Yeast opens up a vast array of wonderful baked goods that you just can't make with baking powder and soda. But it can be really intimidating, especially if you've tried to make bread with limited instructions and wound up with very disappointing results like I did. The key for me was a thorough understanding of what I needed to do, why, and how I should do it, BEFORE I started working. King Arthur Flour's website has what I believe to be the definitive guide on baking yeast bread. It's engaging and informative and a must read for anyone looking to start baking with yeast.
With renewed confidence after reading their guide, instead of starting with a simple hearth loaf, I embarked on a far too complex recipe for a beginner, Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls. What can I say? After an extensive conversation with a friend over the magnificent qualities of Cinnabon, I just really, really wanted some.
To my vast surprise, I was actually successful. The key I was missing appears to have been 'proofing' my yeast with water and sugar. I also let my dough rise in an oven that I had turned on to preheat to 350 for 3 minutes, then allowed to cool down to about 90-100 degrees, which seems to have been perfect. I'd like to thank Lauren at Lauren's Latest for an amazing recipe and tutorial that made these wonderful cinnamon rolls almost foolproof.
I've made a couple tweaks to the original recipe, searching for a bit more of a buttery flavor in the filling and increasing the amount of icing for the rolls. The results have left me with clean pans and no leftovers. The yield is kind of high, given the amount of calories that I'm sure are in each roll, so plan to share. Here's my tweaked recipe for Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls.