BBA Challenge (Week 8): Cinnamon Buns

Bread Baking, Breakfast & Brunch, Food, Recipes


There are some words in the English language that elicit laughter.

There are words like “Uranus” with slang definitions that translate into bouts of immature giggles when said out loud, particularly when uttered in a room full of seventh graders or college frat boys.

There are also words like “organism” that I always feared I would trip over in high school biology, tentative to say it out loud in case I subconsciously omitted the “ni.”

There are words that I’m completely comfortable saying out loud but dislike typing, such as “public.” One too few taps on the keyboard and your “public knowledge” is not-so-public, if you know what I mean.

There are also silly words. “Wiener” is one that comes to mind. Though you might be tempted to laugh at the idea of a 15-foot long wiener, there are some silly-sounding words that are actually not so funny….

…such as the word ‘buns.

Some buns are no laughing matter because they are just so good.

This week’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge was a good one. I make no secret of the fact that Dessert is my favorite food group so it seems fairly natural that as we bake bread after bread…after bread, I would eventually start Jones-ing for something sweet and cake-like.

Made with shortening and buttermilk (Light buttermilk! Low-fat! Healthy cinnamon rolls! What? Yeah, I know. Not a chance), my dough for these was moist and pliable and did everything the way it was supposed to – from rising, to shaping, to tasting straight up delicious.

And if you don’t believe me, ask some of my coworkers. They can vouch.

Now, I know the golden BBA rule is that we aren’t supposed to post recipes. I have as much respect for Peter Reinhart as the next person and I truly don’t want to be a BBA Challenge delinquent.

So I decided to find a so-close-it’s-a-fraternal-twin version of the recipe for Peter Reinhart’s cinnamon rolls over on an awesome food blog called Ezra Pound Cake. After you make these, you can decide if you want to buy the book or not.

Peter Reinhart's Cinnamon Buns
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 large rolls
  • 6½ tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5½ tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or zest
  • 3½ cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (.22 ounce) instant yeast
  • 1⅛ to 1¼ cups (9 to 10 ounces) whole milk or buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) cinnamon sugar
  • (6½ tablespoon granulated sugar plus 1½ tablespoons cinnamon)
  1. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, salt and shortening on medium-high speed. Whip in the egg and lemon extract until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook, and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough is tacky but not sticky. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to cover it with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
  2. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
  3. Mist the counter with spray oil, and transfer the dough to the counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top of the dough with flour. Roll it into a rectangle about ⅔ inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough, and roll the dough up into a log, creating a spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 even pieces, each about 1¾ inches thick for larger buns; or 12 to 16 pieces each 1¼ inch thick for smaller buns.
  4. Line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately ½ inch apart.
  5. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
  7. Bake the buns for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then glaze the tops. Remove the buns from the pans, and place them on a cooling rack. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

Cinnamon Bun Glaze (via Bon Apetit)

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Spread glaze on rolls.

These were some nice buns.


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  • Reply
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    […] I have a category devoted to breakfast in my recipe index but those are mostly treat-breakfasts: homemade cinnamon buns, brioche brunch sandwiches and raspberry breakfast cake. Not typical grab-and-go fare and even […]

  • Reply
    July 19, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I like your introductions on difficult words. For me, having to learn English as a second language, kitchen and chicken are the hard words, I always switch them, even after living in the Stated for 17 years!
    Great job on the rolls, they look so tasty.

  • Reply
    July 12, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Wow,…these look just perfect for a great indulgence!! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,….!!!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Oh, yum. Those buns are definitely no laughing matter. I’ve never made homemade ones before, and these look easy and tasty and wonderful!

  • Reply
    July 10, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    those are the most perfect looking buns I have ever seen! haha, I couldn’t resist.
    one more:
    I wanna take a bite out of those buns.
    but seriously, those look down-right delicious!!

  • Reply
    lisa (dandysugar)
    July 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    These look absolutely fantastic, I love cinnamon rolls. They always bring back fun childhood memories for me. Of course, back then it was the pillsbury dough packages. But I loved them even so! Gorgeous buns! 😉

  • Reply
    July 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Cinnamon buns are my one weakness. There’s nothing better than a warm cinnamon roll in the morning!

  • Reply
    Nutmeg Nanny
    July 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Oh wow these look fantastic. I love cinnamon buns!!!

  • Reply
    July 10, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Oh wow! Those look decadent!

  • Reply
    July 10, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Truly scrumptious! They would last less than a minute in my home. Grand photos! And I love the “word play!”

  • Reply
    July 10, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Love your newly redesigned site. Your buns look delicious. I have now made them 3 times and am (sadly) addicted. My favourite are the sticky buns as I am a lover of all things caramel!! Thanks for sharing your funny insight into words. English is a wierd and wonderful language.

  • Reply
    July 10, 2009 at 5:14 am

    Gorgeous! They look as good as they are delicious. I made these twice, too. They’re WAY too good!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try this one, I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    These look divine. I just made some cinnamon rolls myself and they don’t look nearly this good. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Weiner was like my all-time favorite word.
    you know, before I was allowed to curse.

  • Reply
    Jenn @ Pete Eatemall
    July 9, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I made sticky buns with orange, cherries and pecans. Loved em! will make again soon! I am glad I gave the last one away today!! Yours look sinful…Happy baking!

  • Reply
    Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    July 9, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Not sure I have the strength to make these buns and give them away — which makes them tempting but oh so dangerous! I can just imagine how wonderful the aroma is, too.

  • Reply
    Daryl Callahan
    July 9, 2009 at 11:20 am

    I love love the title. You are an amazing writer

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 10:36 am

    wow, those are downright gorgeous!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 10:32 am

    if i had to name my favorite breakfast treat, it’d have to be cinnamon buns. not the stale, days-old imposters found in cafes, but the freshly homemade ones like the ones you’ve displayed here. i’d stand in pub(l)ic and say every funny, easily-perverted word known to man to earn one or four of those beauties. gorgeous work, maris!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Sounds like a wonderful challenge. I can tell from the photos how delicious they are.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 10:17 am

    I haven’t had a cinnamon bun in ages but those look oh so decadent! YUM!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 7:27 am

    HAHA!! You’re so right on ALL those words 😉
    Mmm, cinnamon buns – classic indulgence!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 5:05 am

    What beautiful BUNS you have. :o)
    Great job.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Thanks for sharing the recipe for these. I have a go to recipe that I usually use for these but its fun to try new ones too!

  • Reply
    July 9, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Oh my goodness, this is a piece of heaven right here. I absolutely love cinnamon rolls and would easily forgo any health food kick I might be on to happily munch one of these. Lovely photos too.

  • Reply
    Haley J.
    July 9, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Those look delicious. I really enjoyed mine – what a great challenge! I needed to satisfy the sweet tooth.

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