another vegan cinnamon bun recipe… groundbreaking!
but having tried every “BEST EVER VEGAN CINNAMON BUN RECIPE EVER DID I MENTION BEST EVER” i realised that the best recipe clearly hadn’t been written yet.
the ones I tried had so many problems: the filling leaked out, the dough wasn’t fluffy, the layers were messy etc. and honestly i just thought that was no way to live.
so i tied up my figurative ponytail and made it my mission to troubleshoot these unforgivable problems.
turns out, the filling was simple to fix. normally as the buns rise, the gaps between the layers/other buns in the tray occlude, which keeps the filling in. but the margarine just melts much quicker than butter, causing the filling to leak out of the buns before they rise. by freezing the dough, you can seize the margarine just enough to keep it in.
i next tried to address the fluffiness. i personally don’t like my buns to be too robust. i want the dough to feel springy in my hand, and to pull into threads as i bite into it.
cinnamon rolls made the scandi way traditionally begin with mixing melted butter and milk over heat. but this process reminded me of the way i make my super fluffy babka (which i learned from betty liu’s fab recipe!) – the only difference is flour! so i began to see if making a roux would make my rolls fluffy too and, well, *SPOILER ALERT* it did! and using water instead of mylk resulted in an even lighter bun still.
annoyingly, this method results in a much wetter dough than normal, which can make it tricky to knead. but if you persevere, it really is so worth it for a beautifully fluffy bun. in fact, there are very few things in life which aren’t worth it for a beautifully fluffy bun.
for the roux
40g strong white flour
for the dough
300g strong white flour (plus extra for surfaces)
1 sachet instant yeast
50g caster sugar
200ml soy milk
1tsp ground cardamom
Generous pinch of salt
for the filling
80g light brown sugar
1tbsp mixed spice or cinnamon
generous pinch of salt
for the glaze
1tbsp white or brown sugar (not muscovado)
4tbsp soy milk
for the icing
250g icing sugar
1. make the roux by melting the margarine in a saucepan over a gentle heat. then add the flour and stir for two minutes. add the water and mix until fully incorporated. Set aside to cool.
2. add the cooled roux to a large mixing bowl with the dough ingredients, taking care not to add the yeast and salt to the same part of the bowl. begin to knead until the ingredients are fully combined.
3. generously flour a work surface and tip the dough onto it. knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding extra flour to the surface when required.
4. return the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
5. after 1 hour, remove the dough from the bowl and knead for 1 minute. Then return the dough to the bowl, cover and allow to rise for a further 45 minutes.
6. while waiting, mix the filling ingredients together.
7. once risen, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 60cmx30cm rectangle.
8. place dollops of the filling at regular intervals over the dough, right up the the edges, and then use an offset spatula to smooth out the filling into a uniform coat.
9. roll the dough into a tight spiral from the short-end (meaning you end up with a log which is 20cm long).
10. use a serrated knife to trim the both ends, then cut the log into cylinders about 2.5cm/1inch thick.
11. generously grease a baking tray with margarine and then place the cylinders of dough onto it, leaving a 2cm gap between each. cover the tray with a tea towel and leave to prove for twenty minutes.
12. pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F. place the tray of covered cinnamon rolls in the freezer or fridge for 20 minutes. mix the glaze ingredients together.
13. immediately after removing from the freezer, brush generously with the glaze and place in the oven to bake for around 40 minutes.
14. remove from the oven and immediately transfer the buns to a cooling rack or they will stick to the tray.
15. allow to cool completely, then mix the icing ingredients together and drizzle the buns generously!