Spice Buns ala Reinhart's "Crust and Crumb"
I had a hand at making spice rolls using the recipe in Peter Reinhart's book "Crust and Crumb"
Ingredients (per Reinhart)
454 grams un-bleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon instant yeast (see below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter
8 ounces (227g) buttermilk at room temperature (see below)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups raisins
Mix all ingredients except the raisins into a dough, then knead in the raisins. Form into two-ounce balls and let rise about 90 minutes. Bake 20 minutes at 350F.
I found that the dough seemed too dry to come together well so I added another slosh of buttermilk, maybe a tablespoon or two. I weighed two cups of loose raisins and measured 270g; this seems a bit excessive and 200g might be more reasonable. I popped the rolls in the oven at 350F with steam and set the timer for 20 minutes; after checking at 20 minutes I gave them another 2 minutes or so to brown up a bit.
The recipe made 18 2-ounce rolls. I think next time I'll make the rolls larger, maybe 12 rolls per batch.
The taste is OK: nice sweetness, moderately spicy and rather yeasty. I've that found recently that similar coffeecake recipes that called for similarly large yeast percentages also tasted yeasty to me. I'm not sure if this is due to the initial yeast added or possibly to yeast propagation fed by the sugar. I may reduce yeast by half in my next batch, to something comparable to typical bread recipes.
I found the texture a bit dry and dense. The Reinhart recipe calls for surprisingly little liquid, and the results reflect this.
Overall, an interesting bake but something I think perhaps I can improve on - bigger, moister, less yeasty rolls, would be nice, and perhaps some cinnamon and a pinch of cardamom.