Monday, October 5, 2009

Friendly Cinnamon Rolls

I think that anyone who has been given or used starters can relate to this: starters, if you're not careful, can multiply like fertile, wild rabbits. Starters such as yogurt, sourdough, or, in my case, Amish friendship bread.

Starters have some live culture in them where you have to care and tend for them, feeding them every few days so they grow. I was given Amish friendship bread starter from a coworker. It had started long ago with some yeast and grew and multiplied, was split and shared so that I had no idea how many generations down my starter was. Directions tell you to mix the goopy mixture every day. On day five, you feed it some fresh milk, flour, and sugar. Mix every day for another four days. Then on day ten you feed it again and then divide it into four. Give three away and restart the process with your kept fourth.

Problem is, after you've given all your friends starter, what are you supposed to do with your extras on day ten? One solution is to just freeze the bags until you need one to bake with. Or, if you just need to slow down the process, you can refrigerate them and it will slow the process down by about half.

What can you make with Amish starter? Everything from cookies, to breads, cakes, biscuits, waffles, brownies and more. A great site for all the variations you can make is found here. I made a chocolate bread when I first got the starter. It was OK, but nothing exciting. Then I saw a recipe for cinnamon rolls. I've been on the hunt for a good cinnamon roll recipe. Considering that cinnamon rolls start with a yeasty bread dough, I figured the starter was perfect for this.

I actually doubled the recipe which made three square pans of rolls. Here I've already rolled up the dough and about to slice.

I put extra butter and cinnamon sugar over the top before baking.

Here are two of my pans. The rolls can be frozen unbaked for up to a month. You just take them out to thaw the night before. Or you can refrigerate if you want to bake them the next day.

So how did they come out? First of all, I was really surprised by just how much they expanded. You see up in the earlier pictures how loosely I put the rolls into the pan - there was a lot of space left. They came out of the oven tight against each other.

Texturewise, the rolls were really tender and moist. I would have preferred a bit more chewiness of bread dough, but this was still an excellent dough. Everyone at work loved them. I'd say it is a very successful outcome using Amish starter for cinnamon rolls.
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