My recipe turned out to basically mirror that of the buttermilk cinnamon bun with the exception of the buttermilk and 2 eggs instead of 3. Here's what I used:
For the Dough:
- 3/4 cup whole milk, heated to 110 degrees
- 1 envelope (2 1/4 teas) rapid-rise yeast or instant yeast
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 7-8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tbs ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1-2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the Glaze:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbs whole milk
- 1 teas vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) confectioners sugar
For the dough: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 100 degrees C. When oven reaches 100 degrees C, shut off. Line 13×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over pan edges.
Whisk milk and yeast in liquid measuring cup until yeast dissolves, then whisk in eggs and melted butter (I did this, but since the yeast is rapid rise, it doesn't require to be reconstituted in a warm liquid. Next time I'll mix the yeast in with the dry ingredients and just whisk the milk, eggs and melted butter).
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour, sugar and salt until combined (again, will add yeast here next time). With mixer on low, add warm milk mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium* and continue to mix until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 10 minutes. Turn dough out onto clean surface and knead to form smooth, round ball. Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
*NOTE: I have a kitchen aid mixer - 6qt bowl, 475 watts, epicurean model; the user manual clearly states that the ONLY speed the dough hook should be used on is 2. I blew the gear previously when I tried making dough and was using a speed greater than 2. This time I disregarded the manual (again!) and turned the speed up to 4. I'm pretty sure I wore the gear considerably as I noticed some metal shavings on the top of the dough hook where the hook attaches. I will NEVER again put the mixer on a speed higher than 2 with the bread hook. So then, when directions say 'medium' speed for using a dough hook, and you have a kitchen aid, I highly suggest you disregard this instruction and stick with speed 2 if you don't want to have to replace your gear.
For the Filling: Melt 1-2 tbsp of butter. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
Forming the cinnamon buns: (shamelessly stolen from http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/bake-it-better/2012/04/secrets-to-beautiful-cinnamon-rolls/)
STEP #1 Form the risen dough into a rectangle: Working on a lightly floured counter, press the dough into a 16 by 12-inch rectangle with the long side facing you. Be sure to use a ruler as it is important to get the rectangle the right size or you will not end up with the right number of rolls or rolls that are the right size. Brush the dough with melted butter.
STEP #2 Add the filling and leave a border: Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough leaving a ¾-inch border along the top edge. If you don’t leave a border, it will be harder to get the dough to stick together when you form a cylinder and it may unroll. Press the filling to adhere it to the dough.
STEP #3 Form a tidy, even cylinder: Form a tidy, even cylinder: Carefully roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Do this slowly and with great care since an uneven cylinder will yield squat, misshapen rolls.
STEP #4 Seal the dough cylinder tightly: Once the dough is rolled tightly, pinch the dough together to close the cylinder and create a secure seam. Roll the cylinder over so that it is seam-side down.
STEP #5 Stretch and measure: Gently stretch the cylinder until it is 18 inches long with an even diameter. You may have to work with the cylinder a few times, stretching and patting the ends until it is exactly the right length. Pat the ends of the cylinder when you are done to even them.
STEP #6 Slice and arrange: Use a serrated knife to slice the cylinder into 12 evenly sized rolls. If you try to use any other sort of knife you will mash the soft dough. The rolls are fragile, so use a light hand and arrange them cut-side down in a greased 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan (I used baking parchment paper in place of greasing the pan).
What mine looked like after being cut:
What mine looked like just prior to baking (after letting them rise for 1 1/2 hrs).
For the Glaze and to Bake: Heat oven to 350 F/175C degrees.
Beat cream cheese, milk vanilla and confectioners’ sugar in medium bowl until smooth.
Bake buns until deep golden brown and filling is melted, 25 to 30 minutes.
Mine, just out of the oven:
Mine, just out of the oven and immediately brushed w/ 1/2 c glaze:
Using paper overhang, lift buns from pan and top with remaining glaze. Serve.
The dough: The dough for these buns was easy to make and came out beautiful! What a joy to finally make a good dough :). I definitely prefer rapid rise yeast to that of regular yeast, thus omitting the water step.
The buns: Preparing the buns was also quite simple and the instructions I found on americastestkitchenfeed.com were incredibly helpful. These would be quite easy and quick to make if it weren't for all the time required for the dough to rise (obviously). I did come across some non yeast cinnamon bun recipes and am curious to give those a whirl, solely in an effort to reduce the overall time to make buns. We shall see ;).
The final product: In the end I thought the buns were a little dry. I can't tell if it's because I mistakenly may have dried them out prior to baking (I removed the plastic wrap after taking the buns out of the refrigerator prior to warming them in the oven for their final rise before baking), if the oven was a bit too hot (175C, but it is a fan oven, so maybe I should have dropped it to 150-160), or that 3rd egg really would have made a difference ;). I don't think they were baked too long, but that's also a possibility. Nevertheless, they were delicious and I'm not all that disappointed with this experience given that the overall prep time wasn't long at all.
I think the next batch will be made with the buttermilk cinnamon bun recipe (i.e. I will have buttermilk on hand and will have the required 3 eggs ;). I will most likely refrigerate the dough overnight again solely based on time, and I will remember to keep the plastic wrap on for the final rise prior to baking. I will also reduce the oven temp slightly to around 155C-160C and check on them around 20 minutes.