The Fresh Loaf

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Not-too-sweet Sweet Rolls

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Not-too-sweet Sweet Rolls


My wife and I have a problem with cinnamon rolls. She dislikes the gooey, too-sweet frosting found on most, and she gives me a hard time about sweet doughs with too much butter for my health. So, I'm on a new quest: A breakfast pastry we both like that is still kind to my arteries. (I'm not that concerned about the cholesterol, but my wife's persistent expressions of concern can't be good for my heart.)


Last week, I got Ciril Hitz's latest book, “Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads.” Like his previous book, “Baking Artisan Bread,” it is aimed at the home baker. While providing clear and detailed instructions that do not assume the reader has a degree in culinary arts, the formulas are in no way “dumbed down.” He teaches professional techniques and tricks for mixing doughs and making classic fillings, all adapted to home baking equipment and quantities. Also, like his previous book, he introduces a small number of basic doughs – for quick breads, sweet rolls and laminated dough pastries – then provides a number of formulas for products made with each and suggestions for additional applications.


When I … well … we saw Hitz's formula for sweet dough, we were struck by it appearing less enriched than most. His formula calls for only 10.6% butter and 10.6% sugar. I made a batch last night and retarded it in the fridge (as Hitz prescribes) until this evening. Hitz has formulas for cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, but I wanted a pastry that was less sweet. Among his recipes for pastry fillings I found one he calls “nut filling.” It looked good, since we love nuts, and looked less sweet than ones that are mostly sugar. So, I also made a batch of nut filling last night and stuck it in the fridge.


This evening, I rolled out the dough, spread it with nut filling, rolled it up and cut it into 1.5 inch rounds. (Actually, I just cut half the roll-up. I froze the other half for another day.) I put some pecan halves on the top of each, proofed, egg washed and baked them in a 1/4 sheet pan on parchment. I did not glaze them.



As expected, the dough was less sweet and less rich than most, but with the nut filling, the pastry is just sweet and rich enough for my taste. This is a nice solution for those who find most cinnamon rolls and sticky buns just too sweet. If one wanted a richer dough, another formula for sweet dough could certainly be substituted.


The nut filling (makes about 1.5 cups)


Nut flour (almond or hazelnuts)

125 gms

Granulated sugar

100 gms

Corn syrup

25 gms

Water

Up to 60 gms

Method

Use purchased nut flour or make your own by pulsing frozen nuts in a food processor. Combine all the ingredients except the water. Slowly add the water to make a nice, spreadable consistency. It should not tear the dough when spread. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. The consistency can be adjusted by adding water on the day of use.

I made the filling with frozen unsalted dry-roasted almonds. I processed them to a rather coarse consistency – coarser than coarse-ground flour but finer than “finely chopped.”

As I said, this is a “quest,” so stay tuned for further developments.

David

 

Comments

mcs's picture
mcs

They look great- especially with the pecan 'spokes'.


-Mark

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I'm going to use BRM Hazelnut Flour with some added cinnamon next time. 


David

Marni's picture
Marni

Your rolling and slicing are so even!


Also, I wonder about a pecan and brown sugar filling?  Maybe too sweet for you.


The big question for those with a sweet tooth is did your wife find them sweet enough? :)


Marni

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The filling was plenty sweet. I thought about adding some cinnamon and some chopped pecans.


You're right about "the big question." My wife returns from an out-of-town meeting tonight. We'll see.


David

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I'm with you David on the sweet frosting coated cinnamon buns. Just too  sweet for my taste. I've made sticky buns a time or two but with the intent of giving them to someone who likes that kind of thing.


I'll have to pick up some almond flour and try these. Thanks.


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The interesting thing, to me, was how the very sweet filling plus the pretty un-sweet dough interacted to give just the right over-all sweetness. I think I would actually prefer a slightly sweeter dough and less sweet filling.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

The rolls are lovely and you did a wonderful bake.  My main interest here is the use of 'corn syrup'.  We all I think like to watch our butter intake but sugar can be important and we all love a good flavor to our sweetness levels.  The rolls recipe really caught my eye with use of corn syrup.  Now this is only my opionion...when my aunt told me she had allergic reactions to corn syrup a few years ago was when I became interested about how it reacted in the blood.. glycemic - glucose level!...I'm by far no chemist but from what I read I no longer make a recipe using corn syrup or eat anything that contains it if I can help it...like many store bought jams ect. That's one of the best things about homemade jams..the flavor is better IMHO and doesn't have that glucose shock to your system 'this is what I have read..maybe that's wrong?..sugar is still not that good for you but much better than corn syrup..It's used a lot I believe in products to replace the expense of sugar and give a real boost to add a sweet flavor..maybe Dan DiMuzio could help here or a chemist. 'added' I would like to use honey or agave nector is even lower GI in place of the corn syrup.


Sylvia     

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Good point about the glycemic effect of corn syrup.


I need to read up on the effect of corn syrup as opposed to other sweeteners on the taste and texture of baked goods. I'd be very interested in Dan's input.


The filling has much to recommend it, but  I'm thinking about modifying it in a number of ways.


David

Crider's picture
Crider

I suppose a sugar syrup could be made to substitute for the corn syrup.

Nathan's picture
Nathan

Not having access to corn syrup where I live, I did some research to find a substitute and learned that invert sugar will achieve the same results. It's relatively easy to make at home as long as you have a thermometer.


Nathan

dsoleil's picture
dsoleil

Peter Reinhart has an outstanding recipe for cinnamon rolls that I easily converted to use no added fat.  I believe I subbed soy milk for butter.  They were amazing.  Low fat, whole grain and you can control the amount of sugar you use in the filling.  I ate three straight out of the oven!  A great healthier option for the bread aficionado.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Besides being relatively cheap, corn syrup has a unique function in cooking.


According to Harold McGee, author of "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen," corn syrup is a mix of short chains and longer chains of glucose molecules. The single and two-molecule portion gives the syrup its sweetness. The longer chains produce viscosity. These longer chains form a "tangle" that slows the movement of all molecules in the syrup. The effect of including corn syrup along with sugar is to prevent the single sugar molecules from getting together and crystalizing, which would produce a grainy texture. Corn syrup has a similar effect on water, so it is used in ice cream to prevent the formation of larger ice crystals which would give the ice cream an "icy" texture rather than a smooth one. So that's why commercial sorbets aren't "icy!"


So, in the nut filling, the corn syrup would make it smooth and spreadable and not granular. This effect would not be achieved by a simple sugar syrup made by dissolving sugar in water. In that kind of syrup, the sugar molecules are kept apart by simple dilution with water. If there isn't enough water, crystals form. If there is enough water, the mix is ... well ... watery and runny. 


So, there you have it.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Thank you for taking the time to get the information.  Very interesting to know that's why he uses the corn syrup!  I didn't think it was for flavor.  I would probably just mix the nuts with brown sugar and/or honey/agave and leave out the corn syrup and probably the water too.  It's going to have a little crunch with nuts anyway.  Many ice cream type products can have some scary ingredients.  I'm such a label reader when shopping! 


Sylvia