(Yes. They really look like that.)
1 3/4 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted
7 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) container.
Mix in the flour without kneading, using a wooden spoon. You may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
Cover, not airtight, and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), for about 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise but it is MUCH easier to handle when cold. So...refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. This is enough for three batches of cinnamon rolls.
(Tip: I usually mix the dough three days in advance, we find that the flavor is better when the dough ferments a bit)
On to the cinnamon rolls!! (are you still with me???)
The Caramel Topping (Don't miss this! It's what makes my cinnamon rolls special!)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
* Mix together and spread evenly over the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan. This magical concoction will turn into a sweet, sticky, gooey caramel that will sink into your amazing rolls.
4 Tbps. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper (yup. you read that correctly)
1 cup of raisins
*Pull your bowl of dough out of the fridge, dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 pound (roughly the size of a cantaloupe) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thin rectangle. Cream together your butter, sugar, and spices. Spread thinly over the dough, sprinkle raisins on top. Starting with the long side, roll the dough into a log. If the dough is too soft to cut, let it chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.
With a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 8 pieces and place in cake pan with the "swirly" sides facing up. Let rise for about 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees about five minutes before baking.
Bake the rolls for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and well set in the center.
Pull out of oven, and while they are still hot, turn onto a large serving dish. Make sure the serving dish has a lip around the edge or else all the gooey topping will fall onto your counter. DO NOT let the rolls cool in the pan or the Caramel Topping will make them stick.
And you're done!! :)
Yes, a lot of work, but look at this picture! They are SO worth it!!
Recipe adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which you should own. Seriously.