Extra Fluffy Brioche Cinnamon Roll (Cooking With Children Edition)

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About: Hi I'm PieBaby. I love hosting brunches, baking pies and gardening. Welcome to my Instructables page where everybody can be a kitchen siren.

Want to impress your family and friends with the most delectable Cinnamon rolls they have ever tasted? Wait, your kid made it?!

Gurl, I've got you covered.

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Step 1: Introduction to Our Agenda

Welcome everybody to today's new, slightly different food Instructables' post.

In this particular post, I will be sharing with you my to-die-for, not-so-secret "secret" recipe to the softest, the fluffiest, THE YUMMIEST homemade cinnamon roll around! No need to go to the mall and buy a $6 Cinnabon anymore (tho i'm still a big of Cinnabon Kat Cole *salutes you) You can and you will make these because they are just too darn good not to be shared with your loved ones. I will let you know now, that there are two major different components to this post, that is the recipe; and the educational approach I am implementing, that involves including children to participate in your baking/cooking session. Let me elaborate further below.

About The Recipe

My recipe involves using a Chinese bread making technique called the Tang Zhong method. Yes it is a French Brioche recipe but the reason I added the Tang Zhong technique is because 1) It yields a fluffier, lighter bun, 2) It remains moist and supple even till the next day and 3) It's foolproof and flexible to mistakes. In addition to that, the brioche recipe itself gives the bun a great rich, buttery eggy flavor, that's why we start to include them in our burgers, grilled cheese etc.

Cooking with Children Edition

To add on to this post, I will be teaching and giving you tips & tricks on how to involve children in your baking session. We will be focusing on pre-school age to kindergarteners today, but if you have older kids with you, if anything it will be easier because their motorskills are better developed. This will be a great fun learning session for the stay-at-home-parent, grandparents, group baking session, more experienced sitter/nanny and even teachers who are seeking new ways to implement a hands-on approach to teach their students about real-life skills.

Step 2: Why Bother Cooking With Children?

When you were little, were you intrigue by mom scooping flour? Or grandma rolling out her pie dough and beautifully crimping the edges? Or a particular spice that fills the air when dad is cooking? For me, I have kept the fond memories of the smell of butter, sugar and vanilla being creamed in the mixer. My mom would then allow me to scoop flour and i was mesmerized by the white cloud of flour as it got mixed into the batter. It's the little things that manage to ingrain into our minds. Whether or not you may or may not have a positive kitchen role models in your lives, it's never too early or too late to teach or be that person.

Being a SAHM (stay at home mom) of a kindergartener, a preschooler and a 2 year old whirlwind toddler, I try to find ways to keep them busy. Not that boredom is bad (if anything it's essential), but including them in my daily chores will give them a sense of awareness about what goes on in real life: cleaning, cooking, laundry, chores etc.

Do take note about their capabilities within their own age group.

Little ones ranging from 2-3 years old may have limited motorskills, if anything they prefer making a mess. Which is OKAY because that's how they learn. Textures, color, noise. It's all about sensory play. Ensure tools are lightweight, plastic and ingredients are safe to consume if accidentally swallowed (chocolate chips, sprinkles, royal icing decorations are okay. Raw ingredients like flour, eggs are big no-nos)

Children ranging from 4-5 years old have better attention span and can understand simple instructions. They are also more keen to doing things correctly (but not perfectly which is OKAY). They are able to scoop & pour ingredients (but not accurately), mix loose batters, use cookie cutters, shape dough into balls, spread frosting, sprinkle sprinkles as decorations and if they ambitious enough, attempt to pipe. I said 'attempt' because some tools may make it either easier or difficult to achieve.

Older children ranging from 6-10 years old (depending on their kitchen experience) have better means of handling kitchen tools and equipment (with adult supervision of course) and carry/mix thicker batter. They would be able to replicate vision to reality, for example: Able to decorate a frosted cookie cake using a theme. If a garden theme was given, the child could independently produce a final product in correlation to the theme. For example produce a cookie that is frosted red with black spots like a ladybug or pipe a simple buttercream flower.


SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

1. Do NOT leave a child unattended in the kitchen. Spills, cuts, burns, entanglement can occur at any time with or without your presence. If you must attend to something else, turn off all appliances and inform the child to exit the kitchen and wait for a few moments. If you have an adult assistant (dad, grandparent) ask if they could watch them for a few.

2. Use age appropriate tools and equipment. If a younger child would like to attempt to cut or shape something and need cutting tools, use a kid's kitchen knife, a disposable plastic knife or a butter knife instead. If the recipe calls for complicated slices (for ex this cinnamon roll recipe), the adult must do it on behalf. Same goes to electronic handheld/stand mixer. The adult MUST help as these electronic equipments are extremely heavy and dangerous if not used correctly.

3. Ensure girl's hair is up and in a bun. Long hair and fringes can easily get caught in mixers and can lead to a really bad accidents.

4. Use proper standing stools. Using a flimsy chair can lead to child falling face first on the counter or fall sideways potentially hitting their head on hard floors. Do not allow children of any age to sit on the counter.

5. Let adults do heat related steps and directions. Whether it is a microwave, electric stove, gas burner, oven. Have an adult help in inserting the cookie pan into the oven or melt the chocolate for the child. Children are not the best in estimating high temperatures. just let the adults do this part.

6. Use common sense. If the child is having trouble doing anything, either help or show them correctly. Adults are better at controlling a situation, so if you see that a child is endangering him/herself, stop whatever you are doing and prevent an accident from happening first.

So now that we've passed this part, let's get to it!

Step 3: The Master Recipe

Ingredients for the Water Roux Tang Zhong:

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1/2 cup of water

Ingredients for the Yeast mixture:

2 tablespoon of white granulated sugar

1 and half teaspoon of active rise yeast

1/3 cup of warm milk

Ingredients for the Brioche:

3 cups of all purpose flour

1/4 cup of white granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoon of soften unsalted butter

1 egg + 1 yolk, room temperature

1/4 cup of warm milk

Yeast mixture

Roux

Ingredients for the Brown sugar filling:

1 cup of dark brown sugar

2 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

Ingredients for the Cream cheese frosting:

1/2 package (4oz) of cream cheese, soften to room temperature

4 tablespoon of unsalted butter, soften

2 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla extract

1-2 cups of powdered sugar (depending on desired sweetness and consistency)

A splash (2 tablespoon) of warm milk, enough to loosen frosting

Baker's note*: This recipe has been updated with minor changes, rest assured the one typed here is the latest one to use.

Step 4: Making of the Water Roux (aka Tang Zhong)

The science behind the water roux aka Tang Zhong is that by cooking a few percent of the flour with water (also know as "scalding flour" before adding into the mother dough recipe it converts the sugars into starch which results in starch gelatinization rather than activating gluten protein strains. When you add the cooked starchy flour into the mother dough recipe, the starch inhibits some gluten formation, to prevent it to become extremely chewy with a tight crumb. Some bread like baguettes need extreme gluten formation to get their characteristic chewy and thick crust mouthfeel. But for some breads like white loaf, delicacy buns and personally, cinnamon rolls, a soft airy crumb is more palatable.

Directions To Tang Zhong:

Pour your measured flour and water into a small saucepan. Whisk them till there's no clumps of flour. Transfer to a stove and turn heat to medium. Cook while stirring continuously until the liquid forms a thick translucent gel like paste. Ensure to scrape bottom to prevent crusting and burning. Remove from heat and cool completely. Set aside.

Kid's Corner:

Allow child to pour ingredients into the saucepan and whisk slowly and gently. Adult would have to cook the roux on the stove. Do not let child to touch hot sauce pan while cooling.

Step 5: Wake the Yeast

Directions:

In a small bowl, pour your sugar, yeast and warm milk together. Mix them and leave them aside for 5 minutes until mixture is foamy.

Kid's corner:

Allow the child to hold the spoon while you pour your sugar, yeast and milk respectively. Using a small spoon, let them slowly mix the mixture.

Ask them:

What does that smells like? It smells like yeast.

Is the bowl warm or cold? The bowl feels warm in their hands.

Do you see the tiny bubbles? The yeast is farting gas and make bubbles.

Step 6: Mother Dough

Directions:

Pour your flour, sugar, salt, eggs, soften butter cooled, roux, yeast mixture and milk into your mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl.

Kid's corner:

Allow the child to help you pour the ingredients into the large bowl. Make funny sounds as the ingredients fall like PLOP! SWISH! GLOP!

Step 7: Mix and Let Rise

Directions:

Turn your mixer on low and gradually increase to medium speed. Knead the dough for 15 minutes until it forms a tacky ball. It should be tacky but not overly sticky. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Cover the dough with saran wrap and let it proof in a dark warm place for 1 hour.

Kid's Corner:

Ensure that the child is within safe distance from the mixer and by all means do not insert fingers into the bowl while the machine is on.

After kneading, allow the child to feel the dough. Is it soft? Is it sticky? What color is the dough?

Ask them if they would like to help you seal the plastic wrap.

Don't forget to praise every so often that they are being such a great helper.

Step 8: Make the Filling

While the dough is proofing...

Measure the the brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix them evenly.

Kid's corner:

Allow the child to pack the brown sugar.

Ask them what does that remind you of? Does it feel like sand? It's like a sand castle isn't it?

What is that smell? This is Cinnamon. Do you like this smell?


During that 60 minute wait, it's a great time to wash their hands and have a little snack time to freshen up.

Step 9: Deflating Dough and Rolling

Directions:

After 60 minutes, remove dough from warm area. Dust your working area with flour, and sprinkle some flour over the dough. Punch out the air and turn your dough onto your working area, Dust a little flour for easy handling. Using a rolling pin, roll your dough into a rectangle about 1/2 an inch thick.

Kid's corner:

Allow child to sprinkle the flour at the working station. Remind child to sprinkle within the designated area only and not outside the perimeter. Have him/her punch the dough and feel the air escaping.

Ask, "How does it feel?" "Is it soft or hard"

Teach the child to hold the rolling pin accordingly. Ask the child if they know how does a rectangle shape look like.

Guide them to roll a rectangle as evenly as possible. If it's out of shape but the same thickness, that's OKAY.

Place the heavy rolling pin away and in a safe area so it doesn't roll away and potentially drop on their feet after use.

Step 10: Butter the Dough and Sprinkle the Sugar

With only 2 tablespoon of really soft, spreadable butter, place a few dallops of butter here and there. Spread them with a butter knife until evenly spread. Sprinkle your cinnamon sugar until all areas are well covered. Pat the sugar down so they are nicely packed together.

Kid's Corner:

Allow child to use their hands to put a few drops of butter here and there. Teach them how to hold a butter knife or an offset spatula to spread the butter thinly. Let them sprinkle the sugar, try to ensure child sprinkle in the dough not outside the perimeter. Also encourage child to spread the sugar around the dough. Children have the habit of mounting sugar at one particular spot only.

Using both hands, pat the sugar down. Make sound effects like "Pat, pat, pat, pat"

Step 11: Roll the Dough

Tuck the ends tightly and begin rolling the dough as tightly and evenly as possible on both sides. Pinch the other end of the dough so it would not unravel itself.

Kid's corner:

Help the child to tuck the first end. They are particularly good at this because their little fingers can roll small areas very well. Tell them to roll and 'push' as the dough gathers itself.

Step 12: Cut and Place

Divide the roll into 12 equal pieces by cutting them with an extremely sharp knife. The sharper the knife the easier it is to cut the dough, and it doesn't pull, drag the dough and sugar along with it.

Place the evenly cut rolls into an UNbuttered 9 by 15 pan.

Baker's Tip:

When placing the sliced buns, place them in a way that the pinched ends are facing inwards towards the other buns. So when it expands and bakes, the ends does not unravel itself. Tucking inwards will give you nice round rolls.

Kid's corner:

This WILL be an adult step to proceed. Allow the child to watch and put their little fingers away. Ensure the sharp point of the knife always points AWAY from the child when you are cutting and slicing. Place knife away safely when completed.

Next, with guidance allow the child to gently lift the rolls. If they are clumsy with a squishy dough, let an adult lift the dough and place it gently into their palms. Then gently plop them unto the pan.

Step 13: Second Proof & Making of Cream Cheese Frosting

Place a saran wrap and let it rise for the second time but for only 30 minutes in a warm, dark environment until a third of it's size.

While second proofing, you can proceed on to making the cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients for the Cream cheese frosting:
1/2 package (4oz) of cream cheese, soften to room temperature

4 tablespoon of unsalted butter, soften

2 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla extract

1-2 cups of powdered sugar (depending on desired sweetness and consistency)

A splash (2 tablespoon) of warm milk, enough to loosen frosting

Directions:

Place your soften cream cheese and butter into a mixing bowl and cream it using a paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Ensure to scrape the sides. Pour in your powdered sugar and vanilla. For a buttery less sweet version, just stick to 1 cup of powdered sugar. Drizzle one or two tablespoon of milk to loosen the buttercream a little. And continue whipping until it reach a fluffy spreadable consistency. Cover with a saran wrap until ready to use.

Kid's corner:

Allow the child to squeeze or plop the butter and cream cheese bar into the mixing bowl. Then let them scoop the powdered sugar into the mixing bowl when the mixer is turned off. Followed by the vanilla and milk.

Step 14: Bake

(my son actually fell asleep on the couch while waiting for the second rise to finish)

After proofing for 30 minutes, bake the rolls at 380 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes flat.

Let it cool for 3-5 minutes and then spread your cream cheese frosting while it's still warm.

DO NOT cut immediately. Like most to all bread recipes, allow them to cool to almost room temperature before serving, This will allow the water molecules to get re-adsorb into the dough leaving you with a soft pillowy loaf for a very long time. Cutting it immediately will let the water molecules to escape into the air, and soon leave your bread dry.I recommend you waiting for at least 45 minutes to one hour before tearing one open. It's tempting I know! but for the sake of your hard work, just wait...trust me!

Kid's Corner:

This will be adult only step. High temperatures, hot pans are not recommended for children.


Step 15:

Spread a good amount of cream cheese frosting on your slightly hot buns. The residual heat will melt away slightly, which is normal. If you prefer them sweet, spread more frosting. Any leftover frosting can be stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag and placed in the freezer for future use.

And for future use:

Allow the buttercream to thaw out completely. Using a whisk or a mixer, whip them again so you can achieve the fluffy consistency you had previously.

Step 16: How to Serve

Yes, it's that time.

Because these rolls are soft, so luscious, so incredibly pillowy, i honestly do not recommend you to slice with a knife or a spatula. Those tools will squish the beautiful crumbs you work so hard to show off. Yes, i grant you your braggin' rights!

I used a fork.

Yes, a fork. Not to dig thru and chow down but hey by all means. With the sharp point pointing down, i loosen the sides a little bit. Once you can roughly feel the buns are detached from the pan. With the same gentle clawing motion, i slowly like to tear the sides away from the other bun, gentle and slow will do it. Then once it's detached from the other side of the buns, use the fork and scrape the bottom.. Then lift the bun up and serve it on a pretty plate.

There you go.

Step 17:

A little baker's note:

As you can see, if you use the fork technique, it will not squish the crumbs at all. It leaves the other buns to be beautifully served as well for the next guy...and the next.

Also, the reason why I only use 2 tablespoon of butter to spread unto the dough before sprinkling the sugar is because of all my years doing this, when another recipes calls for 1 whole stick of butter to spread, I noticed that the excessive butter leaks out and settle to the bottom of the pan. That creates two problems:

1) The butter pool get soaked by the bread. The buns have soggy bottoms...erm no.

2) The excess fat from the butter chars and burns. Together with the brown sugar, it forms almost like a harden caramel bottom. Not pleasing to eat and impossible to wash!

Hence 2 tablespoon is enough. Just enough to stick the sugar and give flavor, but not leak out during baking ;)

Step 18:

Good luck and enjoy!

Step 19:

Kitchen Skills Challenge

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1 Person Made This Project!

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18 Discussions

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BayRatt

2 days ago

Those look AMAZING! I can about smell them just from the pictures! :-) Another way to cut the rolls is to use unflavoured dental floss and slide it underneath the roll up to where you want to cut it and then pull and cross the strands to snip the roll off... Might be faster to use a knife, but it is an alternate method if you prefer to keep sharp tools away from the littles.

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baihe

2 days ago

it looks very delicious, I want to eat it

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mf70

7 days ago

Followup comment: These also freeze VERY well. With a 1 minute defrost & 30 sec. of microwave, they are restored to their out-of-oven glory. I'm going to try using this dough for oven doughnuts!

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DawieV

10 days ago

Awesome recipe! Definitely the next recipe on my to do list.
Do you have this recipe in a Metric format seeing that in Australia imperial measurements are not used in recipes, we only use grams and milliliters.
Looking forward to try it, and thanks again for an inspiring recipe

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PieBaby89DawieV

Reply 8 days ago

Yes DawieV I actually do! In fact it was the original recipe but too many people prefer it in cups so I switched to the US conversion. The liquids are still in cups tho however if u don't mind. But here you go:
Water roux:
30g of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of water

Yeast mixture:
50g of warm milk
20g of white granulated sugar
5g of active yeast

Mother dough:
300g of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp of salt
39g of soften unsalted butter
59g of white granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 yolk
1/4 cup of warm milk
Roux
Yeast mixture

Let me know any updates. Sorry it took awhile but all the best!!

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PieBaby89SkinnyMessican

Reply 16 days ago

Yes! That indeed would be better, shall update it asap. Thank you! :D

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Fo55ilise

19 days ago

Great work involving your young man.
I must have a go at these myself as well.

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FamilyF4Fo55ilise

Reply 19 days ago

Yeah, baking, kid wrangling, AND composing!

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PieBaby89FamilyF4

Reply 18 days ago

Thank you and it would be easier and better if I had a phone tripod to have better angles for the pictures.

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PieBaby89Fo55ilise

Reply 18 days ago

Thank you and yes, he is my little sous chef in the making :D

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cuzlifeis2short

20 days ago on Step 14

A heads up about the frosting recipe. You didn't show the powdered sugar more less the amount needed. You should really proof read your recipe before posting. Little kids can get discouraged when their project doesn’t turn out right. My niece did.

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PieBaby89cuzlifeis2short

Reply 20 days ago

For some reason Instructables is taking it's time to update the changes or it could be a bug. I will let you know it's up and running!

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PieBaby89cuzlifeis2short

Reply 20 days ago

My bad! The post has been updated and frosting details are located at the Second proofing & Cream cheese frosting step. The ingredients and directions are placed together for convenience.

And I'm sorry your niece had a failed attempt at another recipe. Kids and even adults feel discouraged when a recipe doesn't turn out like it should. Perhaps you could give a recipe a go and see if it's doable or require some changes. Sometimes oven temps, humidity and altitude could wreck havoc. But this recipe has been used many times, so do let me know if you see any difference in your attempt. Thank you again for letting me know! :D

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MariusS53

20 days ago

This is SO getting tried out. I've made breadbuns (Boller in Norwegian) with the Tang Zhong-method and they turned out pretty awesome if I may say so myself, but Cinnamon Brioche-rolls sounds far too yumz to not be tried...

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PieBaby89MariusS53

Reply 20 days ago

I wish you all the best Marius! Do let me know how it turns out or if you have a question to ask :D

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FamilyF4

20 days ago

Um, a) mixing the frosting doesn't appear in the timeline (oh I found it in the proofing step), and b) you don't mention 2 cups of confectioner's sugar in the ingredients. I plan to try this soon!

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PieBaby89FamilyF4

Reply 20 days ago

Oops! My bad! I shall give it a quick edit in a minute. Thank you for giving me a heads up. My eyes get boggled after so many words @_@