I’m a big fan of allowing appliances to do some of the tedious, repetitive work in the kitchen.
Specifically, the BREAD MACHINE – I don’t mean actually BAKING in it, although that works fine for regular bread. But when you want something like rolls and especially cinnamon rolls, but find it a real chore to do the mixing, kneading and WATCHING while it rises a couple of times and needs punching down between rises. So most folks don’t bother and will buy a lesser quality item from a store.
You can use any number of actual recipes for sweet dough and allow the machine to mix and knead and rise it.
That’s not what I am going to blog about today.
Boxed BREAD MIXES! It’s funny that folks I know who think nothing of making a cake from a box mix, completely ignore the bread mixes in boxes. You can even buy them from Amazon and they are excellent.
If you are not going to bake in the bread machine, you can use TWO bread mixes and I like to combine “flavors” to get the end product I prefer.
For this batch of cinnamon rolls I used ONE box of Krusteaz Hawaiian Sweet bread and one box of Hodgson Mill Wholesome White (a local market carries almost the full line of Hodgson Mill bread mixes).
First I add up the amount of WARM water for both mixes because my machine says put the liquid in the pan first. I then add the oil or fat specified – I used half butter and half rice bran oil because using oil produces a bread that has more moisture and takes longer to stale.
Then I dump in the bread mix, level it off and add just ONE of the yeast packets, you can add both but it is usually not necessary.
I also add TWO TABLESPOONS of sugar. Then load the pan into the machine making sure it is locked down. Close the lid, you can watch but wait till most of the flour has been moistened – unless you want flour blown into your face.
Select the DOUGH setting and push START. After it has been mixing for awhile, check to make sure it looks okay, like dough and not like batter (a sign of too much liquid). You can add a little more flour a tablespoon at a time. If everything looks okay, go off and do something else, the machine will take care of the dough and will stop when the cycle is finished and it doesn’t hurt to leave it in there for a while longer, it may rise to the top and hit the window, but that’s okay.
While all that is going on you can mix up a batch of cinnamon/sugar. 1/2 cup sugar (or Truvia for those who like it) to 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon (if you really like cinnamon, add a bit more) and 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg – you can omit this if you like or you can substitute ground cardamom, if you like it.
Measure out 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped pecans – or another nut if you like and 1/2 cup of raisins.
Mix the raisins and nuts together and toss with a scant Tablespoon of flour, making sure the raisins aren’t clumped together, then add the cinnamon/sugar mix and toss so the fruit and nuts are evenly distributed. You can make this ahead and store in an airtight container.
Now comes the fun.
Put a little pile of flour in one corner of your working area and generously sprinkle some over the counter or board where you will work the dough.
Knead it a bit until it looks like this and has a “springy” feel.
Now divide it in half because we are only going to use half today and the other half is going to “rest” in the fridge, in a plastic bag which you have oiled lightly inside (or spritzed with some cooking spray).
Knead today’s half until it is again nicely shaped and cover it with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Flatten it with your hands and stretch it into an approximate rectangle, doesn’t have to be perfectly shaped. You can use a rolling pin to flatten it even further, you want it to be no more than 1/2 inch thick, a little thinner is okay.
Now brush the dough with half of the melted butter leaving 1 1/2 inches bare on the far side, then spread the filling over it, again leaving about 1 1/2 inches bare at the side opposite the one near you. (If you don’t want to use butter to save calories, just sprits the dough with water – it helps with the sticking together and the rising.)
Now start rolling it up into a cylinder, tightly, tucking in any stray bits of filling that try to escape. Brush or spritz the bare edge with water and finish rolling, pinching the free edge into the dough of the outside.
And it should look like this:
Put the “seam” side down and with a sharp knife, cut the roll into pieces about 1 1/2 inches wide. Like this.
I used a “bench knife” but any sharp, non-serrated, blade will work.
Arranged the segments on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan (I like lots of crust so use a sheet pan or in this case a pizza pan).
Cover with your towel and set the timer for 30 minutes.
When the timer sounds, turn on your oven to 350° F.
Leave the rolls covered for another 10 minutes while the oven is heating.
NOW! Brush the tops with the rest of the melted butter.
And sprinkle with the reserved cinnamon sugar.
Place the pan on the middle rack in the oven and set your timer for 25 minutes.
When the timer sound, turn the oven off but don’t open the door – wait 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, onto a cooling rack and wait about 10 minutes.
Now you can use a spatula to transfer the rolls to the rack, don’t burn yourself on the hot pan or handling the rolls – they will be very hot, especially the sugary stuff.