I know what you are thinking: “Why would anyone make homemade cinnamon buns when Pillsbury makes the process delicously simple?” Well I am here to encouragingly proclaim that homemade cinnamon buns are SO much better! Yes, their creation takes more time, but you can offset the extra time investment by making and freezing a large batch for later enjoyment.
Some say cinnamon buns have Swedish (like sweetish) origins. In Sweden, these buns are known as Kanelbulle. Roots aside, Europe’s buns are much better than North America’s, in my opinion, because surprisingly they are not as sticky sweet. A traditional Swedish cinnamon bun uses the spice cardamom, so feel free to add this to the below recipe if you wish.
I learned how to make these spendid treats at my 1st class for Artisan Breads at George Brown College. The Chef had several superb tips and baking secrets for creating the perfect cinnamon bun. So pay attention and I promise you will be definitely pleased.
800g water (slightly warm)
60g fresh yeast
1250g bread flour
80g white sugar
80g milk powder
3 large eggs
450g unsalted butter- at room temperature
800g brown sugar
400g icing sugar-sifted
150g whipping cream
Instructions for BUNS
1) place yeast and water in large bowl of stand mixer and mix with hands until combined
2) in a separate bowl add flour, white sugar, milk powder and salt and stir until combined
3) in small bowl add eggs and oil and whisk till just combined
4) add flour mixture to yeast mixture and then add egg mixture on top
5) with dough hook mix on speed 2 for 1 minute and then scrape down sides
6) continue to mix on speed 2 for 3 more minutes
7) sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour on sides of bowl and on top of dough and mix on speed 4 for 6 minutes
8) place dough on floured surface and knead until you have a smooth ball- do not overwork the dough(should have no seam on top)
9) sprinkle a little flour on top of dough and cover with plastic or bowl and let rest for 40minutes
NOTE: after 10 min you should see dough starting to rise and be slightly warm to touch- IF not try the below test
– pull apart a small piece of the dough and roll into ball- drop in a glass of water, if dough rises you are in good shape if dough stays on bottom-unfortunately you had a yeast malfunction and you will have to start over
10) divide dough into 3 equal portions and shape again into smooth ball and cover with plastic and let rise for another 15minutes
While dough is resting prepare filling
Here is where the big tip for these buns appeared. I have looked at many recipes for cinnamon buns or even rolled pastry with cinnamon in the centre. Almost every recipe calls for melting the butter and spreading it on, or softening the butter and then spreading it, followed by a cinnamon and/or sugar sprinkling on top of the butter application. This recipe I am sharing is brilliant because all of the ingredients are evenly mixed, so you get a very consistent blend throughout the bun. Also whenever you add sugar on top of butter there is a chance that the sugar will react with the yeast and buns may not rise properly. This recipe avoids that potential mishap.
– in stand mixer add cubed butter, brown sugar and cinnamon with paddle attachment beat until smooth consistency – about 10min/must be smooth and spreadable
11) on floured surface pound down dough lightly to release some of the gas and roughly shape into a rectangle
12) with rolling-pin roll up and down then turn dough and roll up and down- continue until you have a large rectangle shape and about 1/4 inch thick
NOTE- if dough is not behaving and it is continuing to retract cover again with plastic and let rest for 3-4minutes
13) smear 1/3 of butter mixture on the dough in a thin layer as close to sides as possible
14) roll up dough starting at long side/NOTE secret to perfect buns is to not roll the dough tight just roll gently to form a log spiraled with filling
15) cut off ends- if you want you can chop them into small pieces and place on bottom of pan
16) cut dough into 9 equal pieces
17) place pieces cut side up in pan side by side
18) let buns rest for 15min in pan
Preheat oven to 350F
19) bake buns until internal temperature is at 88 -about 35-40min
– cool pan on wire rack
While buns are baking mix icing
– shift icing sugar
– place in large bowl and add cream and vanilla and whisk until combined
– icing should be pourable stage/can add more cream if needed
When buns are cooled but still slightly warm drizzle as much icing over top as you like
What I most liked about these cinnamon buns was the actual bread portion. While other buns can be very soggy or doughy, this recipe makes the bread beautifully nice and crispy. Also cinnamon buns are often too sweet and heavy to fully enjoy. These were the perfect ratio of sugar to spice, all rolled into a lovely tender soft bread.
This recipe is just your launch point for cinnamon bun creativity. Your additive options are truly endless, so do not be afraid to experiment a bit. You can sprinkle dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate on top of your butter mixture for an added treat. At Christmas, I made cinnamon buns with some added orange zest, bittersweet chocolate and pistachio nuts. This ingredient tri-fecta was sure a winning combination.