We’re learning to bake bread at home. Speedy and me, that is. When we were newly married our dream was to put up a bakery called “The Outlaw.” Then, we had two kids, had no time to learn to make bread, he went on to pursue a career in sales and I became a writer after retiring from law practice. Our girls are now in college, we’re both semi-retired and we now have the time to learn to make bread.
Last Sunday, using my old recipe for pan de sal, we made onion bread. No photos, sorry. It’s been so long since I baked bread and I didn’t think it would be successful. It was but, you know, I didn’t bother taking photos. Next time, I will.
A couple of days later, we made cinnamon rolls with peanuts and raisins. It was a breeze. Truth is, if you knead your bread manually, all you really need are strong arms which Speedy has. So, I let him do the kneading. With the work divided, making bread is a wonderful experience. Of course, the best part is having them for our mid-afternoon snack. And midnight snack. And breakfast the following day.
But enough stories. Here’s the recipe.
- 3 c. of all-purpose flour
1 packet of Fleischmann’s rapid rise yeast
1/2 c. of water
1/2 c. of milk, scalded
1/3 c. of sugar
1 tsp. of salt
1/4 c. of vegetable oil
additional flour for dusting
For the filling:
1/2 c. of butter, at room temperature
1/3 c. of dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. of cinnamon powder
1/3 c. of crushed roasted peanuts
1/3 c. of raisins (for best results, soak the raisins in warm water for 10 minutes then drain thoroughly before using)
- Mix the water and milk in a large mixing bowl. Leave until lukewarm.
Sprinkle the yeast. Leave until bubbly, about 10 minutes.
Stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Add half of the mixture to the yeast. Pour in the vegetable oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until the texture appears even. The dough will be very sticky at this point. Add the rest of the flour. Stir until the dough just comes together then dump onto a lightly floured work surface.
Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes or until elastic and no longer sticky. Okay, it takes some practice to be able to tell whether a dough has been sufficiently kneaded. You can actually feel the texture changing as you knead. Just don’t be tempted to keep dusting the work surface with flour thinking that more flour will get the dough to the non-sticky stage. More flour and the dough will turn stiffer. Just keep kneading and you’ll get to the desired stage.
Gather the dough into a ball. Lightly brush a large bowl with vegetable oil. Put the dough in the bowl, turning it every which way so that every part of the surface is coated with oil. Cover the bowl (cling film or a damp towel will do) and leave to rise until double in bulk.
Depending on the temperature and humidity, this can take anywhere from an hour to three hours.
Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the filling.
When the dough has risen sufficiently, punch down then transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a couple of minutes then roll into a log about three inches in diameter. With a rolling pin, flatten the log to form a rectangle. Spread the filling on the entire surface of the flattened dough but keep a one-inch margin to make rolling and tucking easier.
Roll the dough to form a log once more but with the filling inside. When you reach the edge, tuck and pinch the dough from end to end to seal. Take a sharp knife and cut the dough into one-inch slices.
Transfer the slices, cut side down, to a lightly greased and floured baking sheet. Keep a one inch distance between them as they will still expand.
Leave to rise for 30 minutes to an hour.
After the second rising, the dough will have expanded so that there are no spaces left between the rolls.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25 to 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
Take out of the oven. The cinnamon rolls can be eaten as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
If you like extra sweetness and stickiness, you can drizzle caramelized sugar over the cinnamon rolls before serving. Or you can top them with whipped cream. I’m okay without the extras because the rolls were just perfect straight out of the oven. A beautiful amber outside…
… but the bread is soft and creamy white between the layers of filling.
Oh, I’m falling in love with bread baking.
Cooking time (duration): 3 to 5 hours, depending on the rising time of the dough which is affected by humidity
Number of servings (yield): 18 rolls
Meal type: snack