Cinnamon Buns (Bulkas)

The smell of cinnamon always take me back to my childhood. My grandmother liberally used cinnamon in most of her baking, from layered palacsinta (pancake) cake to babke. The smell makes me feel like I’m being lovingly enveloped in my grandmothers arms once again. Cinnamon mixed with lavender perfume, her bright red lipstick and gold gaudy costume jewellery (picture an 80 year old Zsa Zsa Gabor).

There is a lovely Jewish tradition associated with cinnamon buns. When a woman goes in to labour, the dough is made so that the baby is born into a wonderful cinnamon infused world. Sounds lovely doesn’t it. Not sure whether my obstetrician would of approved of the making of cinnamon buns in the operating theatre when I had my caesarean though!

Dough

  • 7g (0.2 oz) dried yeast packet
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 tsp caster sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups strong high protein flour for bread making (though plain flour will do)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100ml (2 3/4 fl oz) pure cream
  • 50ml (2 fl oz) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g (3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 tblsp vegetable oil

To make the dough, in a small bowl mix together the warm water, 3 tsp sugar and yeast sachet. Leave it covered to one side to activate and foam. If it doesn’t foam, throw it away and start again.

If your yeast foams and bubbles like this...it's activated properly
If your yeast foams and bubbles like this…it’s activated properly

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt and mix through. In another small bowl whisk together the eggs, cream and milk and in a small saucepan melt the butter with the oil (or in the microwave). Once all the elements are ready add the yeast mix, egg mix and butter mix to the flour. Mix together until all the ingredients are combined and then knead the dough for a couple of minutes. You can use a dough attachment on your mixer if you have one.

The dough elements ready for mixing
The dough elements ready for mixing

Leave the dough covered in a warm place until it doubles in size. It took two hours for me – but it was a cold day.

Leave the dough covered in a warm place for a couple of hours until it doubles in size
Leave the dough covered in a warm place for a couple of hours until it doubles in size

Cinnamon filling

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tblsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g (3.5 oz) unsalted butter, melted

Glaze

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tblsp warm water

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

For the filling, mix the sugar and cinnamon together and in a separate bowl melt the butter. Once the dough is ready, knead it on a floured surface for ten minutes and divide into three pieces.

Cinnamon sugar, melted butter and egg yolk glaze
Cinnamon sugar, melted butter and egg yolk glaze

Roll out each piece to 20 x 30cm (A4 paper size). With a pastry brush, brush on the butter and then sprinkle on 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mix. Roll up the dough along the long side and cut in to six equal pieces. Up end each piece to show the swirl and squash it down with your palm. Repeat for the other two dough pieces, making 18 buns.

Roll out 1/3 dough in to a 20 x 30 cm rectangle
Roll out 1/3 dough in to a 20 x 30 cm rectangle and brush on the butter
Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar
Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar
Roll up along the long side
Roll up along the long side
Cut into six equal pieces
Cut into six equal pieces
Up end to show the scroll and squash down with the palm of your hand
Up end to show the scroll and squash down with the palm of your hand

Place the buns on baking trays and let them rest for another ten minutes. Whisk the egg yolks and water together to make a glaze and brush on top of the buns before baking.

Let them rest for 10 minutes before baking
Let them rest for 10 minutes before baking

Bake for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

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Now my home is filled with delightful cinnamon. Perfect. It’s best to eat them fresh out of the oven.

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