5 THINGS TO AVOID
1. NOT ACTIVATING THE YEAST:
You see my cinnamon rolls down there? They look like that because the dough didn’t rise, and for a while I wondered why. Then it struck me like lightning. I didn’t activate the yeast properly. Yeast, in its dry state, is “asleep” and if you attempt to use it in it’s dry state, it won’t release those air bubbles (carbon dioxide) that cause the dough to rise. So to activate it, you must mix it with lukewarm water and set aside for at least 5 minutes. Make sure the water isn’t hot because if it is the yeast will go from being “asleep” to dead. So yeah, avoid that too. You can tell that yeast is active when it starts to foam a little at the top.
2. UNDER KNEADING/OVER KNEADING:
I have to admit, I struggled with this one a lot. I definitely under kneaded the dough, resulting in a flat looking roll with a dense texture. Don’t be scared of kneading your dough, it won’t get hurt and it’s good exercise! Your dough is under kneaded if it looks floppy, tears easily and doesn’t hold its shape when rolled into a ball. Good general practice is to knead the dough, let it sit for 10 minutes and then knead again. Do this a few times till it can hold its shape. On the flip side, over kneading is equally bad. If you are using a mixer to knead, make sure to check how the dough is looking every 3 minutes or so. Over kneaded dough is very tough to fold and easily breaks, because the gluten has been over worked and is too tight. If you are using your hands to knead, not to worry, you will probably wear yourself out before you get to this point.
3. DOUGH WILL NOT RISE IN THE FRIDGE:
Back to the thing about rising dough, it can’t rise in just any place; it needs to rise in a warm place. My mistake was ….. *slow drum roll* …. putting the dough in the fridge. Yes. The fridge. I’m shaking my head so hard now. And there I was, 2 hours later, wondering why my dough was the same size – if not smaller – than when I started out. Don’t let that be your story.
4. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS “TOO MUCH BUTTER”:
At some point any recipe you use is going to tell you to mix butter and brown sugar then spread it on the base of your baking pan so that the bottom of your cinnamon roll is lightly coated. Well, don’t be like me and HEAP that stuff on there. Because at the end of the day, your cinnamon rolls start to fry in the oven – you know, with the butter acting like oil and stuff… In this case, less is more.
5. TURNING UP THE HEAT DOES NOT HELP:
Not long after the rolls were in the oven, I noticed that the sides were browning (probably because they were frying in all that butter) and I checked to see whether the roll was fully baked. It wasn’t. Somewhere in my mind, I rationalized that turning up the oven temperature would fix this. It didn’t. Instead, the roll became hard and crusty on the outside and it was STILL doughy on the inside. Yuck. If you are ever in this situation, turn down the heat and let it slowly bake.
Well that’s all for now. I really hope you have learned from my mistakes. I really hope that I have learned from my mistakes too. I guess we’ll see if I have during my next attempt.