From Scratch, With Love

To the Versatility of Dough

with 2 comments

Here’s to dough, with which you can do a lot. **clink**

A couple weekends ago, when John was at that ridiculous race and I was home alone, happily making four-hour lasagna, I also had the urge to make some dough.  It was 10 pm.  I knew that I would not stay up until 1 am making bread.  I also wasn’t really craving the eating of bread yet, I just wanted to start some dough.  Luckily, you can slow down the rising process of dough by sticking it in the fridge, and it actually improves the results.  So I made some dough (actually, the same dough I used to make those cinnamon raisin baguettes that were so good).  The next morning, I finished the dough.  Part of it went into lovely cinnamon rolls, and the rest were made into dinner rolls.  I was very happy with both results.  Let’s talk about cinnamon rolls today.

As you may guess from my posts, I usually cook for two.  I don’t like to waste.  Many of the things I make a best eaten the day they are made.  As a result, I have gotten very good at division.  Luckily for you, if you have the same issue I have with making small batches of things, this means you don’t have to be very good at division.  You are welcome.  For this dough, I made a half batch of dough (I’m tired of having bread in my freezer forever).  I used a quarter of the dough for the world’s smallest batch of cinnamon rolls.  I got 8 rolls out of the rest of the dough, which went towards snacks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for John, and finally a lovely tomato, basil, mozzarella, prosciutto dinner.  The rolls last about three days, but you can freeze them and defrost them at room temperature overnight, or in the oven.  But this post is about cinnamon rolls.  Which I made up on the spot.  I actually had trouble sleeping the night before, thinking about the cinnamon rolls.  Sad, I know.

Tips for the dough: it’s a soft, slightly sweet dough, so you don’t want too much gluten to form.  That is, don’t overmix or overknead it.  The kneadings in between risings should be just enough to get the carbon dioxide out of the dough.

Andrea’s (Partially) Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls (AKA the World’s Tiniest Batch of Cinnamon Rolls)

For the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1/4 tablespoon active dry yeast with 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 cup of warm milk.  Let sit until frothy, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 egg, and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour.  Stir vigorously and let sit for another 5 minutes.

Gradually stir in more whole wheat flour to form the dough into a thick “batter-like” consistency.

Gently fold in about 3/4 teaspoons salt and 2 tablespoons of canola oil.  Once the oil is blended in, gradually fold in all-purpose white flour until a dough forms that is solid enough to handle. Turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and knead it gently until it holds together and ceases to be lumpy.  Remember, do not knead too much.  Wash the bowl and lightly grease it with canola oil.  Place the ball of dough in the bowl, turning once to coat evenly with oil.

At this point, if it’s night time, or you don’t want the dough for a while, cover it and put it in the fridge.  It will actually be improved by the slow rise.  You’ll want to check it in about an hour because the dough will not chill immediately, and as a result it will still rise.  I recommend giving it a knead right before bed, or it might grow too much overnight.  If you are not giving it a refrigerator rise, cover it with a slightly damn paper towel, and allow to rise in a warm place, until doubled in bulk.

Turn the dough onto your floured work surface and gently knead it until the CO2 that has developed is squished out.  Return it to the bowl.  Repeat.  The dough should rise in the bowl a total of three times.  The second and third risings will not take as long as the first (unless it is in the fridge, of course).

Meanwhile, prepare a muffin tin to receive the cinnamon rolls.  Using butter, crisco, lard, vegetable oil, or nonstick cooking spray, grease about 8 of the 12 tins, or you can try using paper cupcake liners.

After the third rising, do not knead.  Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, divide the dough into fourths.  One of these fourths will become your cinnamon rolls.  The others you can do what you want with (mini baguettes, rolls… you can even try deep-frying them for doughnuts, which I wanted to try but I’m not sure how it would work out).  Roll out the dough for the cinnamon rolls into a rectangle, probably about 4 inches by 8 inches.  Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon and brown sugar, to your liking.  Add some raisins, walnuts, and/or dried cranberries.  Slice about two tablespoons of butter into thin slices, like for toast, and distribute evenly over the dough.  Starting at one of the shorter ends, roll the dough up tightly, like a sleeping bag.  Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, slice the rolled-up dough evenly into 8 rolls.  Place each roll in its own muffin tin.  Let rise once more until the dough is no longer springy to the touch.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes and serve with fresh fruit.  Oh, and freshly made coffee.  You can ice them if you want, but I didn’t.

Oh, while you wait you should probably get the over dough formed in whatever you want them to be and let them rise while the cinnamon rolls are in the oven.  I will try to give you more detailed dough options in the future.

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Written by poperatzii

August 22, 2010 at 11:38 am

2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for sharing! I also cook for two…and I’ve wanted to make cinnamon rolls forever, but so many of the recipes that I have make approximately 8 million. I will save this one!

    newlywed

    August 26, 2010 at 6:34 am

  2. Thanks! I just glanced at your blog and you’re right – that mac n cheese recipe looks delish!

    poperatzii

    August 26, 2010 at 6:37 pm


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