Review: King Arthur’s Flour Cinnamon Bun Mix

A few months ago I bought a Ceramic Cinnamon Roll Baker and Mix from King Arthur’s Flour. I bought it mostly for the baking dish, I really thought it was so pretty and while shaped for cinnamon rolls could really be used for several other dishes as well. The dish came with KAF’s cinnamon bun mix which I was more than happy to try out. This is NOT a sponsored, paid or free product review. I bought this on my own and everything here is my honest and personal opinion.

I will start by saying that as you can see from the photo, this all worked out fine and the recipe was a success. However, I still think there are some things to point out, knowing we were all beginners at one time…

Overall Rating: 4 stars
Flavor – 5 stars, excellent
Instructions – 3 stars, needs clarification
End Result – 5 stars, excellent

As you all know, I can bake, so there are certain things that I know can possibly hurt a recipe, especially one using yeast. For example, if your eggs are cold, straight from the refrigerator and you mix them with yeast and other ingredients, you run the risk of your dough not rising. Also, if the temperature of the water you use is too hot or too cold, the same problem will occur. While some people know this, not everyone does, especially someone new to cooking and baking, someone who might be a customer of King Arthur’s Flour.

Don’t get me wrong, I love their site and they offer some amazing recipes on their blog, and their cookie decorating tips are fabulous. However, in this particular case, I believe some adjustments need to be made to the instructions on the box. After all, not all of KAF’s customers are going to be experienced bakers, they are going to trust that what is printed on the box is gospel and will follow it exactly.

Again, inserting a note here. I followed the recipe exactly, and it was a success, BUT there is a possibility that someone who isn’t sure, especially after the first rise, might toss the mix thinking it didn’t work. 

I remember when I first started baking, especially with yeast, I followed a written recipe exactly, without any sort of deviation, as I didn’t really know what I was doing and wanted to make sure the recipe came out looking like the picture. I would imagine that most people that are starting out will be doing the same thing. So if there are important aspects missing in a recipe because someone assumes that the baker will “just know” then you are setting that baker up for failure.

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  White Chocolate Candy Cane Crescents

Recipe Instruction Issues
First off, I was a little surprised that the instructions did not call for proofing the yeast first. However, it wouldn’t be the first recipe that I’ve put the yeast in directly with the other ingredients, so I moved on. The box includes the sweet dough mix, yeast, glaze mix and cinnamon filling mix. It goes on to say that you will need to provide butter, eggs, water, and salt. It does state that the butter should be softened, but nothing is said about the temperature of the eggs. Most people keep their eggs in the refrigerator. An inexperienced baker will not know to bring the eggs to room temperature. Cold eggs can prevent the dough from rising.

The recipe also states that the water should be lukewarm. Lukewarm might be defined by one person as a completely different temperature than another person. A temperature should have been specified here instead, especially for a beginner! Yeast should be proofed in water between 105 and 115 degrees. Anything colder might not grow the yeast and anything too much hotter will kill it.

The instructions state to combine the provided sweet dough, salt, butter, eggs, water and yeast. You are to knead the dough until smooth, then place it in a greased bowl, cover with a towel, and let it rise for one hour. Mine never rose. Not one inch. I’m going to guess it’s because I used cold eggs. I’m thinking this might be where a beginner would panic, I know I would. My first reaction was complete disappointment, but I forged on.

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  Cranberry Kuchen (Coffee Cake)

Why did I add cold eggs when I knew it might cause a problem? Because I wanted to do a fair review of this product that I spent my hard earned money on. I really feel it’s important for companies to provide thorough instructions on their product that anyone can follow and achieve success with.

So after making the dough, allowing for the rise time, I rolled it out as instructed and spread the filling onto the rolled dough. I rolled it up into a log, which worked very nicely in fact. No sticking to the counter. I cut the log into 9 pieces as instructed and placed them in the ceramic baker. The rise time was an hour and a half. Here’s some progress shots:

As you can see, there isn’t much difference in rise between the two. The first picture was taken after 30 minutes and the second after 60 minutes. They are a little bit closer together, but not what I would expect to see.

After 90 minutes was a different story however. They had finally risen enough to resemble cinnamon rolls! :) There were touching each other at least. That’s a good thing.

And to my delight they baked up perfectly. Even though I initially feared these would be a flop, they were forgiving and beautiful.

I removed them from the pan and set them on a rack in the same order as they were in the pan. Then I glazed them and returned them to the pan for presentation purposes. That simply isn’t necessary, but with such a lovely ceramic dish who wouldn’t want to!

Here’s something else you might like. Try my Quick Orange Rolls or these Amish Pumpkin Rolls

(If you enjoyed this post, I’d truly appreciate a stumble, Digg, facebook share, whatever you like! :) )

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Comments

  1. zerrin says

    These look adorable! I love that ceramic baker too, just for these cute rolls. Thank you for sharing your experience and giving tips. Mom sometimes does the same. I mean she doesn't give some details just as she thinks I already know it:)

  2. Diana H says

    I wouldn't have thought about the eggs being cold, so thanks for that little lesson. Where did you get the lovely pan? They look delicious

  3. Barbara Bakes says

    I love when the King Arthur Flour catalog comes in the mail and have eyed this beauty more than once. I've also wondered about buying the cinnamon roll filling. Was it tons better than using cinnamon and sugar? They look fabulous.

  4. Amanda says

    zerrin – I think that happens more often than people realize. it's never safe to assume LOL

    Diana – The pan is actually what I bought from King Arthur's Flour, the cinnamon roll mix came with the pan :)

    Barbara – the baking pan came with a box that included not just the filling, but everything needed to make the rolls. The cinnamon filling packet was mixed with a little water and became a thin paste which thickened up as it sat. Then you spread it on the dough :) They did taste great!

    Thanks MaryBeth!

  5. Kay says

    I made yeast rolls from scratch one Thanksgiving. The recipe said to add so much sugar, but because I was dieting and wasn't eating sugar,and it was only a small amount, I just added the same amount of Splenda. WRONG!! The rolls did not rise. Found out later yeast requires "sugar" to rise….some kind of chemical reaction or something. Learned my lesson!!

  6. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says

    That is a gorgeous pan. I would have bought it too :D

    The rolls look delicious, I've never really tried making them :(

  7. Lynn says

    Oh I love KAF!! I practically drool when the catalog comes in the fall. I love their recipes too.

    Last week I made their cinnamon pumpkin rolls and they were so good. I didn't use their glaze recipe though. We don't normally like thick glazes.

    Lynn
    http://punkaroonie.blogspot.com/

  8. Amanda says

    Jennifurla – My whole reason for the purchase! :)

    kay – A perfect example. Yes, yeast needs sugar to grow. The lessons we learn!

    Avanika – Thanks, I love the pan too!

    Lynn – I love the catalog too, didn't know they had cinnamon pumpkin rolls, i missed that one :)

  9. Kelsey @ King Arthur Flour says

    These rolls look so scrumptious! Picture perfect! You have such a cute site here. Happy Baking!

  10. Allison@KAF says

    Thanks for this review, Amanda. I'll pass your comments along to our product development team. Glad the rolls came out well for you – the pictures are making me hungry… Happy Baking!

  11. Paula says

    Cute dish. It might take some experimenting to make my own favorite cinnamon roll recipe fit. The cold eggs issue has never crossed my radar before. Guess I count on my warm water to heat them up and it works. Thanks for trying this out for us and reporting.

  12. Ingrid says

    Thank you for your honesty…I apperciate it. All too often I feel like bloggers are giving a thumbs up just because they rcv'd the item to review for free. To be fair if I didn't like an item I just won't blog about but that has to do with my mother's "if you don't have anything nice to say….."

    On an altogether different note I'm surprised the thift store, great finds finding queen actually purchased this pan full price. :)
    ~ingrid

  13. Mags @ the Other Side of 50 says

    I WANT THAT PAN!!!

    As far as not proofing the yeast first, I'm guessing that their mixes contain their instant yeast, which requires no proofing. Possibly?

    Great looking cinnamon buns.

    I STILL WANT THAT PAN!!

  14. marla {family fresh cooking} says

    Great review Amanda, can't believe they did not tell you to proof these. That 90 minutes did wonders, They look crazy delicious.

  15. Bridgett says

    I love your honest review. I had bought this mix a year or so ago and followed the directions on the back, not being an experienced baker and I couldn't get the dough to rise so I like the idea of yours that the info should be more clear for those who do not know much about baking. I love the pan!

  16. Amanda says

    Kelsey and Allison, thanks so much for coming by. The rolls were delicious and I hope the review was helpful to you! :)

    Paula – The recipe and mix only require a small amount of water, I think (if memory serves) it was only 1/4 cup, so it wouldn't be difficult for cold eggs to reduce the temp of the water enough to cause a problem :)

    Ingrid – LOL! Well I did have nice things to say :) the rolls were very good, I just felt that the instructions needed a bit of clarification. I will always be honest in a review, and there have been some products I haven't posted at all as well. And yes, I am the thrift store queen, but that pan was just too pretty to pass up :)

    Mags – I don't think it was instant/quick rise yeast. There's two long rises in the recipe, the first is an hour, then after rolling out the dough and making the rolls, another 90 minutes. Instant yeast would most likely be half that time. I've seen other recipes where you add the yeast right in with other ingredients, especially ones made in a bread maker, but I think the yeast worked slowly in my case because of the cold eggs. All in all it worked out fine, but I'm guessing I would have had a fluffier roll if the yeast had activated when it was supposed to, in the first rise.

    Bridgett – While I'm not happy to hear that your rolls were a flop, it's good to know that I'm not losing my mind and your comment reaffirms that clarification is indeed needed on the box.

    Thanks for your feedback everyone! :) And I love the pan too :)

  17. sarah caron says

    Well, they certainly look good! YUM! But the instructions should be more clear — especially if it calls for a lot of cooking steps like this.

    And I LOVE that baker.

  18. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme says

    I agree with you, Amanda, that the instructions should be written in such a way that any skill level baker would be able to produce an acceptable result. As an experienced baker, I would have known as you would, to have the ingredients at room temp, but beginners might not. That being said, I love King Arthur's flour web site and their products. They just don't come any better than that company!

  19. Amanda says

    Thanks ladies :)

    Katrina – KAF was here, they left a couple of comments above. I had tweeted it to them, they said that they will give the info to their product development team :)

  20. Michelle says

    I am looking for different ways to use the cinnamon roll Mix, BESIDES cinnamon rolls…..Any clever ideas???

    • says

      Honestly, you have me stumped! Did you come up with anything? The only thing I can think of is to make them more like dinner rolls and fut the filling on top? :-/ Sorry, not much help!

  21. Greg says

    Hi… just stumbled across this old review you did. Just curious, since you used cold eggs, did you just allow longer time for the rising? From what you wrote I don’t get the impression you started over with a different mix and room temperature eggs? We are a new retailer and we are thinking of adding KAF products to our gourmet food wall. I appreciate your tips that we can pass along to our customers.

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