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“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life” – Lemony Snicket
Today, June 2, 2017, is National Doughnut Day here in the United States. Instead of going out and buying myself a doughnut with goodness knows what kind of bad ingredients, I planned on making my own doughnuts.
Then, I looked at the recipes I still had to make for this cook through.
Cinnamon Rolls and Doughnuts kind of go hand in hand… right?
This was an even more perfect choice because, being Friday, I had finished with class for the week. What better way to start a weekend than with making cinnamon rolls?
Before I get too much into this post, I should start by sharing a little background story. All my life growing up, my family and never made our cinnamon rolls. We always bought my favourite, Pillsbury Dough Boy’s cinnamon rolls. Even to this day. Besides that, I have had cinnamon rolls from a bakery here or there, but that’s about it.
The only other time I had ever made cinnamon rolls from scratch was when I made them for this year’s mother’s day. I followed this recipe here. They were pretty darn good, but definitely could have used a little more filling.
So, let’s see how Jenny Colgan’s turned out against the others!
I woke up later than usual. Normally I like waking up around 7:00 AM or so, but I slept in. That was a bit of a mistake knowing that I had to make these rolls which I knew had to sit and proof for quite some time.
There was another mistake that occurred during the production of these mouthwatering rolls, that being that during the process I actually ran out of flour.
How on Earth did I, Annie Tritchonis, run out of flour?
I really don’t know. So I just threw in some whole wheat flour. But let’s not tell that to my family who ate it, okay?
Anyways, I continued on and let the dough proof for an hour. The next step was to make the filling, which called for softened butter. I believe I softened it a bit too much, because after spreading and rolling the dough into it’s delicious little swirls, there was cinnamon sugar filling oozing from both ends of the log. I had to work fast and section and cut the dough before too much filling trickled out, so the rolls themselves were not quite even.
But who wants perfectly round rolls anyways? I’m always one who likes things that look a little more obscure than normal!
So let’s recap: I woke up late, which thus made me cut for time, meaning I did not proof the dough as much as I should have. I ran out of flour. My softened butter was completely melted. The cinnamon sugar filling was dripping out of the ends. All cinnamon rolls were uneven in both size and shape. Oh, and on top of that… I had to throw them back in the oven at a higher temperature for a good 15 extra minutes. The small cinnamon roll I had tasted fine, but the larger ones were definitely not cooked.
So. There was a lot that went wrong during this process, yet somehow I still made cinnamon rolls that tasted delectable!
You can see that some of the rolls are huge while others aren’t. So what? They’re a special and super tasty.
I have to say that of the four items I’ve made for this challenge, this was the most fun. Nothing has trumped the bread yet in taste, but this is still the one that I learned the most from, and beat the most challenges with!
That’s something that I really want from competing in these personal challenges. I want to be able to learn things through every process. So far, I feel I’ve definitely learned a lesson with each goodie that I’ve made. This one? Give yourself time to focus, and make sure you have all the ingredients!
Definitely going to make these again.
So, let’s talk price. To make these, it cost $6.32 to make this recipe. That means that one cinnamon roll is equal to around $.70
Compare that to:
– Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls: $2.69 ($.33 per roll)
– Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls: $5.49 ($1.10 per roll)
– Bakery Cinnamon Roll (single): $4.00
So comparing it to Pillsbury, the best cinnamon rolls in the world, you can see that the price really differs. Their regular, small cinnamon rolls (the ones I always eat) are much more cost efficient. But if you want to “go grand” and get their larger cinnamon rolls, then you actually would spend more money than if you were to make them yourself! And then you have the price from a bakery. $4.00 for one roll. Kinda crazy, but they need to be able to pay the bakers, and rent, and electric somehow… right?
All in all, I would definitely make these again. The quality is better than your generic cinnamon rolls and they do not contain any ingredients that I cannot pronounce. Seriously. Who wants dextrose and palm and soybean oil to be in the top five ingredients? Not me. But I’ll talk about my dislike of palm oil some other day…
I still will definitely splurge on a bakery cinnamon roll, though. Those things are ace.
Discussion Question of the day:
For Polly, making bread is almost therapeutic. Do you have an activity in your life that helps you work through your problems?
Oh, most definitely! My favourite thing in the world is to cook and bake, which are both really stress relieving. Unfortunately, I can’t do that all the time. The way that best relieves my anxiety is to make lists. It gets my mind off of whatever I’m doing while filling it with creative ideas! Some days I create lists on pinterest, while other days I create list on goodreads. I’ve even started a bullet journal that I happen to be filling with lists as well! Creating lists really gets my mind off of whatever is bothering me and gets me excited for the future.
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The smell of fresh bread baking in the early hours of a spring morning is one of the most comforting smells. I woke up early this morning with the intentions of starting the first recipe of this challenge– Easiest White Bread– at 7:00 am… but didn’t start until around 9:00. That’s fine, no problem.
Jenny Colgan begins this recipe explaining that it’s great to try on a lazy Sunday, but I decided that I’m going to bake it on this lazy(ish) Saturday instead. She also explains that it’s an incredibly easy bread, and perfect for beginners.
Easiest bread I can ever make? Challenge accepted.
The first step made me curious… Her recipe explains to heat the bread flour in the microwave for about a minute. Heat the flour? Why?
I had to do some research for myself. I absolutely love learning food science-y things, and this was giving me an opportunity to do just that! Unfortunately, my first searches lead to dead ends. I couldn’t find much about why it’s good to heat the flour, but I found reasons as to why it’s good to toast flour… Toasting flour adds a nutty flavour to breads and pastas when used. Not only that, but it gives the bread a darker colour. I definitely think I’ll try this next time I make bread, just to see how it differs in taste and look!
I was still stumped, and really wanted to know the reason for warming the flour! I reached out to multiple social media sites to see if anyone had any idea what the purpose of warm water is. A woman named Debra reached back out to me:
“I’ve heard of it but not in a long time. Depending on where the flour was stored, it might be very cold. Warming it would keep the dough temperature even and not slow down the yeast or starter. You want to be careful that the temperature has fallen to under 90 before adding to your other ingredients so it doesn’t kill the yeast.”
That, being the only response I received, was enough of a reason for me!
So after letting the dough proof, I wasn’t sure which kind of loaf pan to use. I have multiple loaf pan sizes, and even have some aluminum round ones that would fit the entire loaf, but I decided to try out two different sizes of loaf pans to see which one works best with this amount of dough. Popped it in the oven, and not even ten minutes after it was in there I could already smell the yeasty scent I’ve been anxiously awaiting all morning!
After anxiously waiting around 25 minutes… voila! My loaves of fresh white bread.
I have to say that this bread was absolutely amazing. Like, seriously. Amaze-balls. I just need to work on my rolling technique (you can see that the top is super crinkly and not smooth) but besides that I believe it came out quite well! I definitely also came to the conclusion that the smaller of the two loaf pans worked better.
Other loaf has made its way into the freezer fearing the warm weather and incredible amounts of bread I have at home, but I’m not sure it’s going to need to be in there long… The bread hasn’t even been out for 12 hours and it’s already almost gone!
Added Sunday, May 21st:
So, is this affordable to make?
Based on the ingredients I used at home:
- King Arthur Flour: 1.53
- Yeast: 31
- Domino Sugar: .01
- Morton Salt: .02
Total Price: It cost $1.87 to bake my own bread. Bread I can find in the store normally costs. Not only that, but I got two loaves of bread out of this recipe. That means each cost only $.94 to make.
- I usually purchase Arnold, Country Classic White: $3.39. A longish list of ingredients.
- Wonder Classic White Bread: $3.38. On their list of ingredients is high fructose corn syrup…? Who needs that?
Definitely worth making for both health reasons and the price. I’ll take this high quality, low cost bread over store bought bread any day.
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