Hello! I know its been a while since my last blog post but I have been very busy on the personal and professional front. Personally, I had my car impounded because it got too old and Delhi has a regulation that a car older than 15 years needs to sold. So… now I spend a fortune on Ubers since public transport is scarce (seamless policy making am I right?). Professionally, I started work at a new company. I am a digital specialist at a new marketing and public relations startup! I’m genuinely excited about working (and cutting my travel time by 2/3rds) on new projects, with new people, and learning other styles of doing the same job. One of the best things about working in a startup is the exposure to not only the work but also to mentors who are usually domain experts and primary stakeholders of the company. Having the opportunity to interact with such experienced professionals is something very unique that at times is lost at a big name organisations.
I have been fortunate to find strong mentors in the jobs that I’ve had. I think I am still at a stage where I need some direction from a larger sense since I find myself not as confident at owning a big chunk of a project. While others trust me, I think that pressure of failure is still more crippling than motivating. That being said, I have found some authority in my own voice and opinions which I do believe will grow, hopefully a lot quicker in a smaller company as the one I am in. Now that I am at the end of week two of my new job, something my last boss said seems to be a daily theme. She’d said: “you will have a lot of unlearning to do.” I agreed with when she had said it but I didn’t exactly know how that unlearning would manifest itself.
I really don’t want to get into how I’m currently unlearning because that’s boring but instead I find the logic of unlearning a lot more interesting. In high school I found no opportunity to unlearn. By that I mean: there was no one time that someone said that “the way you are doing things are wrong, here is how I do it, what do you think?” This is because in HS, we were told that things are wrong, we were told how to do them, but no one asked us what we thought. For unlearning something you need to have a chance to understand why is something different, can you change that, and if not, how would you approach the same thing. This is why jobs that are too scientific, too step-based like working in a lab or being an airplane pilot were interesting but never had me hooked— there was no room to express your experience, opinion, and qualitative reasoning. College is where I learnt to unlearn. Of course, there were things that had to be done is a certain way such as the way an assignment is written (which for the better part of my first year I got away with because I played the foreigner card). However, things like what I wrote about, how I chose to express an opinion was all up for grabs. I think that is what I really helped me learn how to transition from the different stages of my life.
In cooking, unlearning begins once you learn the basics and you get tired of following a recipe. This has been the case for me since I’ve started to cook. I never follow a recipe because I believe I am better than the recipe. This is also why for my first year of cooking I never made good food. Things were always off and I didn’t seem to understand what. It took a whole summer of meticulous recipe following to then notice the spaces where I could challenge the status quo. These cinnamon rolls have been a product of this process. A yeasted dough has rules. You need to begin by waking up the yeast by suspending it in warm water. Then you have to feed the yeast on some sugar to make it active enough that it then devours its main meal— the dough. Once you learn that, you can begin to experiment based on the conditions you’re in. Delhi is a warm and mostly humid climate. Which means that you don’t have to give yeast very warm water and if you add sugar to your dough you can cut down on the time you have to leave the dough to rise. Most cinnamon rolls add a lot of fat to the dough to get that rich and sometime flaky texture. I wanted a deep bite in mine. Almost like the crust of a Papa John’s pizza. So I cut the fat by half and added raisins that both add sweet and provide that extra cushion of warmth with every bite. It may not seem like much, but unlearning is the way to learn— otherwise all you’re doing is regurgitating and that gets boring real quick.
400ml milk (skimmed is fine)
100g unsalted butter (if salted, omit the additional salt)
2 x 7g sachets of dried yeast
110g caster sugar
750g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
For the filling:
110g soft unsalted butter
100g brown sugar
3 tablespoons of cinnamon
For the egg wash:
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons water
Melt the butter in a large pot gently on a low heat and then add the milk. When the mixture is lukewarm, remove from the heat and add the two sachets of dried yeast, whisking to incorporate.
Mix the flour, sugar, salt and cardamom in a large mixing bowl. Make a well and pour the wet ingredients in. Using a wooden spoon mix until you have a rough dough. When the dough has taken shape and is no longer sticky, turn out onto a clean floured surface and knead for about 6 minutes. Dust with a little flour if you find the dough is too sticky. Transfer the dough to a floured bowl, covered by kitchen towel and let it rise for 45 minutes in a warm dark place (I put it inside a microwave)
Preheat the oven to 220°C. To prepare the filling, in a bowl, beat the butter, sugar and cinnamon together until you have a smooth paste.
When the dough has risen, punch it down in the bowl and cut it in half. Roll one of the halves into a rectangle about 3mm thick, and then spread the filling all over. Sprinkle in raisins.
From the long side, roll the dough so you get a snail effect and slice into approx 12 pieces. Place the slices in a non stick muffin tray with six holes.
Reduce the heat to 190˚C and then bake the rolls in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough. Eat warm.