Cinnamon Bun Wreath

Cinnamon buns.  They are delicious.  I keep them simple because adding geegaws to the dough or filling just ruins them for me.  But I DO make them festive by cutting the dough into a wreath ( I still smother them with glaze).



For the dough

5 cups bread flour plus an extra cup in case dough is too sticky
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package Platinum Instant Yeast (make sure you use instant yeast)
2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
2 eggs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

For the filling

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch salt

For the egg wash

1 egg whisked together with
2 tablespoons water

For the glaze

2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk


•In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the dough hook, mix together the milk, cinnamon, vanilla bean paste and eggs until the eggs are broken apart.

•Add the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  Mix until the dough just comes together.

•Add the butter, small pieces at a time, until the butter is incorporated.

•Continue mixing until the dough comes together in to a ball.  If it is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add more flour, a little at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

•Transfer the dough to a lightly flour work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, until the dough is shiny and smooth.

•Place in a large bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and spray the top of the dough with non-stick spray as well.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm corner of your kitchen and allow to rise to double it's size, 1 to 2 hours.

•Stir together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

•Roll the dough out to a long rectangle, about 21" x 10".   Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

•Roll the dough into a jelly roll, rolling from the long side, into a long rope.

•Transfer the rope to a parchment lined sheet pan and bend into a circle.  Pinch the ends together.

•Using a very sharp scissor, hold the scissors at a 45º angle and cut deeply into the dough but not so deeply that you cut all the way through.  Tilt the cut piece to on side.  Make these cuts every 1 1/2" and tilt the dough to either side.

•Cover with plastic wrap and allow the proof and room temperature until the buns double in size, about 1 to 2 hours.

•During the proof, preheat the oven to 350º.

•Brush the ring with egg wash and bake until the ring is puff and golden brown, about 45 minutes.

•Allow to cool a bit (you don't have to let it cool completely, just enough that the heat coming off the buns doesn't melt the glaze completely off.

•In a small bowl, stir together the confectioner's sugar, a few tablespoons milk and the vanilla and stir until you have a smooth glaze with the consistency of ketchup.  Add more milk or more confectioner's to achieve the right consistency.

•Drizzle the glaze over the buns.

Soft buns, with that tender texture from top to bottom (baked in an angel food pan).

***NOTE*** Do you prefer cinnamon buns that aren't as golden brown, that are soft all around (egg wash browns and creates a slight crispness to the exterior of the bun), something that's insanely tender from tip to tail (dare I say a la Cinnabon?)?  This is how you can use this exact recipe but with slightly tweaked techniques to get different textural results:

(1)  Roll the buns in a log, as per this recipe, but cut the buns traditionally (I cut them 1 1/2" thick).  Place the individual buns close to each other in a high baking tin (if you like the round wreath look above, use an angel food pan.  You can't fit all the buns in at once, though).

(2)  Spray the tops of the buns with non-stick cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap for the last proof.

(3)  Respray with non-stick spray just before baking and lightly cover the baking tin with foil.

(4)  Bake until just barely light golden brown on the edges.  Gently press the middle buns to make sure they feel baked and spring back.

(5)  Top with the glaze when still warm.

Tender buns!  Pretty hard to resist.

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