I am always a bit leery of gadgety kitchen appliances. (Remember the Salad Shooter?) So often they just take up room in the cupboard because it is not worth the effort to use and clean them. One appliance that has become a mainstay of my kitchen, however, is my bread maker. In fact, mine is used so often that my second son was amazed that his dorm kitchen wasn’t stocked with one. He has remedied that and now has an inexpensive model to impress his buddies with pizza dough and cinnamon rolls.
Part of the reason I get such good use out of my bread maker is that I have the right cookbook. Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehbrg and Lois Conway has been used so much that I had to buy a second copy since my first one was literally falling to pieces.
I have also rejected the notion that my bread maker is for baking bread. Oh, it makes some lovely loaves of bread. But the real value is the dough making function. I make pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, calzones, French bread baguettes and all kinds of dinner rolls. Once you have homemade whole wheat hamburger buns it is nearly impossible to go back to the store bought variety. Making the dough in the bread maker means minimal prep and mess in the kitchen. The only effort goes into shaping the dough into the final product.
My husband did all the research and bought a Zojurushi brand machine for me. I love it. It helps to have a quality bread maker if you do plan on baking loaves in the bread machine. However, for making dough I have found an inexpensive model works quite well.
Here is my Cinnamon Roll recipe taken from Bread Machine Magic.
BASIC SWEET DOUGH
3/8 cup milk
3/8 cup water
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp yeast
Place all ingredients in the bread pan, select Dough setting, and press Start.
(I told you making dough is easy!)
Basic Sweet Dough
5 Tbsp melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Pour the melted butter for the glaze into one 9x13x2-inch pan or two round cake pans; sprinkle with brown sugar.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 8x14 inch rectangle
For the filling, brush the melted butter on the dough. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and brown sugar; sprinkle over dough. Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal. With a knife, lightly mark roll into 12 even sections. Slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss or heavy thread underneath. By bringing the ends of the floss up and crisscrossing them at the top of each mark, you can cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions. Place rolls cut side up in prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm oven 30-45 minutes. (Hint: To warm oven slightly, turn oven on Warm setting for 2 minutes then turn if off and place covered dough in oven to rise. Remove pans from oven to preheat)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Bake 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately invert rolls onto a large platter or serving dish.
Now I like my rolls a bit smaller so I roll the dough into about a 20-inch rectangle and cut it into 24 rolls.
Once you have put the rolls into the prepared pan(s) you can cover them with foil and freeze. The night before you plan to serve them for breakfast, take them out of the freezer and leave them on the counter, still covered, so they can thaw and rise. When you get up in the morning they are ready to just pop in the oven. These frozen, unbaked rolls make a great hostess or housewarming gift.