Monday, January 5, 2009

Making your own bread!

As long as I can remember, my mother made homemade bread—there was always great excitement as we devoured the delicious braids of often spiced or fruit filled yeast breads. And the smells that came with it...were pure heaven! Bread is such a staple in many cultures and the act of kneading the dough can become a meditative practice. It connects you to the simpler and yet richer things in life. Enjoy this simple sweet dough recipe which can be used for cinnamon buns, monkey bread, cherry braids…whatever your passion and flavor. May it bring delightful smells and happy memories to your home as well!

Simple Sweet Roll Dough

1 package active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (105-115°)
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup milk (not ice cold)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
3 – 4 cups of all purpose flour

½ cup softened butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

3 cups confectioner or powdered sugar
Few drops of milk or light cream
Vanilla extract

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water along with a few sprinkles of sugar. Wait 5 minutes. When small bubbles begin to appear at the surface of the water, you know the yeast is ready. Stir in the sugar, milk, butter & egg until smooth. Add the salt. Slowly begin to mix in the flour one cup at a time until a soft dough begins to form. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. You don’t want to add too much flour, but enough that the dough is not super sticky.

Place dough into a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled.

Once dough has risen, punch it down. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to a 9x13 inch rectangle. To create the cinnamon filling, spread the 1/2 cup of butter evenly across the dough. Then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon. Starting at the longest side, slowly roll the dough into a long loaf. Cut into individual 1 1/2 inch slices and place into a greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Repeat until all buns are made. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Glaze and enjoy!

To make the glaze, add 1 tsp. of vanilla to the sugar, and then in small drops, add enough milk or cream until it becomes a drizzly frosting. You don’t want to add too much milk at one time because it will get runny too fast.