Thursday, 4 October 2012

Cinnamon whey bread buns.

There are days when you never finish anything.  There are days when you barely start anything without getting distracted.  There are days when you find you forgot to do one important thing and have given your time to fifteen pointless ones. There are days when it gets to five pm and you realise with horror that you have achieved nothing, but nothing, and rush to cram some work into the last hour of the day and end up staying on just so you can feel like you accomplished something, and still leave hours later knowing you haven't.

For those days, there is baking.  You can come home and break out the emergency butter and emergency sugar, and weigh and mix and taste and cook, and at the end you have something to show for it.  It might be late, but who cares? You have buns - and tomorrow you can take them into the office and people will say nice things and it will be another day.

Yeast dough isn't usually for evening baking, and this whey bread isn't really for making cinnamon buns, but they came together quick enough and with hot coffee made for the perfect breakfast.

I used Dan Lepard's sweet whey bread recipe from The Handmade Loaf, which begins with the instructions for how to make fresh cheese using rennet, which I never have in.  I have made a paneer a few times with lemon juice or yoghurt, though, and freeze the whey to make this slightly enriched bread.  He makes it into a slightly sweet soft white sandwich bread, good for breakfast toasting and similar.  It's like a less rich challah, to my mind - with butter and milk but no eggs.  Tom and I have made it a few times and cut the honey somewhat to make it better for savoury uses.  Here I kept the honey at the original levels to keep the sweetness.

I haven't tried making this with ordinary milk.  I suspect you could sub 150ml milk, simmered for a minute and mixed with 150ml cold water.  The simmering kills enzymes and changes proteins and similar, and mixing it with cold water will  both drop the temperature and give the liquid a texture closer to whey.  Haven't tried it though.  I usually use this technique for making paneer - it's very quick, and the paneer itself is delicious in Indian recipes or, if you don't press it, as a soft cheese to eat with berries and the like instead of yoghurt.

The filling is a standard one for Tom and I - 75g salted butter; 75g dark brown sugar; 15g powdered cinnamon.  Soften the butter (but don't melt it totally) and mix the other two ingredients into it.

After the dough has risen twice and is ready for its final shaped rise, on a floured surface roll it and push it out into an oblong roughly 18 inches by 36 and spread the filling all over it.  Roll it up tightly and slice it into 2 inch rolls.  Pack them into a baking tin lined with paper, close but not quite touching.  I used a 9 inch square cake tin for the 'presentation' buns, and put the mucky off cuts into a round sponge tin.

Preheat the oven while the buns do their final 45 minute rise (now they'll be butting up against one another), then bake according to Dan's instructions, checking ten minutes before the end (buns bake quicker than loaves) and switching the tins around a couple of times during baking.  They should be well risen and golden brown.

While the buns bake, make a quick glaze by heating together the juice of one lemon with 30g of caster sugar.  Boil it for a few minutes until it begins to get syrupy (the bubbles begin to get larger).  As soon as the buns come out brush this all over their surface.

I felt better.


  1. 'Syrupy' is a great word.

    When you have your 18x36 dough ready, do you roll it up 'longways' or 'shortways'? I.e. is the roll 36" long or 18" long?

    Not that I suspect it makes all the difference in the world, but y'know.

    1. Lengthwise! They'll end up enormous otherwise... But sizing is pretty much up to you!

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