Cinnamon buns are a family favorite around our house. We don’t have them on a regular basis, but when we need a warm, sweet treat I often whip up a batch. I used to make cinnamon buns with, at most, 50% whole wheat flour and 50% white flour. I couldn’t imagine a cinnamon bun tasting good with just whole wheat flour. Until now. I have had the good fortune of being given a Wondermill Grain Mill. I have tasted the difference and I’ll never go back!
I finally have discovered the secrets to getting 100% whole wheat flour to rise as well as white flour, without any additives. I have been making my own 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for years now and have been employing secret number 1. It is quite simple, really: you soak half the flour in the liquid the recipe calls for, for half and hour (or more). This helps release the gluten from the whole wheat and enables it to rise beautifully. Secret number one is vital. Secret number two is the icing on the cake.
My children eat the bread dough raw from the bowl. I remember doing that when I was young, and loving it. Now, as an adult, I actually don’t enjoy the flavour of raw bread dough. There is a bitterness to it that I don’t remember being there when I was a kid. When I received my grain mill from Wondermill I expected a difference, for sure. How could there not be a difference between flour that was milled who knows how long ago, and flour that was milled minutes ago? What I didn’t expect was that the bitterness I was tasting in the raw dough would disappear completely. That bitterness, then, must have been a slight rancidity that is in previously milled whole wheat flour. The freshly milled flour contained none of that bitterness. This could only make the bread taste better! And so, secret number two is the freshly milled flour.
When I received the Wondermill I decided I would attempt 100% whole wheat flour cinnamon buns. I began playing around with my recipe, and quite frankly, I have created THE perfect whole wheat cinnamon recipe for you. It is sweet, moist, tender and full of whole grain flavour without any bitterness. They rise like white flour, they have the nutty flavour of whole grains, and they are soft and incomparable. I am in love! And you will be too.
100% Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns
Makes 2 batches, or one can be made into a bread loaf.
- 8 c. freshly milled whole wheat flour, divided into 3 cup and 5 cup portions.
- 2 c. warm water
- 1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. honey, divided.
- 1/3 c. butter
- 1 tbsp. yeast
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 egg
Cinnamon bun filling (per pan of buns):
- 2 tbsp. butter, softened
- 2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 c. demerarra sugar or other dark cane sugar
Glaze (per pan of buns):
- 1/2 c. maple syrup
- 1/2 c. butter, melted
- 1 c. toasted pecans (optional)
- To make sponge add yeast to 1/4 c. warm water with 1 tbsp. honey in a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Mix well and set aside.
- Add 3 cups flour to 2 cups water. Mix well and set aside. This is your flour soaking, releasing the gluten.
- Melt butter and 1/3 c. honey together and set aside until room temperature.
- In half an hour, add yeast mixture to flour mixture and mix well.
- Add butter and honey mixture and mix well.
- Add salt, egg and remaining flour (one cup at a time) and mix well.
- Once dough is of the right consistency (neither wet nor dry but tacky) kneed dough for 10 minutes.
- Set dough aside in a large bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to double in size. (1-2 hours).
- When dough is doubled, kneed it briefly, divide into two, then roll out onto floured counter top.
For cinnamon bun filling:
- Spread butter over the dough with your fingers or a pastry brush.
- Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar evenly over the dough. Roll dough up and pinch closed. Slice into evenly sized buns
- Place buns in greased baking dish with a small bit of space around each bun. Cover with a damp tea towel.
- Allow to rise until doubled in size: 1 hour or so.
- Once buns have doubled in size, bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.