Pan Dulce

8 Jan
 I love making bread.  This is a new recipe to the Kef repertoire–a Mexican treat just sweet enough to be considered a sweet bread, which makes it a great addition to any brunch.  I used this recipe for inspiration and added some orange for flavor. Enjoy!

— 1/4 c warm water
— 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast (1 Fleishmann’s pack)
— 2/3 c warm whole milk
— 4 large eggs
— 2 tsp Grand Marnier (or vanilla extract)
— zest of one orange
— 2 tsp cinnamon
— 3/4 teaspoon salt
— 2/3 cup sugar
— 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
— 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
— 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
— 3/4 c confectioners sugar
— 4 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature and separated into TBS
— 1 large egg
— 2 TBS whole milk
— 1 TBS pure vanilla extract
— 1 TBS ground cinnamon

1. Combine the warm water, yeast, milk, eggs, Grand Marnier, zest, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a standing mixer with paddle attachment. Throw in 1 cup of flour, beat until combined and smooth. Mix in another cup of flour and then the butter, mix until incorporated. Half a cup at a time, add an additional two cups of flour (so you have now used 4 cups total–the dough will be very sticky). Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
2. Cover your hands and work surface in flour (I just use a big cutting board). Knead the dough for five minutes, adding 1 TBS of flour at a time as it gets sticky–basically, you are pushing/pulling the dough like a Brooklyn pizza maker and adding 1 TBS of flour at a time to prevent stickiness. The flour is JUST to prevent sticking, so don’t give in to the temptation to throw tons more flour in there. You’re done when the dough is soft and only a little sticky.   
3. Make the dough into a ball and put it in a large bowl (lightly greased with oil, butter, or Pam) and turn it over once to very lightly coat with grease. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place for one hour so the dough can rise.
4. Put the dough back on your floured surface (save your plastic wrap–you can reuse it). Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into quarters. Then make four more pieces out of each quarter–so you now have 16 pieces. Roll each of these into a smooth ball. Put each ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a few inches apart. 
5. With the same sharp knife, cut three slits into the top of each ball–I tried varying depths and they all worked out fine–I liked the look of the deep (but not all the way through) cut best. 
6. Cover each tray with lightly-greased plastic wrap (grease side-down, natch). Let the dough rise for another hour.
7. Make your topping– combine the flour, confectioners sugar, butter, egg, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a mixing bowl until smooth. Put one TBS of mix on each bun–it will not look pretty but that is a-okay. The heat of baking smooths it out. Allow the buns to rise for ANOTHER 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 when you have ten minutes to go.
8. Bake at 375or 18-24 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

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