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Cinnamon Buns Troubleshoot
Posted: 24 October 2011 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve been working on my cinnamon bun recipe/technique and have a few issues that I’d like to resolve.  To clarify, I’m not baking sticky buns.  These are basically an enriched dough rolled up with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar.  My issues:
1)  Shelling.  The dough spirals up and out of the bun when baking (like a unicorn’s horn) and then collapses with large gaps between the dough.  Several factors are likely to contribute:
    a.  Not enough space between buns— Still working on the optimal pan size/roll size…does anyone have the answer?
    b.  Butter creates a greasy/sliding surface so the dough can rise up.  Butter is essential though…for creating a caramelly filling and flavour.  Dare I add some flour?  other ideas?
    c.  Could I be overproofing (As far as collapsing) ?  I don’t know why, but I tend to find most breads rise extra fast in my kitchen.  I’m using the called for yeast (in correct amounts) and even have a relatively cool home.
    d.  Rolling… too tight, is my guess, but I also don’t want loose either.

2)  Filling isn’t as gooey as I’d like—but I don’t want sticky buns either.  This one I’m working on as 1b tends to be an issue. 

3)  Tops are overbrowned while bottom isn’t browned.  I’ve used different pans—my dark ceramic-coated-steel pan seems like the winner, but I’m going to have to lower the temp to 325F.  Also been using the baking stone—I’m not convinced one way or the other of it’s use…even if well heated, it sometimes seems like it must cool off and then not really much further ahead, because it insulates…perhaps will try baking for 5 mins. on it then moving to rack.

Ideally, I’m after a soft bun with thicker spirals that don’t have gaps and are stuck together with a gooey filling.  I’ve used brioche, but find it’s a little to rich for what I’m after.  I tend to use a couple of eggs and a little butter, but not a large amount of either. 

As always, any thoughts are appreciated.

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Posted: 24 October 2011 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Sherrie - 24 October 2011 04:14 PM

1)  Shelling.  The dough spirals up and out of the bun when baking (like a unicorn’s horn) and then collapses with large gaps between the dough.

That sounds very interesting, do you happen to have a picture?  Is there a temperature differential between the inner and outer coils- i.e., have they been proofed in the refrigerator and then partially brought up to room temp, so that the outer coils are warmer and more proofed than the inner coils?  That might contribute to the inner coils having so much spring that they pop out of the center of the bun.

a.  Not enough space between dough— Still working on the optimal pan size/roll size…does anyone have the answer?

In the Bread Bible, Rose uses several pans for chocolate sticky buns, and I’ve made them, they work well.  For 17.5 ounces / 500g of dough (not including filling), she uses either a 9x13 baking pan or a 10x2 round cake pan. 

b.  Butter creates a greasy/sliding surface so the dough can rise up.  Butter is essential though…for creating a caramelly filling and flavour.  Dare I add some flour?  other ideas?

You’ve got some egg in the filling, is that right?  Not sure but it might help to brush the rectangle of dough with a thin coating of egg, then spread the filling on top of that.  If you don’t have egg in the filling, you should, it helps with shelling by acting as a mild culinary glue, as well as providing a little soft, custardy structure and some expansion of the filling as it bakes.

c.  Could I be overproofing (As far as collapsing) ?


Are the buns collapsing, that is looking like they caved in upon themselves and didn’t have enough structure to hold together through the oven spring?  If so, then yes, you might be overproofing. 

2)  Filling isn’t as gooey as I’d like -

Maybe some additional egg yolk and a little corn syrup or Lyle’s?  What’s in your filling?

3)  Tops are overbrowned while bottom isn’t browned.

Yes to the dark pan, and maybe consider moving them down to the oven floor for a part of the baking (or at least to a much lower shelf).  I’ve recently discovered that my oven floor is very hot, much hotter than a pizza stone that’s been preheating on top of it for an hour.  Also, it regenerates heat any time I open the door, whereas the pizza stone is hottest for the first pizza, then cooler for subsequent pizzas.  If your oven floor is as hot as mine, don’t leave the pan there the whole time or they might burn.

I agree with you on the pizza stone issue, I need to replace mine and I’m thinking of trying a cast iron pizza pan, to be preheated in the oven like a stone, instead.  We make sequential pizzas (one after the other) and it the stone isn’t ideal.

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Posted: 24 October 2011 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Sherrie - 24 October 2011 04:14 PM

I’ve been working on my cinnamon bun recipe/technique and have a few issues that I’d like to resolve.  To clarify, I’m not baking sticky buns.  These are basically an enriched dough rolled up with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar.  My issues:
1)  Shelling.  The dough spirals up and out of the bun when baking (like a unicorn’s horn) and then collapses with large gaps between the dough.  Several factors are likely to contribute:
    a.  Not enough space between buns— Still working on the optimal pan size/roll size…does anyone have the answer?
    b.  Butter creates a greasy/sliding surface so the dough can rise up.  Butter is essential though…for creating a caramelly filling and flavour.  Dare I add some flour?  other ideas?
    c.  Could I be overproofing (As far as collapsing) ?  I don’t know why, but I tend to find most breads rise extra fast in my kitchen.  I’m using the called for yeast (in correct amounts) and even have a relatively cool home.
    d.  Rolling… too tight, is my guess, but I also don’t want loose either.

2)  Filling isn’t as gooey as I’d like—but I don’t want sticky buns either.  This one I’m working on as 1b tends to be an issue. 

3)  Tops are overbrowned while bottom isn’t browned.  I’ve used different pans—my dark ceramic-coated-steel pan seems like the winner, but I’m going to have to lower the temp to 325F.  Also been using the baking stone—I’m not convinced one way or the other of it’s use…even if well heated, it sometimes seems like it must cool off and then not really much further ahead, because it insulates…perhaps will try baking for 5 mins. on it then moving to rack.

Ideally, I’m after a soft bun with thicker spirals that don’t have gaps and are stuck together with a gooey filling.  I’ve used brioche, but find it’s a little to rich for what I’m after.  I tend to use a couple of eggs and a little butter, but not a large amount of either. 

As always, any thoughts are appreciated.

I have no idea how to help you, BUT I have seen a show called “Top Secret Recipe”, and it’s about this self-proclaimed “Food Hacker”, Todd Wilbur trying to duplicate famous recipes.
In one episode he tried the cinnabon. Now I have never tasted a cinnabon nor do I know if it’s anything resembling what you need, but I think it’s worth taking a look. He talks a bit about the ingredients[es! I hope someone watches the Jersey housewives] and what they DO. For instance, for that gooey filling, I think a magic ingredient is something hopefully spelled Xanthan Gum.

[Edit: Added the word DO]

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Posted: 24 October 2011 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks, Julie and McBrownie. 

@Julie:  The filling I’m using is basically butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  I haven’t used egg in the filling—but the dough contains egg.  The proofing is all done in my microwave (not on, just a warm draft free location).  I probably won’t do another batch for awhile.

@ McBrownie:  I’ve never had a cinnabon either, but my filling is often dry or gets hard on cooling.  I have seen it at the health food store, I may need to pick up some xanthan gum.

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Posted: 24 October 2011 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Sherrie - 24 October 2011 04:14 PM

I’ve been working on my cinnamon bun recipe/technique and have a few issues that I’d like to resolve.  To clarify, I’m not baking sticky buns.  These are basically an enriched dough rolled up with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar.  My issues:
1)  Shelling.  The dough spirals up and out of the bun when baking (like a unicorn’s horn) and then collapses with large gaps between the dough.  Several factors are likely to contribute:
    a.  Not enough space between buns— Still working on the optimal pan size/roll size…does anyone have the answer?
    b.  Butter creates a greasy/sliding surface so the dough can rise up.  Butter is essential though…for creating a caramelly filling and flavour.  Dare I add some flour?  other ideas?
    c.  Could I be overproofing (As far as collapsing) ?  I don’t know why, but I tend to find most breads rise extra fast in my kitchen.  I’m using the called for yeast (in correct amounts) and even have a relatively cool home.
    d.  Rolling… too tight, is my guess, but I also don’t want loose either.

2)  Filling isn’t as gooey as I’d like—but I don’t want sticky buns either.  This one I’m working on as 1b tends to be an issue. 

3)  Tops are overbrowned while bottom isn’t browned.  I’ve used different pans—my dark ceramic-coated-steel pan seems like the winner, but I’m going to have to lower the temp to 325F.  Also been using the baking stone—I’m not convinced one way or the other of it’s use…even if well heated, it sometimes seems like it must cool off and then not really much further ahead, because it insulates…perhaps will try baking for 5 mins. on it then moving to rack.

Ideally, I’m after a soft bun with thicker spirals that don’t have gaps and are stuck together with a gooey filling.  I’ve used brioche, but find it’s a little to rich for what I’m after.  I tend to use a couple of eggs and a little butter, but not a large amount of either. 

As always, any thoughts are appreciated.


Sherrie,
Is your filling a paste? I’ve tried a “Clone of Cinnabon” recipe that I found online and though I didn’t like the dense dough, I do use the filling recipe which is a butter, cinnamon, brown sugar schmear (no xanthan gum!). I had the same problem with gaps that you describe when I was using melted butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar; switching to the schmear eliminated that.
I don’t have that much bread baking experience, but I do recall that “shelling” problem when I used a stiff dough. I currently use a relatively soft, enriched dough that tends to spread a lot while it rises; I haven’t had that shelling problem again, regardless of how little spreading room I allow the buns.

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Posted: 24 October 2011 10:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks, Sophia.  I will have to try the schmear…sounds promising.  I will try that method next time.

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Posted: 25 October 2011 06:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Here are my suggestions. The browning is caused by the egg whites. Try separating the eggs and using just the yolks. That will make a more tender dough that won’t brown or shell. The collapse is over proofing. You should get pretty good oven spring with this kind of recipe so next time bake sooner.
I haven’t solved the filling problem for myself so please let us know your progress.

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Posted: 25 October 2011 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Good recommendations, Gene, re: the egg white and over proofing.  I am always surprised at how quickly bread rises in my house…often in half the recommended time and my home is cool.  Is it because I bake often??

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Posted: 25 October 2011 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I can’t explain the rapid rising. Many people claim that frequent yeast baking can create local yeast populations. I just can’t see how the quantity of local yeast that is likely to get into a dough could have so dramatic an effect. Is your kitchen well above sea level?

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Posted: 25 October 2011 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Sherrie - 25 October 2011 06:39 PM

Good recommendations, Gene, re: the egg white and over proofing.  I am always surprised at how quickly bread rises in my house…often in half the recommended time and my home is cool.

I’d cut the yeast in half.  Are you using Active Dry or Instant?

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Posted: 25 October 2011 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I use either Bakipan Fast Rising Instant Yeast or in this particular case SAF Red Instant Yeast.  They both act the same in my kitchen!  Also, I’ve used them with Rose’s recipes and I find I always need to check much sooner than indicated to prevent overproofing.  My kitchen is 19.3C right now or about 67F, so I don’t have a warm kitchen either. This is at least one of the easier variables to control (less yeast, shorter rise, cooler environment).

I am at about 1500 ft. above sea level….not a major contributor.

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Posted: 26 October 2011 01:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Sherrie - 25 October 2011 08:55 PM

They both act the same in my kitchen!  Also, I’ve used them with Rose’s recipes and I find I always need to check much sooner than indicated to prevent overproofing.  My kitchen is 19.3C right now or about 67F, so I don’t have a warm kitchen either.

Very interesting.  I’ve found myself cutting the yeast on a number of recipes, but I’ve attributed that (rightly or wrongly) to the fact that I might have let the preferment stew for a lot longer than the recipe indicated, so I didn’t need as much yeast in the main dough.

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Posted: 31 October 2011 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Sophia, please post your schmear recipe?  When I make cinnamon buns, I do not spread the dough with butter, just sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar, and I don’t experience the gapping between the layers.  Interesting comments from Gene about the egg whites causing too much browning, I will have to remember this, as my buns also get a little too brown for my liking.

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Posted: 01 November 2011 12:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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MrsM - 01 November 2011 12:25 AM

Sophia, please post your schmear recipe?

Schmear recipe as follows:

1/3 cup (76g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed (217g) brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

Cream all ingredients together. Spread on dough rectangle ~18” x 9” (12 buns).

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Posted: 01 November 2011 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Thank you, Sophia.

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Posted: 01 November 2011 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Thank you, indeed!

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