When the days shorten and the light changes in August, it's time to contemplate the turning tide of the year. To us over here at Tasting Table, that means transitioning from grilling season to fall baking season. So, as the leaves turn golden and drop, you'll find us daydreaming about mixing up a toothsome batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls with a cream-cheese icing. Oh, you are too? Then take this one piece of advice from us: Don't add the cinnamon to your dough, because it will mess with the yeast's ability to ferment and prevent the desired fluffiness in your cake texture.
Are we telling you to skip the cinnamon altogether? Good heavens, no! Cinnamon is a big part of fall baking. Go nuts with it in the filling. Just make sure to add other things to the dough (nutmeg will do wonderfully well) that won't slow or halt fermentation. Cinnamon, as it turns out (and we're looking at you too, ginger) has antimicrobial properties, and yeast is a living thing whose eating habits just happen to give us many beautiful things, including bread and wine. Let's get a little more into it.
It's A Living Thing And A Terrible Thing To Lose
The type of yeast you'll be using for your fall baking, as well as in home brewing or wine-making projects, is a domesticated strain known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This wonderful fungi friend eats sugar and converts it into two things: alcohol and carbon dioxide. It's the latter that creates the little air bubbles that make your pumpkin-cinnamon-roll dough rise to sumptuous heights.
Cinnamon, that delicious little peel of tree bark, is S. cerevisiae's natural enemy. According to scientific studies, cinnamon's antibacterial properties damage cell membranes, mess with lipid profiles, and suppress cell division -- not the kind of thing you want when developing a gorgeous little yeast colony. So, keep your dough separate from the filling mixture when going about your fall baking. That is, until that wonderful moment when it all comes together and goes into the oven. Can't you just smell it?
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