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.
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.
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!
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