My kids grew up thinking Easter breakfast meant Grammie’s Old Fashioned Cinnamon Buns.
AND until this year, every Easter I can remember involved receiving a care package from my mom complete with Easter goodies and of course, a full supply of Grammie’s cinnamon buns.
This year, my mom is recovering from a nasty broken wrist, so in addition to our required social distancing, the kids pretty much gave up on the idea of our traditional Easter breakfast.
But momma to the rescue this year, because not only do I have just a little time on my hands, I ALSO happen to have YEAST.
With my mom’s guidance, I set about trying to replicate Grammie’s Old Fashioned Cinnamon Buns and save our Easter breakfast tradition. Remember, this recipe comes from my mom’s mom, and who knows who before that – so it is a very traditional recipe.
Here is the original recipe!
Hence all my questions below…
YEAST – SCARY YEAST!!
I have to say, I have always been afraid of yeast. I just feel like there is so much that can go wrong and with the yeast shortage as of late, I was even more afraid of screwing up. I had 3 packages of yeast in my pantry – just what the recipe called for. If I screwed this up, my children would give me a hard time for sure!
The biggest thing for me, is to remember that “lukewarm” water is actually quite warm (around 100 degrees F) – this ensures that the yeast will activate properly. As a side note I used Fleischmanns Active Dry Yeast for this recipe.
So – I went for it… 15 minutes later we certainly had “lift off!”
The remainder of the recipe is quite simple – eggs, sugar, flour, oil etc. BUT here is a little tidbit you might not know when making recipes with yeast that also have milk. You need to SCALD the milk. Of course, I had no idea why or what this was for, but my mom filled me in.
So – in the “old days” scalded milk was used in recipes to kill bacteria and an enzyme that prevented thickening your recipe. Today, most milk is pasteurized, so the bacteria and enzyme are already gone. BUT – scalding milk actually raises the temperature and denatures the whey proteins. It helps dissolve yeast and makes for faster proofing, larger volume, and a fluffier product. It also makes for a smoother dough with better moisture retention. So I guess we better do it…
So how do we scald milk?
Well – literally just bring it to a very low simmer on the stove for a few minutes and you are good to go. Once I scalded the milk, I then had another question for my mom – do you wait for it to cool down? Or do you just add it right away.
Mom’s advice was to wait for it to cool – almost to the temp you would serve a baby’s bottle at… inside of the wrist, just lukewarm. Then you can add it to the rest of the ingredients.
The rest of the recipe is simple but time consuming – in the sense that you add all the ingredients together and wait for the dough to rise. Funnily enough the actual recipe does not really “say” how to make the buns – just the dough!! I guess in those days, they figured you SHOULD know how to put together a cinnamon bun.
I will say, that I managed fine without the detailed instructions, once the dough was completed. I muddled through creating a rectangle with my dough (after separating the dough into three) and then I eyeballed the butter and brown sugar.
Now – keep in mind, I had never done this before. So my buns were not perfect, but it is in the imperfection that makes them good, right?? LOL
Putting them in the dish to bake, I would say that my mom advised me to make sure I leave space between each bun – for it to rise – prior to putting in the oven. So, I followed her directions but think perhaps I should have left a little more room between. It doesn’t change the taste of the buns, but maybe the pull apart factor?
I did let the buns rise for an additional 30 minutes after placing in the baking dish prior to baking.
So I think my first try at Grammie’s Old Fashioned Cinnamon Buns went pretty well. A traditional recipe for sure – these buns don’t have a sugary glaze or cream cheese frosting. They are simple. But like homemade bread fresh out of the oven, absolutely to die for!
Wishing you all a different, but still delightful Easter. As we all find new ways to connect, I feel very blessed that this week as I was able to connect to several generations through a day in the kitchen. This year, it will be ME who delivers the care package of a cinnamon buns to my mom – safely left on the doorstep of course! Who thought that Grammie’s Old Fashioned Cinnamon Buns would become SO important to our family – looking forward to the day my kids call me for the recipe 🙂
Here’s hoping these buns become a tradition in your home as well!
Grammie's Traditional Cinnamon Buns
Grammies Traditional Cinnamon Buns will have your kids loitering in the kitchen waiting for them to bake!
**pay attention to all my notes included!”
3/4 cup lukewarm water (approx. 100 degrees F)
1 tbsp. sugar
3 pkgs active yeast
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup oil (I used Canola)
2 cups milk (scalded – see notes in blog post)
1 tsp salt
9 cups flour
1/2 cup very soft butter
Dissolve 1 tablespoon sugar in 3/4 cup lukewarm water and sprinkle yeast over. Let stand for 15 minutes. In a separate bowl beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat. Add melted butter, oil, milk, and salt. Mix thoroughly and add dissolved yeast mixture. Gradually add flour. If you have a bread hook attachment on your mixer use it here to save your arm strength! Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Put dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size (approx. 1 hour) Grammie suggests putting in the oven with the oven light turned on as it is a nice secure place for the dough to rise with a little warmth from the oven light. Punch down and let rise again until almost double (about 30 minutes). Divide dough into 3.
With each section of dough create a rectangle approx. 10″ x 16″. Layer with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins, if using. Roll from the long side into a log. Cut into 12 buns. Place buns in a greased dish with room between them.
Let rise with damp tea towel covering for about 30 minutes.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes in a preheated 350F oven.
Repeat with remaining 2 sections of dough.
If your kids will allow it, let them cool 5 minutes in dish and then turn out onto a cooling rack. When completely cool, I store in re-sealable bags and freeze. YUM!
If you are looking for a yummy Easter side dish to add to your table check out our Asparagus Feta Crustless Tart HERE.