June 2, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls in Poland

Right now I'm wrapping up the home-stay portion of my trip to Poland and I'm staying with a great couple, Eva and Lukasz, that are just a little older than me. They've been feeding me typical Polish fare and food that they typically eat (some Hungarian and Italian dishes). Most of it has been delicious and some of it has been completely new.

They both love travel and photography, so we've spent some time looking at their photos and talking about they're trips (Syria, Turkey, Italy), so I was slightly surprised when my description of cinnamon rolls didn't register at all. I couldn't explain cinnamon rolls sufficiently for them to actually imagine them properly, so instead, I baked cinnamon rolls for them. They loved them! A lot, so I'm leaving my metric converted recipe behind for their pleasure.

I had to adapt the recipe a little bit based on ingredient availability and I took a chance with the flour because I wasn't sure what the closest Polish equivalent to all-purpose would be (I used "tortowa", for any Polish readers). Also, I wasn't sure about all my options for frosting, but then saw Philadelphia cream cheese in the grocery, so I went for a cream cheese frosting, which was a huge hit.

I must say my favorite food experience in their home, so far, is "smalec." This typical Polish delicacy is a meaty form of lard that they typically spread on dark bread and eat either with beer in a pub or for breakfast with either tomatoes or cucumbers. This morning I had smalec with tomatoes and marjoram on dark bread with some tea. I think I'm going to try to have some everyday until I leave for Krakow, Poland. The photographs for this post were taken by Ewa (thanks for permission to use your photos!).

Cinnamon Rolls for Poland

3 (425 grams) to 3 ½ cups flour
1/3 (66 grams) cup sugar
pinch salt
3/4 cup water at 120° to 130° F. (approximately 180 milliliters)
1 larg egg
7 grams instant yeast (or one American packet of rapid-rise yeast)

Place 400 grams flour, the salt, and sugar into a bowl and mix. Add the yeast and mix again. Pour the warm water on to the flour mixture and being mixing. After stirring for about a minute add the egg. Stir until well mixed and dough pulls away from side of the bowl. If it's too sticky add a little flour at a time (maybe 20 grams or a small handful) until the dough forms a ball, but is still slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to one hour.

When the dough has risen, scrape it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth ball again. Roll out into a large, thin rectangle. Spread with a thin layer of soft butter. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar, until dark brown. Roll dough up into a log and cut into thick rounds. Place in a greased cake pan, cover pan with damp towel and let rise for about 45 minutes. Bake at 375° F or 180
° C for about 15 minutes or until light brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 10-15 minutes. Frost with glaze or frosting(below).


4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (approx. 112 grams)
1 cup powdered sugar (about 120 grams)
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature (approx. 112 grams)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the cream cheese and butter together until well blended and smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add half of the powdered sugar and stir until completely incorporated. Taste the frosting, if you want it sweeter add more powdered sugar.