Noon Rogani, aka “Cinnamon Turban Bread”

The July BOM (bread of the month) for the Facebook Artisan Bread Bakers group was Noon Rogani, a breakfast bread from Azerbaijan. We followed the recipe posted on the King Arthur website. This simple yet impressive bread is filled with cinnamon, sugar, and butter, and looks almost like a giant cinnamon roll. The shape is supposed to resemble a turban: hence, the name my daughters gave it — Cinnamon Turban Bread.

The dough is fairly straightforward and consists of flour, yeast, water, salt, sugar, and vegetable oil. My six-year-old helped me mix up the dough. We began by weighing the flour.

Then we mixed the flour, yeast, and water to make a slurry, which we allowed to rest for 10 minutes.

We mixed in the rest of the dough ingredients and kneaded everything together. The recipe was rather vague on the kneading time, saying only to knead “until the dough is smooth and elastic”. I didn’t time myself while I kneaded the dough, but I’m pretty sure I under-kneaded and didn’t develop the gluten enough. The next time I make this recipe, I’ll knead the dough for about 10-12 minutes and make sure I get a good windowpane.

After kneading the dough, we put it in an oiled bowl to ferment.

After about 40 minutes, I (my daughter had lost interest by this time) dumped the dough out onto the dining room table and pressed it out into a rough square. Then I rolled the dough out to a large square. The recipe said the square should be about 23 inches, but mine was nowhere near that large. I rested the dough several times, but was never able to get it rolled out to the correct size, which I blame on the under-developed gluten mentioned above. 

Never one to let failure dampen my spirits, I pressed on with my dough as it was. The next step was to brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar. Then I rolled the bread like a jelly roll. I continued to roll the dough like you would a baguette, stretching the rope out gently as I went. The rope was supposed to reach five feet, but again mine fell well short of this goal.

Still undeterred, I twisted the rope from the center to the ends, then coiled it into a turban shape.

After brushing the “turban” with butter, I covered it and let it rest for about 45 minutes. I baked the loaf at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes, until it was well-browned and baked through.

The final embellishment was my own. Since it looked so much like a giant cinnamon roll, how could I resist glazing it?

I was afraid that the loaf would be too dense, since I wasn’t able to roll it out to the proper length. But it tasted just as others have described it — slightly crunchy on the outside, and warm, gooey, and tender on the inside.

Like a giant cinnamon roll.

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Sticky Buns — Artisan Breads Every Day

After meeting Peter Reinhart at the Western Reserve School of Cooking and sampling a host of his baked goods, including two kinds of sticky buns, I couldn’t wait for an excuse to do some baking. The Fourth of July holiday weekend — with family visiting from out of town — gave me just such an excuse.

Although I tested recipes for Peter’s most recent book,  Artisan Breads Every Day, and of course picked up the book as soon as it came out, before the class I still hadn’t baked anything from it. I decided to remedy that by making two kinds of sticky buns for breakfast on Saturday. I made one recipe of sticky buns, and baked half of them with Susan’s (Peter’s wife) formerly secret caramel pecan slurry and the other half with honey almond slurry.

As with many of the recipes in Peter’s new book, the sweet dough came together quickly with very little mixing. It is kept at least overnight or up to a few days in the refrigerator, where it ferments and develops its structure. I also mixed up the slurries, so that on baking day all I had to do was throw it all together.

On Saturday morning I got the dough out of the fridge, cut it into two pieces, and let it rest for about 20 minutes while I prepared the cinnamon-sugar mixture and melted some butter. I rolled each half of the dough out to a 12- x 15-inch rectangle, brushed it with butter, and sprinkled it generously with cinnamon sugar. Then I rolled the dough up from the long side and sliced it into rolls.

I had to soften the slurries in the microwave for a few seconds, as they firmed up to the point of being impossible to spread. Then I slathered the slurries in 9-inch round baking pans and added the buns.

I let the sticky buns rise for about two hours, until they had risen to fill the pans, then prepared the oven for baking.

At first, I forgot to set the pans on a sheet pan to catch any overflow, but I remembered before the slurry boiled over into the oven. The buns took longer to bake than the recipe suggested. In class, Peter stressed the importance of checking to slurry to make sure it has caramelized before taking the rolls out of the oven.

As you can see from the picture, I had pretty good caramelization, with the exception of the very center of the buns made with Susan’s slurry (on the right).

When I pulled the pan out of the oven, it was like I had turned on a bug light for everyone in the house. Within a few minutes, when I was ready to cut them, everyone in my and my sister’s families was standing in my kitchen with anticipation. And once I began serving? Well, no one left the kitchen until both pans of sticky buns were completely gone.

Forgiving my lack of modesty, my sticky buns were every bit as good as the ones we sampled in class. And even though I grew up in Lancaster County, PA, eating traditional sticky buns much like Susan’s recipe, I have to say that I preferred the subtle sweetness of the honey almond buns. But it was such a close call that I think I have to make both of them again just to be sure.

Oh, and there’s one more version in the book I haven’t made yet — creamy caramel. I feel it is my duty to give it a try, too.