Why French-ified? Because in most (though by no means all) bakeries, cinnamon buns are made with brioche dough. And brioche is French. Or at least the word brioche is French. As for the bread itself, I confess I have my doubts. It was the Viennese who were really the true masters of the baking arts back in the day, and I suspect they were the first to develop the techniques for buttery, eggy breads. The fact that the French may well have co-opted them under the group name “brioche” wouldn’t be surprising, since they did something similar with the baguette and the croissant — both of which were invented in, you guessed it, Vienna.
But then does it really matter where it all came from in the beginning? Damn right it does, especially if you’re a resident of Vienna. Those folks have been getting the short end of the recognition stick for decades, at least here in America where everyone seems to assume that everything decadent and delicious comes to us by way of Paris. But I digress.
There’s no question that there are multiple ways of making cinnamon buns — and without a stand mixer, which is what a good brioche dough requires. Classically, cinnamon buns are made with a fairly straight bread dough that’s enriched with milk, rolled out, and melted butter poured over it. It’s how bakers before the advent of the machine incorporated butter into a yeast dough (without laminating), and it’s a perfectly acceptable method. However as we’ll see, the brioche/stand mixer method is superior in the sense that it prevents much gluten formation, and keeps the bready portion of the bun softer and more delicate.