Bread, Sweet Buns/Rolls

Cinnamon Buns

January 22, 2012

I used to be afraid to use yeast in baking. I only really tried using it last summer for the first time, making pizza dough. I think after a few tries I have gotten the hang of it. The very first time I ‘killed’ the yeast because the water was too hot, you know they’re quite sensitive to heat. But after a few tries you get the hang of it, and realize how warm the water/milk should be for the little yeast granules to ‘live’ and foam up. I make pizza dough quite often now, and I don’t even think I have ever bought a pizza shell from the grocery store since Adam and I began living together last september. Or really any time before then. This month, we decided we wouldn’t spend any money eating out. November and December were both quite busy, and we seemed to be eating out quite a lot. While it is not only costly for the wallet, it’s also not healthy to always be eating at restaurants or fast food. While I don’t think I’ve eaten at a ‘fast food’ restaurant like McDonalds for quite a few years now, we did begin eating a lot of Tim Horton’s this past summer. We have never even ordered take out to our apartment, no pizza deliveries, no Chinese food. The only thing we really ever go out for, or bring back to our house is Sushi, because lets face it you cannot make it as well, or for as cheap as they can at a restaurant. There is no ‘take out menu’ drawer at our place. Only fresh ingredients in the cupboards and fridge.

Adam had to work on the island for three weeks in November, eating out every meal of the day. So when he would come home on the weekend he was happy to be eating healthy meals made at home. So far this month we have not spent any money going out to restaurants. We have however gone out twice now, once with Adam’s parents who took us out to dinner, and once this weekend to the Secret Supper Soiree which I won tickets to. It has been nice not going out to eat. While I do enjoy dining out, I also love to cook myself so it’s not a big deal to stay in. Many people think of going out as a convenience, but making a homemade meal is quite convenient, and there are always leftovers for the next day. We’ve been eating a lot of soups, such as the Italian Ribollita soup I made before, and chili. I have also found that there are many things we buy from a store that we can make ourselves. I even began making granola bars, instead of buying them, as Adam takes a couple with him for lunch every day. They are much healthier, and you can add things like pumpkin and flax seeds.

I remember when I was younger my mother would make pizza dough, and then use the extra to make my brother and I cinnamon buns, and of course my dad who was always wanting ‘something sweet’ for dessert. She would always add raisins and nuts, usually walnuts that we had on hand. It was a special treat when she did. I remember they would disappear quite fast. My mom came over today and got to taste them, I think they are as good as the ones she made us. There’s just something about warm cinnamon buns right from the oven. I had wanted to make these for a while now, but had yet to get around to it. They are worth the wait, and take about two hours from start to finish. We also brought a few over to Adam’s sister, who has a bun of her own in the oven. Adam could become an uncle any day! But for the sake of his sister, not too soon haha. These are perfectly fluffy, and just sweet enough. I didn’t use a large amount of sugar in the dough or in the filling, so you don’t feel too bad eating them 😉 And the whole wheat dough makes them healthy..ish.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns
adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen 

Time: 1 1/2 hours to rise, 20 minutes to bake.

1 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
raisins (optional)
walnuts (optional)


  1. Warm the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until it reaches 105 degrees. I suggest using a thermometer, I love mine since I bought it and it has come in very handy.
  2. Pour the milk into a mixing bowl, I used my kitchenaid bowl. Add to the milk 2 1/2 tsp. of active dry yeast, and a pinch of sugar. Let the mixture stand until it begins to look foamy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the 1/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, 2 eggs, and flour. Using the paddle attachment mix for 30 seconds. Switch to the dough hook, and continue for about four minutes until dough becomes smooth. Alternatively, you can knead dough by hand.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a large bowl that is well greased, and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
  5. Once it has risen, sprinkle some flour on to the countertop and lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a large rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Brush the dough with 1/3 cup melted butter using a pastry brush and sprinkle evenly with sugar and cinnamon. I just used a handful of sugar, and a lot of cinnamon. You can make them as sweet as you like. Cover with nuts and raisins evenly.
  7. Roll the dough up starting with the longer side and cut into approximately 12 rolls.
  8. Arrange the rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover again with a tea towel and let rise for about 30 minutes. I also used a muffin tin for the extras, and baked them in that. It worked really well for small cinammon bun/muffins.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

You can leave them plain, or mix cream cheese with icing sugar to make an icing.

Do you eat out quite often?

Do you prefer cooking at home than dining out?

Have you baked with yeast before? What are your favourite recipes?

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  • Reply Lianna January 23, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Alicia, these look amazing! I’ve always been so intimidated by yeast in my baking after many failed attempts in the past. This recipe looks pretty manageable though, maybe I’ll give it a shot!

    I can totally understand the whole eating out habit. Last month was insane not only in the amount of money I spent on dining out but the frequency as well. I’m not the best cook though. You seem to be very skilled in the culinary area. Post more recipes (preferably ones for newbies like me)!

    • Reply Alicia January 23, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      Thanks Lianna! Once you try baking/cooking with yeast you get the hang of it! I definitely suggest using a thermometer though, because when I first tried to use use I think I killed them with hot water haha. It has to be warm, but not too hot for them to ‘grow.’ And yes the eating out habit sneaks up on you! I didn’t realize how much we did until we decided to not go out for this month. It was a lot easier to just eat at home, and try and save money as well. I will definitely try to post some more recipes 🙂 I will post the ones I have made the most this month soon. Thanks!

  • Reply Heidi @ Food Doodles January 25, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    These look great! I already make my own whole grain bread with yeast so I’m not afraid of it(although that took a long time to get over, haha!) 😀 I love that these are whole wheat – I can’t wait to try them 🙂

    • Reply Alicia January 25, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      Thanks Heidi! I have not quite made bread yet! Although my boyfriend keeps asking that I make it for him to use for sandwiches. I think homemade whole wheat bread would be delicious! That will be my next adventure into yeast baking!

  • Reply Niki January 27, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    These look amazing! I love cinnamon rolls, but am trying to switch to all whole wheat/grain products. I know there is whole whole wheat, but I’m skeptical!
    I was wondering how they would be with the addition of whole wheat instead of all purpose, but they still look soft and delicious. I can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply Alicia January 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Niki – These are just as fluffy as all-purpose and white flour cinnamon buns! Just a tad healthier 😉 They rise up wonderfully, and when you roll out the dough its perfectly soft and easy to work with. I did not add a ton of sugar either, but love cinnamon spice! They were definitely not dripping in sugar – which is nice.

  • Reply Mel (Sharky Oven Gloves) January 28, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    After a few complete failures, baking with yeast used to really intimidate me, but I’m getting better at it – I think stubbornness and practice really help! I haven’t tried making cinnamon rolls yet, and these look delicious and straightforward, so I might make them my next yeast-baking project…!

    • Reply Alicia January 28, 2012 at 7:06 PM

      Mel – yes it takes practice! I defininitely did not succeed upon my first try with using yeast, I killed them with too hot water, and it did not double in size, and was quite hard when baked as a pizza crust. I really reccommend buying a thermometer, they are a life saver! Hope you have better luck in the future and give these a try!

  • Reply Weekly Menu Planning » Bakeaholic March 19, 2012 at 8:38 PM

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