2 December 2012

Cinnamon Wreath for 1st Advent

In my recent baking browses, I came across this website, which shows how to shape the bread from Caucasus in pictures. No wonder I got it a bit wrong when I tried it the first time.


So I thought I'd give this shaping method a second try, but I wanted to make something sweet, so I decided on the recipe for cinnamon buns my Mum and I tried a couple of years ago. Though this time I used regular milk and completely ignored the fact that the recipe is quite massive.

The dough mixed rather nicely, in fact I've been quite successful with doughs lately. I used up 11.25 dl of strong white flour and this was just right - the dough felt a bit stiff before I added the butter, but once it was incorporated and worked on for a few more minutes, it became very soft and barely sticky. It also proofed well and after a brief hesitation on whether I should divide it in two or not, I made the wrong choice of attempting at making just one big wreath. I started rolling on a board I have specifically for working dough, but after having rolled the dough out to cover the whole board and it was still not sufficiently thin, I ended up flipping it over onto the worksurface and proceeding with rolling it out to cover most of it as well. I actually ended up stretching the dough, as I couldn't get the rolling pin into the corners.

Then on with the cinnamon butter filling and it was my intention to also add chopped walnuts, but I forgot them and rolled up the dough with only the cinnamon. I got a fairly thick roll, probably over a metre long too and I carefully cut it lengthwise in half.


Following the picture instructions, I carefully twined the two parts while keeping the cut surfaces upwards facing. It did look like a thick rope.


Then starting from one end, winding the "rope" into a spiral.


And finally transferring to a baking tray lined with suitable paper. The picture instructions had the wreath placed in a springform or similar, so I placed my cake circle around it to stop it from completely taking over the oven.


After proofing for about 40 minutes, I brushed it with whisked egg and sprinkled some of the chopped walnuts on top, as it also turned out I'd run out of pearl sugar. And in the oven it went. The bun recipe states 15 - 18 minutes at 200 degrees C. My oven decided that 190 was the temperature it wanted to work at, so I had to comply.

15 minutes of baking and the cinnamon wreath had expanded into something enormous and was starting to colour nicely. I wanted to be careful and not to burn it, so I covered it with some aluminium foil and I checked it after a further 15 minutes. It was very wobbly and I let it go for another 20 minutes. One more check confirmed that the thing was a little less wobbly, but still didn't inspire confidence of being ready so I gave it a further 15 minutes and took it out. At this point the whole house smelt strongly of cinnamon buns and Lundulph came in to inspect the situation as well. As I removed the aluminium foil, I discovered that not only was it still dough-y in the centre, but it had also collapsed, probably due to the many openings of the oven door. So back in for another 30 minutes the thing went, though I was fairly certain the damage had now been done.


I even measured the temperature of the wreath in the centre with my new cooking thermometer. It was over 90 degrees C, which I believe indicates that the dough should be baked. I let it cool down a bit before cutting a couple of wedges for myself and Lundulph and lo and behold, there were still dough-y patches. Dang!


The parts near the edges were very tasty though. But on the whole I think it was just too big. Lundulph suggests I make it again, but half a batch for practice. I should just have divided the dough in two at the beginning.

Another disappointment was that when the wreath was baked, the stripy pattern was not very obvious. Maybe it should be baked covered so that it doesn't brown as much. I'm glad I took photos before it went into the oven, it looked so pretty.

Anyway, the first candle is now lit, everything outside is white with frost, the sky is bright blue and the sun is shining. What a lovely start to December.

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