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The Final Product – TG

Shoot for the stars and end up with a lot of cinnamon pastry!”

– Sifted Together

It’s Bakealong Week!

In the words of King Arthur, “The holidays are coming, and it’s time to bake something that’s as striking as it is delicious — like this Cinnamon Star Bread. While it may look difficult, this pretty star is actually quite easy: some simple cuts and twists, a short rise, into the oven, and 20 minutes later you’ve got a spectacular centerpiece.”

Well, yes and no.  LOL!

The dough for the Cinnamon Start bread is both simple to make and simple to work with, which is a good thing since the building of the bread requires a great deal of rolling.  And the process for creating the beautiful star shape is easy enough.  It’s the in and out of the oven that makes all the difference.  How does the dough rise and reshape itself during the baking process?  For two perfectionist, losing control during these fifteen minutes in the oven proved frustrating, annoying, and, yes, hilarious at times.

We probably had more back and forth communication about this recipe than any other that we have worked on for the blog.  So this week we share with you:

“A Tale of 2, 3, 4…Stars”

The saga begins on Saturday November 11, 2017.

Tracey: Star bread dough is on the rise…

(An hour later)  First star bread being built now.

First Star Bread in shaping process – TG

(About an hour so later….)

Not thrilled with the outcome.  Will make one more either today or tomorrow.  My dough was weird – not sure if it was due to doubling or not.  I don’t like the way mine look at all.  Good thing they are easy.

Kris: Sorry about your bread.  That is not encouraging for me.

Tracey: I’m building Apple Braids now, saving my ego a bit, lol!  But, I will make another one and see how that goes – and I’ll report.

(Report…)

Edges dark, can’t see the cinnamon lines, etc…just weird.

Oh well, at least fails in the looks department will taste good…I hope.  LOL

OK, as for taste testing – wow!  Major yum!

Batch 3 of dough mixing now.

Kris: I guess I should try mine this afternoon in case I need multiple attempts.

Tracey: Looks aside, this is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

I got the dough mixed and it still had that weird texture.  It could be potato flakes rather than potato flour.  I used the lower end of the water the first go around, so I added the extra this time.  We’ll see how it turns out when ready to roll, build, etc.  A positive thought is that it is fairly quick and easy.

Kris: I’ll give it a go today, then.

Tracey:  It’s not a “chore-type” feeling.  Usually by this point I’d be bored and want to quit, but I’m still fairly gung-ho!  The filling is only sugar and cinnamon.  Each layer is brushed with beaten egg and sprinkled with the cinnamon and sugar. After it’s stacked, you cut and twist.  That’s it.

Kris: What happened with your first one?

 Tracey:  The dough was just weird.  I have no idea how to describe it.  It just didn’t feel right.  It was tearing a bit, too.  It looked OK when first twisted, but the shape blobbed out more than did the one they show in the recipe.  Then it blobbed more as it baked  – lost the star shape and stripes of cinnamon sugar.  I’m hoping that the next one is more “structured” looking.

First Baked Cinnamon Star Bread – TG

Kris: It doesn’t look that bad.

Ingredients collected and I’m ready to start.

My dough is now rising.

Tracey: My dough is just about done rising…

Kris: I need some of your energy and enthusiasm right now!

Tracey:  #3 twisted and rising.  Dough looks better this time.

#3 Twisted and Rising – TG

Kris: That one looks beautiful!

Tracey:  Let’s see how it holds up to baking.  I didn’t let it rise as long.  I just popped it into the oven…lowered the temp to 375 instead of 400…and I can’t stop eating this stuff!!!

Just peeked and its spreading again, just like the others.  And, I forgot to brush with the egg before baking.

I may make one more tomorrow…I have one more idea to try – backing down the potato flakes.  Good thing this stuff freezes.  I’ll have bread for days!

I’m definitely doing one more tomorrow.  Just pulled it out of the oven and it looks the same, maybe a smidge better, but not what I want…

Kris: Yikes!  You are seriously making me doubt my abilities here!

Tracey: Don’t let me worry you.  I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with my dough.  It never gets fully smooth.  Let me know how your potato flour version goes.  You have actually potato flour, right?

Kris: Nope.  I’m using flakes, too.

FAIL #1!!!  I set the biscuit cutter in the center to mark my circle and darn if it didn’t cut through two layers.  So, I’ll definitely be doing it again!

Attempt #1 Fail – KB

Tracey: ROTFLMAO!  What a pair we are!  Maybe it won’t affect the final outcome.  Honestly, I’m interested to see how it bakes up with the “extra” circle lines.

Kris: I think the ends closest to the center are going to puff up and come apart.  If I had any extra dough I would just make a “cover” for my messy middle. 🙂

Tracey:  I do want to see how it turns out.  It looks cool raw.

I just keep looking at my “cut” ends and how they puff out.  Theirs don’t do that.  I do use the gold yeast for sweet dough.  I wonder if that could affect the puffiness?

Maybe my twists aren’t tight enough.  I have no idea why this is making me crazy, LOL!  It’s becoming a freaking obsession!

Kris: I don’t know if I can be friends with someone who has saggy twists.

Tracey: LMFAO! Oh my!  I’m so glad I’d not just taken a drink of tea or it would have ended up all over my laptop!!!

Kris: I did my first point one piece at a time.  On the others, I twisted them at the same time.

Tracey: Yep.  That’s what I did too.

Kris: It is about to go in the oven.  The truth will soon reveal itself.

Tracey: I can’t wait. 🙂

Kris:  I suspect that I will have you beat on the blob factor.  The tips are getting super puffy.

Tracey: This is becoming like the Focaccia Challenge…if at first you don’t succeed…

Kris: For me, it’s more like WHEN at first you don’t succeed.  Lol!

Mine looks more like a daisy at the moment, with two more minutes in the oven.

Tracey:  Lol! but it still has petals, I bet.

Kris: I will definitely be making another tomorrow.

Tracey: I’m like a dog and bone with this one.  Jeremy ended up taking Harry out for dinner because there is no cooking of dinner happening here tonight.

Kris: Flower Power!

Attempt #1 Flower Power – KB

Tracey: Oh my gosh though, that looks lovely.  I can see the individual petals!

Kris: I must have done my ends wrong.  They look too rounded.

Tracey:  They look good to me and I’ve been studying these things all day!

Kris: OMG!  This stuff is delicious!

Tracey: Good stuff, isn’t it!?  Yours look so pretty, lol.  I’m green with envy.  I have star envy.

Kris: That would be daisy envy. 🙂

Tracey: Ha.  Flour envy.

Kris: You win! 🙂

There seem to be no issues around here with me having to make another batch of bread. Glad it at least tastes good!

SUNDAY November 12

Kris: Are you up and baking again?

Tracey: I was lazy and dumped all of my baking tools in the dishwasher last night with the intention of running it on delay start and forgot…I was going to jump right in, but now I’m drinking coffee and waiting for it to do its thing.  And, reading reviews on the Bakealong page to see if there are any hints.  Plus, I changed the batteries in my scale since it started acting up yesterday as well…maybe that’s part of the issue, inaccuracy from the start.  That, and bad twists. 🙂

Batch #3 is mixing.  I messed with it and let it knead in the mixer for quite awhile.  I didn’t adjust potato flakes.  It still has that slightly gritty, not elastic, feel when I stretched it a bit.  In my hand it would break.  I’m hoping it will be a better dough.

There was nothing in the KA reviews or blog post to help me.

Kris: Our first one is gone!  I gave away a quarter of it, but the three of us have eaten the rest. 🙁

Tracey: Jeremy, Harry, and I have finished one and are working on another.

I bumped my Vietnamese cinnamon up in this one, to a full TBS.

12:56pm

Tracey:  Attempt 944.2 is in the oven.

Attempt #944.2 – TG

Kris: Pretty!

Tracey: And I remembered to brush with the egg!

Still not what I’m trying to achieve  Even though I totally lost the star in the middle, it looks better…not so blobby.

Not So Blobby #944.2 -TG

And crazy as this sounds, I’m in a mental debate with myself over trying one…more…time.  I just told Jeremy  that now I feel like I’m playing the slots.  Just one more pull…just one more!

I’m trying one more.  I must be insane!

Kris: Your perfectionism has gotten the best of you.  Or, it’s a good excuse to eat more! 🙂

Tracey: I never get this crazed!  I mean, yeah, the perfectionism is always there, but this is almost out of control.  Lol!  Maybe in the midst of busy December I might appreciate a “coffee cake” or ten in the freezer. 🙂

The VERY LAST batch is mixing and kneading now.  This is it!  I have a few shaping thoughts, and that’s it.  And of course, Jeremy is teasing me about some of the ends not being perfect – just to get my goat.

Kris: VERY LAST?! I’m holding you to that.

Tracey: I just don’t think I have another attempt in me.

Kris: Just so you know, we are not friends anymore because you have led me astray.  Attempt #2 is rising.  I succumbed to peer pressure.

Tracey: Oh no!  I guess you’ll have to pay your therapy bill now so you’ll stay my friend!  Lol!

Kris: And buy me new pants.  Lol!

Tracey: This explains it…

Yep, it’s not me, it’s Evil Dough – TG

Kris: Just say “no” to grams.

Tracey: Considering all of the hassles I’ve been through, that confirms it.  This is an evil recipe!

Shaping done.

Shaping Complete! – TG

Kris: They always look fantastic at this point.

Tracey: It’s after this point that it has all the issues.

Final attempt in the oven.

I just checked and my ends are coming apart again.

I’m giving up.  How many times can I do the same thing and get the same or close to the same results no matter what I do.  It’s kind of a big puffy flower this time.

Kris: In the words of Einstein, ““The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”

Assembling now.

Tracey: Fresh out of the oven.

Last One Out – TG

Kris: This one feels sloppier than the last.

Attempt #2 Looking Sloppy – KB

At least I learn from my mistakes.  I did not cut through the center this time. 🙂

Tracey: Why do the simplest recipes cause us the most trouble?

Kris: I think it is our perfectionist nature, not the recipes.  I suspect that most people would have been content with our first attempts.  Well…yours.  My “flour power” attempt was a definite fail!

In the oven.

Are you happy with your last one?

I’m not happy with this one. 🙁  I’m going to have to photograph it somehow though because I don’t think I have another attempt in me.

Attempt #2 Out of the Oven -KB

MONDAY November 13

Kris: I’m going to try to photograph mine from yesterday, but I may end up trying again.

Tracey: Oh no!  Don’t go down that road.  You saw what happened to me.  It’s a slippery slope for sure!

Kris: I got home from school and took pictures of last night’s bread.  I’m going to hope that something works just in case I don’t get another batch made.  I wish I was good with PS and could put the points from my first attempt on the center of my second. But, that is so far beyond my editing skills thus it would take way less time to just make another.  Lol!

TUESDAY November 14

Kris: Third time is a charm, right?  It’s rising.

Tracey: It should be, but I made the dough four times.  🙂

Kris: It’s in the oven…deja vous???  Lol!  I got distracted and it rose a little too long.

Tracey:  That may be the key.

Kris: Not sure it’s any different.  My middle doesn’t have the star shape. 🙁

Attempt #3 – KB

Tracey:  LOL!  It’s pretty though.  It looks really nice.  I’ve come to the conclusion this is the only way they are ever going to look.  Mine doesn’t have a star middle either.  None of them did!  They are all skewed.

The Final Product Dusted With Powdered Sugar – KB

***

And this is how the newest constellation, Cinnamon Star Bread, came into being.  Exactly how many starts it may grow to be is still yet to be determined.

Have fun with this recipe.  And, if your stars come out perfectly on the first try, please don’t tell us about it! Our egos are fragile at the moment.

Just kidding!  Feel free to add all of your wacky and beautiful stars to our constellation of Cinnamon Star Bread  Tag your photos with #siftedtogether on Instagram.

King Arthur Flour November 2017 Bakealong – Cinnamon Star Bread

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