Baking

Food Challenge – Honey Buns

I was set a challenge after I made a successful batch of Cinnamon Rolls….  my friend, Ken who hails from the States asked for something called Honey Buns, of which I have never seen nor tasted. After scouring the Internet for different ways they’re made (with not much success) I discovered that they are not unlike a cinnamon bun but with some honey added in the dough as well as the glaze. The challenge was that Ken told me they were a softer dough than the Cinnamon Buns and a few recipe’s called for them to be deep fried while others were baked. I must confess that the amount of butter and sugar these things yield has me swaying more toward the ‘baking’ side as I have no patience standing at the stove frying batches of dough. I learnt that lesson when I made hot jam donuts years ago and I’m still scarred by the effect, plus I think baking them is a tad less indulgent (only just).

The thing that I absolutely adore about baking is the alchemy of it all. How these ingredients when mixed together can turn into something so fabulous and delicious. I made a dough mostly by sight, in that I took a few versions of bun recipe’s I saw on the Internet and devised my own plan of how to make something soft and almost donut-like in its texture. Sitting here right now, I have no idea if it’s going to work at all but this is an experiment batch and Ken is coming over to be the guinea pig. I’ve been off work this week and thinking about all the ‘holiday’ food I’ve consumed, I just can’t possible eat another bad thing. I only lasted 25 minutes on a 5 level incline on the treadmill last night. My body is broken!

WHO AM I KIDDING???? I’m so going to try at least one, but Ken is going to have to take the batch home and remove it from my house. Cinnamon is my weakness damn it!

So, back to the dough. I am so happy with how it turned out. It is the sexiest dough, it’s so supple and now it’s sitting in the corner of my kitchen, covered in cling film, thinking about what it’s about to become. The honey in the dough has given it a really beautiful sheen and a slight golden hue to it, I am hopefully on the right track.

The following recipe is what I came up with but please note, I can’t tell you the exact amount of water to flour ratio as I just added as I needed. You’re going to have to know something about making dough to work this out for yourself. I make no apologies, it is what it is.

Dough

7g pack of dried yeast

1 Tbls Sugar

60g Butter, melted

1/2 C warm milk (about 45 degrees)

1 egg, room temp

1 egg yolk, room temp

85g honey

1 Tbls Salt

3-4 C AP Flour

1 C warm water (less or more, I don’t know)

In a bowl, I put the warm milk, sugar and yeast together. Whisk it a bit and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it foams up.

Then add the melted butter, eggs, honey, salt and about 2 cups of the flour. Once combined, add about half the warm water, another cup of flour and mix with a dough hook. Here’s the tricky part, you’re going to need to add flour and water until you get a ‘shaggy’ dough that is slightly sticky, so you be the judge of texture. Once you’re happy, knead for about 4 minutes (if you’re making this by hand I feel sorry for you but you’ll need to knead this for about 10 minutes by hand). It’s a very soft, supple, sticky dough that just feels so amazing, so grease a bowl and throw it in there, oil the top of the ball to stop it drying out and don’t forget to oil the cling film because this baby is going to rise. Let it sit for 2 hours in a warm place where it won’t get disturbed.

THEN MAGIC HAPPENS

60 g butter, softened

1/4 C brown sugar

1 1/2 Tbls Cinnamon

Preheat oven 180-200 degrees (fan or normal)

After the dough has risen, punch it down and on a generously floured surface, roll out dough to a large rectangle, 15″ x 9″ approx., spread the soft butter in a thin film all over, leaving a 2cm lip on one of the long edges free. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the top of the butter in an even layer. Starting in one corner, start rolling along the long edge, to get a complete roll. Cut into 16 pieces (or at least, cut in half and half again and half again and keep going until you have nice even pieces that a couple of inches wide). Please don’t roll it too tight. This causes the scroll-like roll to peak in the middle and makes them burn easy. You want them to be flat so that they bake even. This isn’t always a bad thing, but I’m about aesthetics. Place the rolls on a lined sheet, space them out a little bit and cover them and let them sit and think for about 30-40 minutes. They will rise and spread and look like doughy swirls of genius. I am amazed at how beautiful they look at this stage and I don’t even want to bake them and shatter their beauty, but c’mon!

After the second rise, place in oven and bake until golden brown. My oven is shite so it takes about 30 minutes. Like baking a cake, keep checking the middle to make sure it’s all cooked through.

Glaze

1-1 1/2 C Icing sugar

3 Tbls water

2 Tbls honey

Whisk together and pour over the slightly cooled buns. Serve warm or store in an airtight container.

IMG_5305

I take the ‘Chef’s Piece’ which is the one smack-bam right in the middle. Mmmmmm…..

Not 100% successful. I think they need to be deep fried, but Ken liked them anyway. I have nothing to compare them to, as I’ve never had a Honey Bun. Australia don’t have much American stuff. These taste pretty good to me, but VERY sweet.

Stay tuned for the next experimental batch.

Happy baking

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