“Torn, slightly burnt, and with a bottom soaked in melted sugar, the ‘exploding’ cinnamon loaf lay on my cooling rack with the air of a beached whale,” he wrote on his blog.
The Everyday Cinnamon Rolls recipe takes a regular cinnamon bun recipe and makes it lighter and less labor intensive. While Andrea did not develop the recipe, she was surprised to hear that one of our recipes did not work. On average, every recipe is tested by approximately 150 readers before it is published, and we guarantee success. It was time to investigate.
She, along with test kitchen intern Mary Ellen Rice, went into the kitchen to remake the recipe. They baked up two versions: one following the recipe as written, and one recreating the experience Avidan had blogged about.
The first version, made following the recipe steps as written, turned out perfectly — and judging by the hovering test kitchen employees who were ready to swoop in and snatch a piece, it was a crowd pleaser. Below, I’m including snapshots from my iPhone.
For the second version, Andrea and Mary Ellen tried to recreate the problems that Avidan wrote about. First problem: the dough was overly sticky.
“When I think of sticky dough, I imagine small amounts adhering to my hands,” he wrote. “This dough covered my entire hand every time I tried to do something with it.”
After reading the blog post, Andrea hypothesized that because Avidan converted the recipe from ounces to grams, there must have been a measurement error — most likely erring on the side of too little flour. In recreating his version of the recipe, they put in less flour and made an overly sticky dough.
Second problem: With a sticky dough, Avidan was unable to create cinnamon rolls, and instead baked a cinnamon log. It tore and leaked while baking.
“All around the loaf were puddles of burning sugar, leaking from various locations….and promptly tore in two when I tried lifting it off the sheet,” he wrote.
Andrea and Mary Ellen rolled the dough into a log, put it in the oven and waited for it to “explode.” It didn’t actually explode, but it did tear in places.
So, here’s some advice for everyone from Andrea:
1. Don’t feel like you have to convert ounces to grams for accuracy — in fact, you’re more likely to create problems while converting. If you have a good scale, it will be accurate.
2. When a recipe says to roll the dough into a certain shape, follow the directions. According to Andrea, this particular recipe makes a biscuit dough, which has less “give” to it. When shaped into rolls, there’s plenty of space for air to escape. In a log shape, air gets trapped and will force the dough to tear.
3. When a recipe says to transfer the dough onto a lightly floured counter, follow the directions. The “short-cut” of turning the dough out on a lightly floured baking sheet can make things trickier in the long-run to execute. Counters don’t move around on you the way baking pans do.
Thank you, Avidan, for giving us the opportunity to investigate this recipe, and to snack on some delicious cinnamon rolls. Hope you will try the recipe again and report back on how your baking adventures turn out.