I remember buying blocks of fresh yeast from the supermarket when I was a child.
They came as foil wrapped cubes, and were the only way you bought yeast back then.
(Those were the days when you also left tokens outside your front door for the milkman - he'd swop them for bottles of fresh milk or orange juice. It sounds like something from another age, but seriously, I'm not that old! I also remember roller skating around the neighborhood back then - so, see... they'd invented the wheel already!)
Now, though, I buy sachets of instant yeast, let them expire in my pantry...then buy some more.
And when I eventually do get around to making a yeast dough, I'm hooked again and remember why I love it so much!
It's not just the delicious smell and taste; there's nothing quite like the slow process of proofing a yeast recipe to distance you from the too-fast tempo of the 21st century.
(If you want one right now, you're going to have to make a trip to the local Cinnabon!)
Cinnamon and Pecan Buns
Recipe adapted from jocooks.com
640g flour (all purpose or cake flour)
1 packet / 10g instant dry yeast (check the expiry date!)
120g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
80g butter softened
250ml warm milk (not too hot - that will kill the yeast)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer. Attach a dough hook.
Add the butter, milk and eggs.
Use the dough hook to mix until a soft dough is formed.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with cling wrap or a damp towel and leave in a warm spot* to rise for an hour (It should double in size.)
*Use your oven: warm it to 50'C, then switch off the heat.
In the meantime make the filling:
80g butter, softened
200g brown sugar
3 tbs ground cinnamon
120g finely chopped pecan nuts
Once the dough has doubled in size, roll it out into a large rectangle (mine covered a 50x40cm silicone mat); spread the butter (from the filling list) over the surface of the dough.
Sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar and pecans evenly over the surface.
Working from a long edge, roll the dough up into a long sausage, then slice along the length into rounds.
Place them, spiral sides up, in a large greased baking pan.
Loosely cover with cling-wrap, and allow to double in size again in a warm spot for about 30minutes.
During this time, preheat your oven to 180'C.
Once the buns have risen again, bake for 15-20 minutes or until a light golden brown.
Serve warm or cold.
The biggest challenge is to resist having a second ... or third...
....and then there were none!