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Thursday, October 11, 2012

rum buns.

Like I said, I'm pretty intent on baking my way through the entire chapter on rum in Lisa Yockelson's book Baking by Flavour. So with these rum buns, I'm nearly there.

While this recipe isn't the most rum-packed of recipes in this chapter, these buns have their merits too. I particularly like the idea of rolling in rum-soaked raisins with the cinnamon-sugar filling. Having said that, I do think the recipe would benefit from a few tweaks.

Firstly, the dough has spices incorporated, and while they may be a natural pairing with rum, spices in bread dough do not work very well for me. I like to taste the natural yeastiness of bread without all the spices interfering. Furthermore, something plain to cushion the cinnamon-sugar, rum-soaked raisins and rum icing would make the rum stand out better. Secondly, perhaps some brown sugar instead of white sugar would help to tone down the overall sweetness and create a nice caramelly filling.

For smothering on of the butter and sugar mixture, this recipe's instructions are a little different than usual. Firstly, you melt butter and stir in some vanilla extract to make a vanilla butter of sorts before brushing it onto the rolled out dough. Then, you let the dough with the melted butter brushed on stand for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you then spread softened butter and press in the sugar mixture as per usual. I don't know if the standing did help the dough to absorb the butter better. I think all the spices in the dough and rum overshadowed the small amount of vanilla. That step is a tad fussy.

I've noticed that most baking times for cinnamon rolls and their ilk are quite long, say 25 minutes and more? I baked my rolls in 10 minutes, and even then I think I could have pulled them out a few minutes before. I feel that there is really no need to bake some kinds of bread until they are golden brown because they would be dry by then. This rule probably applies to bread doughs with low sugar content and without any kind of egg wash. The lower the sugar content, the harder it is to brown. So if it browns, it means that you've most likely overcooked your bread. Of course, breads like brioche and challah with high sugar content brown easily so even if they do turn golden brown it doesn't mean that they are overbaked.

So in sum, these rum buns could be better, but they're not too bad, especially their butter-and-sugar concentrated middles! I hope other bread recipes in this book would turn out better though!

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