From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...These sweet rolls are a wonderful addition to a holiday breakfast or brunch. The recipe, which comes from Gourmet magazine, has been around for a while, and a substantial number of people have actually made the rolls and reviewed the recipe. You can read their comments, here. The reviews are mixed, but there are more favorable than negative comments and these rolls are good enough to try, as long as you are aware of pitfalls that might be encountered when you actually go to make them. Some feel the rolls are heavy. In a perfect world, flour would be weighed and this complaint would disappear, but until that happens, I think it's fair to assume that dense breads are the result of too much flour being used to make them. Over the years, I have consistently used the fluff, spoon and level technique for all my baked goods, so I've pretty much overcome dense and heavy breads. I hasten to add I have other problems, but that one has been put to rest. The dough used to make these rolls is tacky but it is workable and it can be formed after it has risen. Many feel the rolls aren't sweet enough. I love barely sweet sweet things, but I make it a point to drizzle half the rolls with a glaze to please those who have a more demanding sweet tooth. Some also feel the rolls need more spice. I honestly think that more cinnamon and orange zest would be too much of a good thing and I would especially caution against the use of too much orange zest. I think a tablespoon is fine, but it is important to grate only the rind. The white pith is bitter and can spoil the rolls. I think these are glorious to look at and I love the navel that is cut into the formed rolls. I personally think these are delicious and I hope that those of you who try them will like them as much as I do. Here's how they are made.
Orange Cinnamon Sweet Rolls...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Gourmet magazine
3 tablespoons warm water + 2 teaspoons water at room temperature, divided use
1 (1/4-ounce) package or 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar, divided use
5 to 5-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh orange zest
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup warm milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until tepid, + butter for greasing bowl
4 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes, or submerged in a bowl of warm water (105°F) 5 minutes, divided use
1) Stir together warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar in bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, whisk 4 cups flour with zest, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.
3) Add milk, vanilla, butter, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar to yeast. Mix at medium speed until combined. Beat in 3 eggs, 1 at a time, then add flour mixture and mix until combined well.
4) Replace paddle attachment with dough hook attachment and mix at medium-low speed, adding more flour (1 to 1 1/2 cups), 1/4 cup at a time, until a smooth but slightly sticky dough forms, about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a work surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic (dough will remain slightly sticky), about 3 minutes. Form dough into a ball and transfer to a large buttered bowl, turning dough to coat with butter. Cover bowl with kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
5) Line a 17- by 14-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
6) Turn dough onto work surface and knead several times to remove air. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces. Cup your hand over 1 piece and, using your thumb and pinkie to keep ball inside your cupped hand, push dough with heel of your hand against work surface while rolling in a circular motion (clockwise or counterclockwise) to form a smooth ball. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, arranging balls 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1-1/4 hours.
7) Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk together remaining egg with remaining 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl. Cut a 1-inch X (1/4 inch deep) in top of each roll with kitchen shears. Brush rolls lightly with egg wash and bake until golden and rolls sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer rolls to a rack and cool, at least 15 minutes. Yield: 12 rolls.
Rolls can be baked 1 day ahead and cooled completely, then kept in sealed plastic bags or a large airtight container at room temperature. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven 10 minutes.
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