Friday, February 4, 2011

Sweet Dough

I love that I'm learning about bread baking right along with you all! A few weeks ago, a reader asked about the effect of eggs in dough. I knew that eggs added richness, lightness and a lovely golden color but otherwise had not really thought of their effect on the dough.

I've made some bread like challah that contain LOTS of eggs. If I remember the one recipe I used called for ten egg yolks! But I've noticed that egg heavy doughs, while rich and wonderful the first day, seem dry the next day. I usually plan to make some of the world's best french toast when I have challah, since the bread isn't really that great the next day.

I need to do some more research but I'm thinking that only adding egg yolks instead of the whole egg, would help as the whites seem to encourage baked goods to dry out faster. Anyone have any more information to share on eggs in baking?

Anyway, I've shared two recipe for cinnamon rolls before, my mom's classic sticky bun recipe, which contains mashed potatoes for a great texture and an easy no-knead recipe, which has four eggs and tends to dry out the next day. We love them both but I was looking for something that wouldn't contain eggs, or the time consuming mashed potatoes.

This recipe was the result. The milk, butter, and honey result in a wonderful enriched dough. I'm calling it sweet dough since there is far more that you can make with this dough then just cinnamon rolls. I'll give you the basic directions for the sweet dough today, and tomorrow I'll share a couple variations. You have the flexibility of mixing and baking in the same day - or mixing one day and baking the next day.

We prefer whole grains and I made this dough with 100% whole wheat flour. If you prefer, you can substitute some or all white flour. You will probably need to use slightly more flour if substituting white for the wheat flour.

Even with whole wheat flour, I wouldn't exactly call these health food, especially after adding the fillings and toppings that I'll talk about tomorrow. But I like to think that with wholesome "real" ingredients, I can enjoy an occasional indulgence in this comfort food.

And if your family is like mine, warm cinnamon rolls are a great way to demonstrate your love. And Valentines Day is coming up!

Sweet Dough 

2 1/2 cup warm milk
2 T yeast
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup melted or very soft butter or oil
2 tsp salt
7 cups whole wheat flour (or white flour if you prefer)

In mixing bowl, stir all ingredients together for about one minute. Allow dough to rest for ten minutes. Knead dough for five minutes, adding more flour if necessary. The dough should be soft and slightly tacky.

Place dough in a greased bowl. At this point, you can refrigerate the dough for an overnight rise, or allow it to rise at room temperature until double.

After it has risen (or within the next couple days, if you refrigerated the dough) shape the dough into the bread you desire.

I'll be giving several shaping ideas tomorrow - so come back then!


  1. Gina, I have some catching up to do. So sorry about your uncle. Glad that you know he belongs to the Lord. . . . . . .Thanks for everything you are posting about bread these days. Thanks, Liz

  2. I am definitely going to read more on your blog. I am really interested in baking more breads. So far, my attempts have been yummy so I want bake more. Your first 2 articles I have read are so helpful. Thank you for such good writing and I'll keep following!

  3. Heard about a man that had an accident and passed away. Your uncle? May God comfort you.

  4. Yum! I love making bread, too.
    And yes, I have noticed that recipes with eggs seem to get dry quicker. :)

    Just popped by to invite you over to my silly little blog for a bit of sharing. I looking for folks to share some of their favorite lessons, taught or learned. Hope you'll stop by if you get a moment. Thanks!

  5. When you mention whole wheat, are you milling your own? I ask because I do, and I've noticed that it's much harder to work with than the purchased milled stuff. I always wonder if the store stuff is truly "whole" wheat because it's a different product entirely. My milled wheat is also fluffier, so I'd have to alter your recipes somewhat to accound for that.

  6. Evelyn -
    I mill my own wheat so any time that I mention whole wheat flour, you can assume it is freshly ground flour. Hopefully my recipes will work perfectly for you!

    I understand that bought whole wheat flour is different in that they remove the wheat germ for a greater shelf life. So to be exact, most bought flour isn't exactly "whole grain" or containing 100% of the whole grain as God created it.

  7. Thanks, Gina. I'm terrible at altering recipes unless they are measured in weights. I'm glad I don't have to convert anything here.

  8. I made this sweet dough recipe this weekend. It was so easy and turned out perfect. It caught my eye beacause of the honey in it. my family eats a lot of raw honey. My cinnamon rolls were scrumptious.


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