Thursday, December 23, 2010

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns using Tong Zhong

Cinnamon buns are another favorite enriched bread for my family. I used whole wheat to make the bread more nutritious. Once again, this is the advantage of DIY.

Ever attracted by the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon buns or pretzels at the shopping mall? It is hard to resist, right? I think those stores are strategically placed, not in the food court, but all throughout the mall so that the aroma can easily reach the shoppers.

 I don't remember which mall it is, but there are more than two pretzel stores in one mall. And you can imagine how profitable they are. Making it your own will cost only a tiny fraction of it.

Sorry, I got sidetracked... back to baking. I usually make the cinnamon buns the night before I want to serve them. After the first rise, I roll them out, put the filling in, cut them and let them have a slow rise in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning, let them warm up to room temperature and bake. It only takes about an hour and the aroma of the cinnamon will wake up my kids!! Good for Christmas morning breakfast.

Ingredients for a 13x9 inch pan:

280g unbleached all purpose flour
200g whole wheat flour
64g honey
8g instant yeast (or 10g active dry yeast)
1 large egg
185g milk
6g salt
30g unsalted butter


2 tbsp cinnamon powder
3/4 cup sugar
semi sweet chocolate chips(optional, just to satisfy the chocoholic!)

120g tong zhong: 20g bread flour and 100g water, heat to a paste and cool to room temperature

1)  Refer to tong zhong for bread making technique. After the first rise, roll the dough out to a rectangle about 14x10 inches.

2)  Using a spoon, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on the dough, leaving about an half to an inch on the borders. Use the back of the spoon to slightly press the filling down.

3)  Gently roll up from the long end of the dough. Try to roll it a little bit tight.

4)  Pinch to seal at the end.

5)  Slide dental floss underneath the roll.

6)  Position the floss in the middle of the roll and cut by pulling the floss to the opposite ends.

7)  Finish off the rest of the roll. There should be a total of 8 rolls. Put them evenly spaced on an oiled baking pan.

8)  Either let it proof the second time until they touch each other, then brush with egg wash and bake at 350F for 30 minutes or cover and put them in the fridge overnight.

9)  If they are in the fridge overnight, take them out the next morning. Let them come to room temperature, brush with egg wash and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 30 minutes.

1)  Using all purpose flour will make this kind of enriched bread a softer texture than if using bread flour.
2)  Honey will give the bread a darker color and make it softer than if using sugar. If using sugar, use 50g.
3)  Make sure you leave a border without the fillings. It won't seal if there is filling on the dough. You will have more than enough cinnamon sugar. Save it for next time.
4)  The dental floss is the best tool to cut the dough. It makes the cut smooth and does not squash the dough like if you use a knife.
5)  If you refrigerate the buns overnight, you can speed up the warming in the morning by putting a pot of hot water in the bottom of an oven together with the cold buns for 30 minutes. Another advantage of a slow rise in the fridge is to let the flour develop more flavor.


  1. pheobe,

    can this receped add vital gluten to make the bun more fluffy and soft?

  2. Yes, Sarah. I put vital wheat gluten to all the whole wheat bread I make since I found out its wonderful property.


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