Category: breakfast club

Knishes filled with smashed red potatoes, caramelized onions and sharp cheddar

Knish with red potatoes, caramelized onions and cheddarAs 2013 draws to a close, I present my final Breakfast Club pastry of the year: the simple, yet delicious, knish. I first heard about them back in 1999 when I was moving from Virginia to Upstate NY. Fun fact: When you say “I’m moving to NY” almost all people assume it’s NYC. Not the rest of the state (and there’s a lot there). So when I told my friend, who had family in NYC, he waxed poetic about the most amazing knishes he used to get and how he missed them. I had no idea what he was talking about, but somehow it stuck with me, and I’m glad it did.

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Now, let’s have a little history about these tasty noshes. According to Wikipedia,

Eastern European immigrants who arrived sometime around 1900 brought knishes to North America. Knish is a Yiddish word that was derived from the Ukrainian or Russian “knysh” meaning dumpling or cake. The first knish bakery in America was founded in New York in 1910. Generally recognized as a food made popular in New York by immigrants in the early 1900s, the United States underwent a knish renaissance in the 2000s driven by knish specialty establishments.

Ok, but what IS a knish? It’s a filling wrapped in a dough that is either baked, deep fried or grilled. The traditional filling usually consists of potatoes, onions, ground meat, cheese, etc. But the beauty of these babies is you can fill them with just about anything. Thanksgiving leftovers? Mix together some turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a touch of gravy and your golden. Have too many items from the deli and not enough interest in making sandwiches? Use it as a knish filling. It’s amaaaaaazing.

For these knishes I lightly adapted Joe Pastry’s traditional knish dough recipe, then followed his assembly instructions step-by-step (and you should do the same, since the photo tutorial is wonderfully helpful. And Joe Pastry is just kind of amazing).

Knish

Now, the one thing I need to change when making these next time (and there will totally be a next time), is that I need to not overfill them. When you do that, they pop open and leak their filling, and I have a fair bit of those (kinda like the one above, though it’s not too bad).

So hop to it! Make some knishes and settle into a wonderful, savory little bit of breakfast.

Knishes filled with smashed red potatoes, caramelized onions and sharp cheddar

Yields: 12-15 knishes

  • Knish Dough Ingredients
  • 12 oz flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • Filling Ingredients
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds red potatoes, quartered (do not peel)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp water
  • Kosher or any other flaky salt for sprinkling

Make the filling first, preferably 1-2 nights before you settle in to making the dough and assembling the knishes.

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter is melted, add the diced onions and stir to coat. Spread the onions out in the pan and turn the heat down to low.

Check the onions every 20 minutes or so, giving them a little stir as they caramelize. Do not be tempted to turn the heat up—you must be patient. The onions should be caramelized between 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your stovetop. If it takes longer, that's ok ... slow and low will give your onions a wonderful rich flavor.

Once the onions are about halfway through their cooking time, start on the potatoes.

Place the potatoes in a stock pot with cold water, enough to cover them, plus about an inch. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then turn it down the medium-high, cooking the potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes).

Once the potatoes are done, drain them and then mash them. If you don't like your potatoes too lumpy, use a hand mixer for a couple minutes to smooth out the texture.

Sprinkle in the salt and pepper, stirring to combine. Add the cheese and the caramelized onions to the potatoes as well, and sample to see if you need a touch more salt.

The filling can be refrigerated for 1-2 days. If you intend to use it the same day you plan on baking the knishes, let it cool down to room temperature.

For the dough, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in your mixing bowl, whisking gently to combine.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg, water, vinegar and oil.

Stir to combine (or if you're using a standmixer, fit it with the beater blade and mix until combined). The dough might be a bit shaggy and sticky, and that's fine.

Knead the dough for a few minutes, either by hand or with the dough hook. The dough will come together nicely, though it will be a little sticky.

Place it in a bowl and cover it, letting it rest for 1 hour, or refrigerate it up to 3 days.

When you're ready to assemble the knishes, first spread your work space with plenty of flour (and keep more on hand). Divide the dough in half, and begin rolling it out into a rectangle. Roll the dough out as thinly as you can, without tearing it.

Once you're satisfied with the shape and thinness of the dough, trim off any uneven edges.

On the edge closest to you, about half the filling about an inch up, and at least a 1/2-inch in from both sides, patting it into a tube that should be about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.

Pull the edge of the dough up and over the filling, and then roll it gently for 2 revolutions (you'll have 2 layers of dough around the filling). Trim off any excess dough from the far edge and place it back in the bowl with the remaining dough.

Gently pinch off the ends and measure out 3-inch sections. At each section, pinch and twist the dough (like making a sausage). Make a cut at each of these pinches.

Take the knish and make sure each end is well pinched together. Place the knish on the work table so that it's sitting upright on one of the end, and with the heel of your hand gently flatten it down to about 2 inches high, making it adorably squat.

On the top, dimple in the top pinched section with your finger. Repeat with the remaining knishes, and then repeat the entire process with the rest of the dough and filling (you may have a bit extra of both).

You can either refrigerate the assembled knishes for a day, or bake them after assembly.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat the egg and water together to make an egg wash.

Place the knishes on baking pans lined with parchment paper or baking silicone, about 1-2 inches apart.

Use the egg wash on each knish, brushing just a bit on. Sprinkle with salt.

Bake for a total of 45 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through.

Once finished baking (and yes, some might burst open depending on how full your filled them or how tightly you rolled them), cool for 10-15 minutes. These are best eaten fresh, but will warm up nicely.

Apple butter twirls

Apple butter twirls

It’s been awhile, but Breakfast Club is back! And after finding some inspiration via Pinterest with Cakecrumbs’ cinnamon knots, I decided to replicate the pretty manipulation of the pastry, but using one of my preferred dough recipes. Unfortunately, my execution fell flat.

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I selected the Chinese 5 Spice cinnamon bun dough recipe (adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart), and used some of the apple butter I recently made and stashed in the fridge (that’s what you do when you have too many apples laying around … make fruit butter!). I followed Cakecrumbs’ instructions for slashing the dough and forming the knots …  and had a mess on my hands.

Maybe it was the apple butter. Maybe it was my dough, which didn’t want to play nicely. But after poorly shaping my “knots” into clumps on the parchment, I decided to make the rest as just twirls (no knotting).

Apple butter twirl single

Though I baked up both, I much prefer the look of the twirls, and the execution is very easy. The dough baked up a gorgeous golden color, partly in thanks to my vanilla egg white wash, and I couldn’t resist using some coarse sugar for sprinkling. These are best warm, so if you’re eating them the morning after baking, warm them up in the microwave for 15 seconds … your taste buds will thank you!

Apple butter twirls

Yields: 20 twirls

  • Knot Ingredients
  • 6 1/2 oz (13 tbsp) sugar
  • 1/2 oz (2 tsp) salt
  • 5 1/2 oz (11 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten and at room temperature
  • 32 oz (7 cups) bread flour, plus an additional 8-12 tbsp, depending on humidity
  • 1/2 oz (4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 18 oz (2 cups) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Apple butter (1 tsp per twirl)
  • Glaze Ingredients
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Coarse sugar

Cream the butter and sugar for 2 minutes on medium high in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Scrape down the bowl.

Add the eggs and mix until smooth.

Scrape down the bowl again.

Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a separate bowl, stirring gently to combine.

Add the dry ingredients, 1 large spoonful at a time.

The mixture will look mealy, but that's okay.

Pour the milk in a steady steam into the bowl and you continue to mix. Add the vanilla.

Mix on low until the dough begins to form a ball. If it seems too sticky, gradually add the additional flour until all the dough pulls away from the bowl.

Remove the mixer's blade and put on the dough hook. Knead with the dough hook for 8-10 minutes until the dough is supple and a little tacky, but not sticky.

Lightly oil 2 mixing bowls (I used a canola spray) and divide the dough into 2 balls. Place one in each bowl and roll it around to coat with the oil.

Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and place them in a slightly warm spot. Let them sit, undisturbed, for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

After 2 hours, punch the dough down and prepare your work space to form the twirls.

Divide the dough in two. Roll each portion into a torpedo-like shape and divide evenly into 10, for a grand total of 20.

Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough portion into an oval.

Spread 1 tsp of apple butter onto the dough, spreading it out with a spatula.

Using a sharp knife, slice the dough lengthwise, making long strips, but leave the edge farthest away from you intact.

Begin with the intact end and roll it up on an angle, making a mini torpedo. Pinch down the ends and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Repeat with the other remaining dough pieces.

Proof the knots at room temperature for 60-75 minutes in a warm spot, or until they've have nearly doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, centering the racks in the oven.

Make the glaze by whisking the egg whites and vanilla together. Brush onto the twirls, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Cool on a rack before storing. These are excellent fresh from the oven, but if you need to store them, simply toast them in a toaster oven for a minute or two before serving, or warm them in a microwave for 15 seconds.

Kolaches with sweet cream cheese filling and crystallized ginger streusel

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It’s time for breakfast with the Breakfast Club! I’ve been searching the Internet and my various cookbooks for new and interesting breakfast pastry ideas, and funny enough, I can find inspiration in the most unusual (sometimes) places.

I first learned about kolaches after reading Sarah Becan’s fantastic webcomic, I Think You’re Sauceome. She has a family recipe for kolaches, which her sister makes and Sarah illustrated. I tried Sarah’s family’s recipe back in early April, but didn’t have the best results, so I kept looking. And then I found Joe Pastry.

Kolaches with sweet cream cheese filling and crystallized ginger streusel

Joe’s website is pretty intense, but I tried his kolache/kolacky recipe and was pleased with the initial results. He didn’t provide a yield with his recipe, so when I tested, I cut the recipe in half and found that it made 12 small kolaches. Since I wanted something bigger, I knew that the halved recipe would make 6 large kolaches, so his original would make 12. Perfect!

I adapted his recipe and tweaked the seasoning just a bit, adding my favorite cardamom to the mix, and found that crystallized ginger in streusel is AWESOME.  Overall, this is a breakfast pastry keeper.

Oh wait, don’t know what a kolache is? According to Wikipedia:

Kolache (also spelled kolace, kolach, or kolacky is a type of pastry that holds a dollop of fruit rimmed by a puffy pillow of supple dough. Originating as a semisweet wedding dessert from Central Europe, they have become popular in parts of the United States.

I’ve read that the sweet cream cheese filling, which I used, is a pretty standard option in the US, and there is also a traditional poppyseed filling that I’m interested in trying once I get more poppyseeds.

Some people describe the pastry like a Danish, but less buttery and flakey. I describe it as a divine breakfast roll filled and topped with goodness!

Do you have a family kolache recipe? How does this one measure up? Or is there a favorite spot you go to pick them up? Let me know … I’m curious!

And if you ever have a suggestion for a breakfast pastry for me to try out, leave me a comment or send me an email!

Kolaches with sweet cream cheese filling and crystallized ginger streusel

Yields: 12 kolaches

  • Kolache Ingredients
  • 4 1/4 cups (1 lb. 5.25 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 oz) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz) warm milk (20-30 seconds in the microwave will do the trick)
  • 6 tbsp (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 egg yolks (set egg whites aside to brush the pastries later)
  • Sweet Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Crystallized Ginger Streusel Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz crystallized ginger, minced finely

For the kolaches, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and yeast) in a bowl, whisking to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standmixer, combine the milk and butter, beating with the paddle attachment to combine. Add the eggs and continue to mix so that the eggs don't cook.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined, scraping down as necessary.

Remove the paddle attachment and switch over to the dough hook. Knead for 7 minutes, pushing to dough down and off the dough hook as necessary.

Lightly oil another mixing bowl and place the dough in it, rolling it around to coat with oil. Cover lightly with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Set aside some place slightly warm (avoid anyplace too drafty) to rise and double in size.

The dough will take approximately 1-2 hours to rise, depending on your yeast and the area you keep the dough.

Once the rise is complete, divide the dough into 12 equal balls, each weighing approximately 3 oz. Roll them on a lightly oiled surface with one hand, smoothing the surface.

Place the balls onto a pan either lined with parchment or baker's silicone. Set aside to rise again for 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and adjust oven racks toward the center.

While the dough balls are rising, make the sweet cream cheese filling and streusel topping.

For the filling, combine all the ingredients into a bowl and stir well to combine. Set aside.

For the streusel, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or your hands, work the streusel into a crumbly topping ... nothing should be bigger than a pea. Set aside

Once the dough balls finish the 20-minute rise, make an indentation with your finger, pressing down and out. Fill with approximately 2 tbsp of sweet cream cheese filling.

Set the filled kolaches aside to rise for another 15 minutes.

After the final rise, brush the kolaches with the reserved egg whites and top with streusel.

Place the kolaches in the oven for 10 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another 10 minutes until the kolaches are golden (20 minutes total).

Let the kolaches cool slightly before serving.

Cranberry almond scones with lemon curd

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It’s April and Breakfast Club is back! These scones are an absolute delight. They’re easy to prepare in advance (always a HUGE plus), and if you make extras, you can keep them in the freezer for an easy breakfast when you’re busy.

Better yet? This recipe can be customized to include almost ANY fruit. Prefer blueberries? Sub them in (though I think those you could keep whole … since they’re smaller). Hate fruit? (What’s WRONG WITH YOU??!) Well, then use chocolate chips. And you can sub out almond extract for vanilla, or any other extract you might like.

Cranberry almond scones with lemon curd

And lemon curd? It’s a delight. One of my taste testers, unfamiliar with curd, asked me to describe it. I said it was citrus’ counterpart to berry jam, and it’s smooth and silky like a pudding, but much, much lighter. And it’s simply wonderful.

I must confess though, there are 2 things slightly not perfect with the scones I made (the recipes are correct, I assure you). First, I forgot to brush the scones with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. This didn’t really affect anything, except they didn’t get quite as brown (not a big deal). My second oops, which I now realize after reading the wonderful Marisa’s Food in Jars, is that I was not supposed to whisk the curd for 12-15 minutes, I should have been stirring it (whisking aerates the curd). This doesn’t affect the flavor, but my curd definitely has a light and airy appearance, unlike the perfectly creamy appearance it should have (my recipe instructions below instruct you to stir after the initial whisking of ingredients, so you’re all set.)

This is what happens when you have a pastry order, 2 sets of cookies you’re giving as gifts, and a cake order going out all the same week (and actually 3 of them go out TODAY!).

Now, when you pair these scones and the lemon curd together, you get the perfect mix of sweet and tart. And the scone’s crumb is truly delightful (you can thank the butter for that). What are you waiting for? Make this NOW!!!

Cranberry almond scones with lemon curd

Yields: 8 scones and approximately 1 pint of lemon curd

  • Cranberry Almond Scones Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups (10 5/8 ounces) all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 cups frozen cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing on tops of scones
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Coarse sugar
  • Lemon Curd Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 3/8 cup (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, cubed

Make your lemon curd ahead--it will keep for at least a week in the fridge.

In a large metal mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and zest.

Whisk in the juice.

Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to make a bain marie and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl.

Stir the curd continually for 12-15 minutes until it reaches roughly 178-180 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer.

Take the curd off the heat, and position a fine mesh sieve over a bowl.

Pour the curd through the sieve, using a flexible spatula to press it through, holding back the zest and any cooked egg. Discard.

Add the butter and stir until melted.

Let the curd cool and refrigerate until ready to serve. [Please note: this curd must be refrigerated ... it is not shelf stable].

For the scones, roughly chop your cranberries. [Note: if you buy fresh cranberries, just toss them in the freezer a day or 2 before you plan to bake the scones. This will make them easier to handle.]

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse a few times to combine.

Add the butter and pulse for 12-15 times, until the butter is pea-sized.

Empty the contents of the food processor's bowl into a large mixing bowl. Add the cranberries and toss to combine.

Whisk the cream, egg and almond extract together in a 2-cup measuring cup. Pour into the flour/butter mixture.

Using a spatula, gradually fold the wet ingredients into the dry, turning the bowl as you fold.

When the dough begins to come together, switch over to a bowl scraper to really bring it together into a ball, kneading it a little bit.

Scatter some flour onto your work space and turn the dough out onto it. Pat it down into a 7-inch circle and cut into 8 triangles.

Place on a parchment paper-lined pan and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Place in a plastic freezer bag, and the scones will keep for several weeks in the freezer.

When you're ready to bake the scones, heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the scones on a parchment-lined pan, spread out so they're at least an inch or 2 apart.

Brush the scones with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. Enjoy warm with lemon curd or your favorite jam.

Orange toffee brioche knots

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Breakfast Club is back for March, and this month I decided to continue working with sweet doughs. I came across the mention of a brioche knot … there’s a bakery in California that is known for them, so I began googling and came across Take a Megabite’s adaptation of Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate chip brioche pretzels.

Megan of Megabite changed it up a bit and tied hers into knots, and I really like the effect. So, last weekend I scaled the recipe down to test it, liked the results, and then adapted it myself to come up with these lovelies.

Orange toffee brioche knots

Brioche is an enriched French bread that packs in a lot of eggs and butter … yum. I’m not sure how faithful to traditional brioche this recipe is, but it’s tasty, and that’s what counts for me.

Confession: I did not actually have enough toffee bits, so I worked with what I had. The flavor is light and buttery, but if you really love toffee, I suggest increasing the amount to 8-10 oz.

Orange toffee brioche knots

Yields: 16 brioche knots

  • Brioche Knot Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1-3 tbsp additional as needed when kneading the dough)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz toffee bits
  • 1 tsp orange zest (approximately the zest from one orange)
  • Glaze Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Coarse sugar

Combine the milk and yeast in a measuring cup and whisk until the yeast has dissolved. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Using the paddle blade, mix to combine these ingredients.

Add the eggs to the dry, mixing to combine, then add the milk/yeast mixture. Add the orange extract.

Mix at a low speed until the dough begins to come together.

Increase the speed to medium and mix for 10 minutes.

Divide your butter into tablespoon-sized pats. Once you've finished mixing the dough, add the butter a third at a time, mixing in between. It will take the butter a little bit to work it's way into the dough. If necessary, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Once the butter has mixed in to the dough, switch out the paddle for the dough hook.

Knead at slow speed for approximately 5-8 minutes, adding 1-3 tablespoons of flour as needed if the dough is too sticky (I added 3 to my dough the other night, but I think it's because of the humidity). Knead until smooth and just slightly tacky.

Add the toffee bits and orange and mix to combine.

Lightly oil a mixing bowl and add the dough to it, rolling it around to make sure it's well coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Now you can do 1 of 2 things. You can put the dough in the fridge, and in 24 hours remove it, let it come to room temperature and finish the rise. Or you can put in a warm spot to rise for 2 hours. Option 1 is good if you started the dough in the evening and can finish making the brioche the next day; Option 2 is good if you started in the morning/early afternoon. I refrigerated my dough, and it worked out great!

Once the rise is complete, heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 baking sheets with baking silicone or parchment paper.

To form the knots, gently deflate the dough and divide into 16 pieces. Because the dough will be pretty sticky, have some flour on hand to dust your work surface.

Roll out each piece of dough to approximately 8-10 inches, then gently tie in a knot (more like form a knot ... these aren't like shoe laces). Place on the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, fitting 8 to a sheet.

Make the glaze by whisking the eggs, salt and water together.

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush all the knots with the egg glaze.

Set aside to proof for 20-30 minutes. I like proofing in a slightly warm, quiet spot, like my pantry.

Once proofing is complete, brush the knots with the egg glaze again.

Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake for 12 minutes at 350 and check for doneness by the color (you want them to be golden) and an internal temperature of 190-210 degrees Fahrenheit.

I found that turning the oven up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for the last 2 minutes helped achieve a great golden color.

Cool on a rack before storing. These are excellent fresh from the oven, but if you need to store them, simply toast them in a toaster oven for a minute or two before serving.

Chinese 5 spice cinnamon buns

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Today kicks off 2013’s very first Breakfast Club (don’t you love the logo Ray created for me last night??!) For the first installment of my breakfast pastry challenge, I adapted the cinnamon bun recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I’ve made the recipe before, but this time I doubled  my yield, used blood orange zest, and tweaked the filling so that my favorite spice, Chinese 5 Spice, took center stage, supported by some additional cinnamon and cardamom. I think my friend Brian, my baking guru, would be pleased.

Chinese 5 Spice Cinnamon Buns

The buns came out nicely, though I definitely learned a few lessons:

  • Reinhart’s recipe, while excellent, takes a while. You have to bring ingredients to room temperature, make the dough, let it ferment for 2 hours, shape the dough into buns, let the buns proof for 75-90 minutes, bake for 20-30, cool for 10, make and apply the glaze, and cool for an additional 20. I started around 4:30 and finished around 11. However, during those 6.5 hours I also managed a trip the gym while the dough fermented and dinner and some downtime while the buns proofed. So while it’s not constant hands-on time, you still need to carve out some time for this.
  • Humidity is a huge factor with dough. I measured all my ingredients by weight exactly, but still had to add nearly 3/4 cup flour to get the dough to come together properly. Why? Humidity. So, follow the recipe, but trust your eyes. Does the dough look like it could be porridge’s cousin? Add flour, by the tablespoon, until the dough fully pulls away from the bowl and forms a ball.
  • Bake cinnamon buns on the middle rack of the oven. Normally this is no big deal, but because I had 2 pans, I had my racks positioned in the middle upper and middle lower. The buns on the middle lower got a bit more done on the bottoms, so next time if I have 2 pans, I’ll bake on the upper and middle upper racks.

Overall, I’m pleased with my Chinese 5 spice cinnamon buns. They were time intensive and a little challenging, but they baked up beautifully. I can’t wait to share with my taste testers!

Chinese 5 spice cinnamon buns

Yields: 24 buns

  • Chinese 5 Spice Cinnamon Bun Ingredients
  • 6 1/2 oz (13 tbsp) sugar
  • 1/2 oz (2 tsp) salt
  • 5 1/2 oz (11 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp blood orange zest (can use lemon or regular orange as well)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten and at room temperature
  • 32 oz (7 cups) bread flour, plus an additional 8-12 tbsp, depending on humidity
  • 1/2 oz (4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 18 oz (2 cups) whole milk, at room temperature
  • Sugar Spice Filling
  • 13 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Chinese 5 Spice
  • Almond Glaze Ingredients
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • whole milk, warmed slightly

Cream the butter, sugar and zest for 2 minutes on medium high in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Scrape down the bowl.

Add the eggs and mix until smooth.

Scrape down the bowl again.

Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, stirring to combine.

Add the dry ingredients, 1 large spoonful at a time (I had my mixer's splash guard on and just gradually spooned in the mixture.)

The mixture will look mealy, but that's okay.

Pour the milk in a steady steam into the bowl and you continue to mix.

Mix on low until the dough begins to form a ball. If it seems too sticky, gradually add the additional flour until all the dough pulls away from the bowl.

Remove the mixer's blade and put on the dough hook. Knead with the dough hook for 8-10 minutes until the dough is supple and a little tacky, but not sticky.

Lightly oil 2 mixing bowls (I used a canola spray) and divide the dough into 2 balls. Place one in each bowl and roll it around to coat with the oil.

Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and place them in a slightly warm spot. Let them sit, undisturbed, for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

As the dough ferments, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and Chinese 5 Spice in a bowl, stirring to blend. Set aside.

After 2 hours, punch the dough down and prepare your work space to form the buns.

Spray your work space with canola oil (or another cooking spray) and transfer the first dough ball to the space.

Dust lightly with flour and roll the dough out, but not too thin ... approximately 14" by 12".

Sprinkle half of the sugar spice mix onto the dough, not getting too close to the sides.

Beginning with one of the longer edges, roll the dough into a log and divide into 12 rolls.

Place the rolls approximately 1/2" apart on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.

Repeat these steps for the other dough ball.

Proof at room temperature for 75-90 minutes, or until the rolls have nearly doubled in size.

Heat the over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the rolls for 20-30 minutes until lightly golden.

While baking, make the almond glaze. Sift the confectioners sugar into a bowl.

Whisk the almond extract and warm milk into the sugar. Set aside.

Once the buns have finished baking, let them cool for 10 minutes, then streak the glaze onto them. Remove them from the pan and place onto a rack so they can finish cooling.

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