A Blooming Love Affair with Bread Baking

In the life of an aspiring baker, s/he will eventually be faced with the task of making artisan bread. As daunting as baking a cake was to me, I perceived bread baking as complex and very complicated. It came on to me. I just had to bake some kind of bread just to satisfy this aspiration of making something with yeast. And I never thought this would lead to this wonderful love affair.

I have the lingering urge to bake cinnamon rolls. Those ooey gooey cinnamon rolls that you buy from local bakeries. Well, this is not the recipe you want to do. This is a recipe akin to that of Cinnabon (according to this source). To tell you the truth, I haven’t tasted what Cinnabon has to offer but if it tasted like this recipe, then I’d like to try some myself. Fortunately, I had most of the ingredients at hand so I was able to make this at the moment of longing (maybe due to the constant raining again).

Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices to use. Especially now that Fall is starting in the States (note that here in the Philippines, the only seasons here are wet and dry and if I were living in the States, Fall would be my favorite season next to Spring followed by Winter). I just love trying out recipes calling for cinnamon such as apple pie which I hope I would be making in the future. The experience I just had with making this recipe is just eye-opening. I can’t imagine how easy it really is to do. The cloud of doubt and fear needs to be cleared for one to be able to make bread. Once one was able to do it, you would want to make more out of it. The feeling of the soft dough in your palms when kneading is just divine. Now, I can see myself baking more bread fresh from the oven.

Cinnamon roll dough ready for the oven.

The process of making this cinnamon roll is incredibly easy to follow. If you are impatient, you have to learn how to be patient because there are a number of instances that you have to let the dough rest for it to rise. But the waiting time is worth it, including the calories!

Fresh from the oven.

The hardest part of this process is waiting for the bread to finish baking. Because as it is baking, the smell of the butter, cinnamon and brown sugar envelopes the kitchen. You can just imagine how hard we resisted the temptation of opening the oven to peek at it. When the timer goes off, immediately frost the rolls with the cream cheese for it to melt and coat the cinnamon rolls with its goodness. Yes, it is heavenly sinful. I didn’t realize how well cream cheese and cinnamon rolls work well together. For me, it was an unusual pairing but it worked. Try this on a rainy day or for breakfast warmed in the oven with a cup of coffee and it might be one of your best breakfasts ever. I know I did!

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted from Joshua Kennon

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Dough
1 cup warm milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 package yeast (1/4 ounce)

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Filling
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Spread for Cinnamon Roll Dough
1/4 cup butter, softened

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Icing
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Microwave the milk for 45 to 60 seconds. Then, dissolve yeast in warm milk in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour. Mix well. Dust your hands lightly with flour and then hand knead the cinnamon roll dough into a large ball.

Put the ball of dough into a bowl that is sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for roughly 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.  We turned the oven on and then put the cinnamon roll dough on top of the stove.  The heat generated caused the dough to rise.

Once your dough has risen, it’s time to move on to the next step.  In a new, small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.  Mix them well.  Spray a flat surface with cooking spray or sprinkled flour.  Roll out your dough ball into a 16in x 21in rectangle roughly 1/4 inches thick then spread a 1/4 cup of softened butter on the dough.  Next, sprinkle the rolled, buttered dough evenly with the sugar/cinnamon/butter mixture you prepared in your small bowl.

Roll up the dough starting with the longer side and cut into fourteen (14) cinnamon rolls (or more smaller rolls, if you prefer). Place the cinnamon rolls in a lightly greased 11in x 15in glass baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and let the cinnamon rolls rise until nearly doubled, which should take around 30 minutes.  Note that in our Cinnabon cinnamon roll recipe, we had made two (2) of the fourteen (14) cinnamon rolls consist of the “end” pieces that weren’t as developed or good as the other twelve (12).

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.  Once your cinnamon rolls have risen, bake them in the preheated oven until golden brown, approximately 18 to 20 minutes (we used a professional General Electric gas-range oven at 20 minutes exactly).  The dough should still be soft, though fully cooked, especially toward the center of the rolls.

As your cinnamon rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and salt for the Cinnabon cinnamon roll icing.  The icing should be spread on your cinnamon rolls when they are still warm, shortly after being taken out of the oven so that the frosting melts into the cinnamon rolls.  This is reportedly part of the official Cinnabon process according to some of the employees.

When the cinnamon rolls are still warm, serve, and enjoy!

You see, all you have to do is give it a try. And maybe, this might be the start of your own love affair.


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