The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is there really any benefit to baking cinnamon rolls close together?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Is there really any benefit to baking cinnamon rolls close together?

I made Zolablue's cinnamon rolls, or a heavily modified version thereof, this morning.

The original calls for 25-30 minutes @ 375 F. Mine were still raw at 30, so I baked them for 40. They were still raw-ish (but edible) at 40, but the tops would burn if I let them bake any longer, so I took them out.

I know the reason they didn't bake through: the space I left between then (~1") pre-proofing went to 0" by the time they were fully proofed. Once oven spring kicked in, it was squish city. No room for them to expand.

It seems like every picture you see of cinnamon rolls, the final product has them all squished together.

Question(s): Is there some logic to baking them in close proximity to each other? Wouldn't it be better to pan the rolls such that they'd never touch or squish each other?

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

On second thought, I'm guessing that's exactly how they're supposed to be panned, so likely 2.5" space between each roll instead of 1". That should be enough space for full expansion.

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

Rolls that touch at the sides produce soft fluffy sides. Rolls that don't touch end up being crusty. 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

If they don't touch, they get crusty. Hmm. Now that one thinks of it, it makes perfect sense. If only one could manage to think before putting things in the oven. ;)

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

They didn't touch, alas, so was expecting crusty rolls.

They did get kinda' crusty, but not too bad. I was standing by the oven, though, and ready to remove them before they turned to stone. The important problem is solved, however: no raw dough. Woot! :)

The result was not unlike those Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Buns you buy in the market. The ones that comes in a canister (and scare the bejeezus out of me when they explode on opening).

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I prefer to space them so that they will be in contact by the time they are fully proofed.  It seems to me that they are moister that way.  And, as lazybaker has noted, they aren't crusty.  My preference is for moister/softer cinnamon rolls, not drier/crustier cinnamon rolls.

As you are experiencing, one does need to know how much dough will fit in a specific pan.  It sounds as though you may need to choose a larger pan next time so that the rolls have adequate space for expansion and so that the heat can penetrate the dough before the tops burn.

Paul

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I was surprised by how much they expanded in the oven. There was still 1/2" space between them after (what I thought) was a full proof, but they would have needed 1 1/2" more to spread out and bake properly.

I can't eat that many, so I'll have to find a pan that can fit 4 comfortably, maybe a 10 x 10" rectangular cake pan, giving each roll 5"x5" comfort zone.
 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

That worked like a charm.

I gave them 2" of space and they baked up beautifully and completely. No raw dough this time and they look very nice.

Now to figure out how to keep the cinnamon-butter-sugar filling from leaking out onto the pan during bake. I think someone mentioned guar gum or xantham gum (as emulsifiers).

rolls's picture
rolls

i've seen recipes where u actually use a piece of the dough to roll out and line the buns with.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

To prevent the filling from escaping, you mean? 

That's an odd, but it might work if you can get a proper seal. 

 

Breadandwine's picture
Breadandwine

Hi Thomas

I make Chelsea buns, often, which are shaped similarly to your cinnamon rolls, and just huddle them together on a baking tray. 

That's what I do in my teaching sessions, but, if I'm making them at home, I bake them under cover:

http://nobreadisanisland.blogspot.com/2010/08/chelsea-buns-undercover.html

It does sometimes happen that the buns on the outside are ready before the ones in the middle. In that case I just remove them and put the rest back in the oven.

Cheers, Paul

 

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Thanks, BnW.

I wanted to see just how much they'd expand if unencumbered, so I baked them on a sheet pan, giving each roll plenty of room to "stretch its legs". I was surprised they expanded so much, from ~2" fully proofed to 4.5" baked. Giant rolls!

I placed them on a pan similar to yours, just a lot more room between them.

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

I think baking the rolled buns so that they touch helps limit excessive sideways expansion and keep the filling in place.  Instead of gums or emulsifiers, you can just brush the dough with a beaten egg before layering on the filling, or include egg directly in the filling to help it stay in place.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I never considered egg. You think it would help bind the butter-cinnamon filling?

I'd think the butter would still melt, but much more open to using egg than emulsifiers like xantham or guar gum. 

FlourChild's picture
FlourChild

Yes, I think egg will help a lot.  You may need to limit the amount of butter in the filling- you could use a small amount of brown butter to get a lot of flavor out of a little butter.  But mixing up softened butter with egg and brown sugar (if those are your filling ingredients) is the way to go.  The egg flavor works well with the dough, it helps bind all the ingredients to each other and to the dough, and it will even expand a little in the oven to help prevent gaps in the sprial.

When I make brioche sprial rolls (sticky buns), I coat the bottom of the pan with a caramelized sugar-butter-cream mixture.  The dough I spread with beaten egg and then sprinkle generously with chopped toasted pecans and chopped chocolate.  Then they get baked to an internal temp of about 180F, covered with foil if they are starting to get too brown.  When unmolded, the caramel is on top, shiny and toasty brown. 

If the butter just won't work in your filling, even with the egg, consider putting it on the bottom of the pan and then also brushing it (melted) on the tops of the rolls just before baking.  I like that you feel like the rolls don't already have enough butter in the dough, you need to add more to the filling :)