Yeast Baking For The Win!
This week has been all about the cinnamon roll. Not a fancy or out of the ordinary cinnamon roll. Just a really good version of the classic. The OG Cinnamon Roll (as the kids would say.)
I love yeast doughs. I have loved them since I baked bread with mom when I was very little. For a time she made all of our bread – hearty, healthy, simple loaves. But there would always be just enough leftover dough to make a small loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. Roll out the dough, spread with cinnamon sugar and raisins, roll tightly and nestle it into the small loaf pan. I just love the yeastiness of yeast doughs. I’m sure my general love of licking the bowl started with getting to lick the bread dough spoon when we finished.
When we had the inn, I didn’t make yeast breakfast items very often. They take advance planning – and while I am the queen of advance, organizational planning – somehow I never got a yeast dough into rotation. Partly I realize now this would have been a space issue – you need a place for the dough to do it’s thing overnight and we were tight on space for a good portion of the year. Partially it is just habits that get formed. The early morning mixing-of-muffins was a habit I got into. A groove that I enjoyed.
Anyway, in my new life I’m finding myself in the groove of yeast doughs. Advance planning and getting doughs prepped and resting and ready for an early morning bake. They are pretty simple, since time is what they need more than anything else. And even though most of the product of these early morning sessions heads straight out the door, I get to keep the smell of early morning baking all to myself, and that’s not nothing.
During a recent early morning bake time I started noodling about my Thanksgiving menu and then remembered that I went through a phase, many years ago, when I regularly made cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. And these delicious pumpkin yeast rolls for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The first time I remember making the pumpkin rolls was in a friend’s kitchen when I lived in Boston. She was hosting Thanksgiving for all of her family. I had picked up an overtime shift on the hospital ward where I worked at the time and so had to go to work at 3pm but I was hanging out with her first, making the rolls and enjoying, arguably, the best part of Thanksgiving – the cooking.
Now, I’m sure I hadn’t made these rolls before this time, and here I was confident enough to make them for a friend – in fact leave them to be baked and eaten while I wasn’t even there to make sure they came out alright. And this is the thing, I think people get nervous about yeast doughs. But, you know what? They are actually pretty simple. Yes, you have to follow the directions, and you have to think ahead about the time you’ll need. But I’m here to say – try it. The holidays are coming – make something yeasty for dinner, for breakfast. I promise you won’t be disappointed and your house will smell divine.