you don't have a fan oven, bake these at 180 for 30 mins, but also cover for the last 15 mins of baking time.

I lost my nerve halfway through baking these and turned the temp up to 180 and although the buns were a triumph, if anything they were a tiny bit over-cooked. So next time I will just stick to 165 the whole way.

11 Mix up whatever icing you are using and drizzle or spread once the buns have cooled a bit.

Eat and then hang yourself with a length of carpet gripper.



  1. Great great great. I have always wanted to make cinnamon buns and you've made it look so easy that maybe, just maybe I'll give it a go.

    Regarding the carpet, please, that is minor. You sound positively normal. And I'm so envious of the fact that you have a carpet scheme. I long to have a house where anything, even the colour above and below the dado rail, matches. We are living in a house that somebody died in 10 years ago and we still have their wallpaper on the walls. And at least your husband gave you the sympathetic face when you fucked up. I called the R.A.C out last week because I couldn't take the keys out of the car ignition. He looked at me. How long have you had this car? He asked. Three years, I answered. You do realise that you have to put it in reverse before you can take the keys out? Of course I did. I had just temporarily lost my mind.

  2. Ha ha ha! What a lovely story. xxx

  3. Ooh, lovely, I will try these shortly. I had always been hopeless at bread until I booked myself onto a traditional bread making course at Brompton cookery school nr Shrewsbury. A tip I learned there was instead of 10 mins kneading you can make your dough (mix together until combined enough to pick up as one mass) then leave it somewhere warm for 10- 30 mins, this starts the yeast working and then it only requires a 3 minute knead - which, as you point out, is quite enough! Continue with other stages as normal......

  4. I didn't know about the cling-film until last night (oops, sounding dodgy) when my husband (help - dodgier!) made some oaty rolls (phew, saved it). I just sling a tea-towel when I make dough but then it's mostly pizza dough anyway, maybe it doesn't matter. What did people do before cling-film?

    1. yes the what did people do before cling film is a very good question, I asked myself the same thing

  5. Don't beat yourself up about not knowing stuff. All this baking malarky was a mystery to me due to years of dragging the arse out of my single days in London and now I'm settled in a rural backwater I realised that I knew NOTHING about this stuff. The first cake I baked was your chocolate one (I think I commented on it) and it was a triumph and I also baked the muffin recipe using blackcurrants instead of blueberries and they were fantastic, so when you are feeling useless and pathetic remember that you helped this poor old retired party lush enter the world of baking with her head held high.

  6. The buns look delicious and the recipe and pictures looks great.
    Re. the carpet, that does sound like something I'd do, and like you I'd beat myself up about it without my husband saying much. Its that horrid feeling you have when you're desperately trying to prove it's not your fault but knowing that it probably is!

  7. Yep also didn't know about the cling film, I've been using a (damp!) tea towel. Found your blog via your husband's tweet by the way, I am enjoying it immensely!

  8. Not laughing, honest. Good buns - even if the first lot of dough didn't rise.

  9. Oh god, how did you know? I wrote about my love of the cinnamon bun today as well.

  10. I do love eating cinnamon buns but have never made them. However you did another recipe for cinnamon buns a few months back which looked yummy but I never got round to making them - even though I had gone out and bought cardamom which was part of the recipe.
    So should I motivate myself to try these, or the previous ones, or throw my hands up in horror, in the hope someone else will make them for me (not holding out much hope for that).

  11. They look great but I couldn't eat 16 (well, I could but....)

    If I halve the amount do I also halve the yeast or still use 7g?

    1. You halve the yeast. I would say something about making 16 and then freezing half the dough but I'm not sure that would work...

  12. Great, thanks. Will give them a try.

  13. If you freeze the dough it might take a bit longer to get going, but it should still work. I wonder if part-baked would work, if you could freeze them fast enough?
    I must try these when I get back to my own kitchen

  14. I can't believe you own a cooling rack! Am I the only person not to have one?!

  15. very funny piece! Also really admire you having another go after first failed attempt. I always blame the recipe and vow to never make failed item again. Hence i've now decided I never like macarons much anyway...

  16. Look fab - perfect for a cold day, will attempt to make them for the favourite eldest son coming back from uni tomorrow (fav youngest son doesn't like them)

    Similar issue this week - told the builders to take down the old tv ariel - we use sky - dump it. Told husband as a passing comment - oops downstairs flat need it for free view. Blame it on a busy life - decision making on the run!

  17. I really must get around to making these.

  18. I made these yesterday. It was all going swimmingly as I rolled the dough out into something resembling a rectangle - no mean feat for me - then I looked round and saw my egg still resting on the counter and not in the dough where it should be.

    I salvaged it in a very ham-fisted way, and despite my best efforts they taste great. Phew.

  19. I am a big cinnamon bun fan, and your blog post inspired me to try making my own for the first time. Roped in 5-year-old to make them with me; when he realised we had to WAIT for the dough to rise (twice - argh - this is what comes of not reading the recipe right through to the end) he lost interest, needless to say. I soldiered on and they worked a treat and we all scoffed them.

  20. Thank you for the recipe, going to give them a go at the weekend, I'd attempt them tonight but can't go shopping until the end of the week typically.

  21. Just made these for the second time, my hint above about reducing the kneading time has worked both times, I didn't have an egg so I used 300ml whole milk instead and my oven also nukes everything so cooked for 20 mins on 165 degrees - perfect! If anything this second batch was better than the first, softer bread dough
    Thanks, these are a firm favourite in my house x