Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

I'll try to keep this post brief today (HA!). Mother Humble is arriving tonight and that means I need to get the house in order. It also means I need to hide any food I don't want her to swipe for the gigantic cooking projects she tends to undertake during her visits.

Anyway, so despite the near constant bread baking around here, I have yet to post a single sourdough recipe on the blog. This has everything to do with Mr. Humble's deciding he is the 'artisan' bread maker around here and his completely taking over the job of supplying the household with bread. However, I was able to commandeer a bit of the sourdough starter this week and start the process of creating sourdough cinnamon rolls.

I found a recipe on The Fresh Loaf that sounded great. I love really soft, tender cinnamon rolls. So when I'm hunting for a recipe, I look for heavily enriched doughs (woohoo butter!). This one delivers and has additional tenderizing ingredients (eggs, mashed potato and of course, wild yeast) so I was expecting a super soft billowy roll.

They were. Oh yes.

The catch... they took days to make. DAYS. Spanning thirty-six hours, to be exact.

I'm not the most patient baker. I understand that delicious things happen when dough cold ferments for extended periods and that waiting is usually rewarded, but I'm not sure I can handle making these again. They just took soooo long. Mr. Humble doesn't agree, he loved them and promised to make the dough for me whenever I had the urge to bake cinnamon rolls. Not that it will do anything to relieve my impatience...

Still, if you're looking to make sourdough cinnamon roll and happen to be in absolutely no rush, this is a good recipe.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
by Mountaindog @ The Fresh Loaf
yields 12 large rolls

150 grams 100% hydration sourdough starter, recently fed and ripened (when it has just doubled it's volume is a excellent time to use it)
340 grams lukewarm water
340 grams all-purpose flour

Let this mixture sit at room temperature for 12 hours, until doubled (usually overnight.) If your starter tends to double in less than 12 hours or you're not going to make the final dough for a while, then keep the levain in the fridge until you're ready to make the dough.

Final Dough
113 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
225 grams 3 large eggs
42 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) honey
24 grams (2 tablespoons) pure vanilla Extract
130 grams mashed potato (I recommend Yukon Gold)
195 grams (3/4 cup) buttermilk or whole milk
850 grams levain
700 grams all-purpose flour
21 grams salt

In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter then beat in the eggs, honey, vanilla and mashed potatoes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until well blended.

Swap out your paddle for the dough hook and add the milk/buttermilk and levain, mixing until blended and then gradually add the flour and salt to the bowl. Continue mixing with the hook until well-blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Allow the dough to rest covered in the bowl for 20 minutes.

After the rest, mix with the hook for another 2-3 minutes.

The resulting dough will be very moist and sticky.

Turn the dough out into a large, lightly-oiled bowl. Cover and allow to ferment in a cool location (55-65°F) until doubled (this should take 8-12 hours, depending on how warm the location is). Every 4-6 hours, lift the dough to stretch and then fold it onto itself.

Towards the end of the fermentation you can ready the filling:


double the dry ingredients for extra coverage/fun

170 grams (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted.
85 grams cream or half & half
300 grams dark brown sugar
180 grams raisins (I omitted these because I consider them a blight on cinnamon rolls)
3 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) cinnamon
12 grams (1 tablespoon) vanilla extract

Combine the melted butter, vanilla and cream. In another bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon and raisins.

Once the dough has finished the ferment, you can roll it out and fill.

Since the dough is so sticky, I highly recommend using a well-floured baking couche. Don't have one? No need to hit a specialty store. Just visit your nearest fabric store and buy a large heavy piece of linen or canvas. Thoroughly wash it, flour it and never wash it again (if for some reason, dough sticks to your couche, let it dry and then scrape it off). It will make rolling, handling and proofing any sticky dough so much easier. The scrap of cloth happens to be one of the handiest things it my kitchen. When you're done using it, simply dust off the excess flour, fold it and stash it.

Okay, back to the rolls...

Turn out your dough onto your floured couche and dust it lightly with flour. Roll it out into a rectangle, (how large will depend on how thick you want your rolls and how many spirals of cinnamon you desire). I rolled mine a bit larger than 18"x20" ...I think.

Brush the sheet of dough with the butter/cream mixture and then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar.

Roll up the dough, using the couche to help roll it onto itself (I told you it was handy).

Then using a piece of floss or thread, cut the 1"-1.5" rolls from the log. Place these into a greased baking pan or casserole. Brush the rolls with a little butter and then cover. Slowly proof the rolls for 12 hours (or overnight) in a cool place (or the refrigerator) until they have doubled.

Bake straight from the fridge in a 400°F oven for 25-35 minutes (if you have very thick rolls it may take a bit longer) or until the internal temperature hits 195-200°F on instant-read thermometer.

Once out of the oven, brush the rolls with a little more melted butter to keep them soft and work on the topping.

Mountaindog provides a recipe for a cream cheese icing (you can find it here). I went with my own favorite cinnamon roll slathering glaze:


3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
whole milk

Whisk together the ingredients, adding just enough milk to make a fluid glaze that flows thickly and smoothly off the end of the whisk.

Use the whisk to drizzle the icing over the rolls and serve warm.

If you're not able to serve the rolls immediately, they'll keep for a couple days covered and refrigerated. Gently rewarm before serving.



  1. I adore cinnamon rolls, but 36 hours? I don't think I have that kind of patience.

    I also don't like raisins in my cinnamon rolls either, but I do like them with dried cranberries and chopped pecans.

  2. Oh, yum. Those look wonderful.

    My husband would agree with you, on the subject of raisins. I only put raisins in things I don't intend to share.

  3. MMMMMM, looks and sounds sooo good! I wish computers had a "smell" feature! Nothing smells better than freshly baked cinn rolls! I might have to try these out! Love it!

  4. oh my gosh those look amazing! I think the only way I could do the 36 hour thing is if I was planning on using them for a holiday or special event. But wow.

    Also, I do have a question for you. I was hoping to make some biscuits for mother's day this Sunday & I seem to remember you posting a recipe a while back. However, when I searched through your archives I could not find I going crazy or have you never posted about biscuits? I know they're super easy but I just figured your recipe would be great.

    Thanks! :)

  5. So, seeing as I still consider myself a "novice" as far as baking goes, anything bread-related makes me break out in hives. Haha, not really but it just seems so time-consuming and delicate. That being said, these look amazing. Also, it's about time I suck it up and stop being a pansy. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. ahealthiermaria,

    Nope, no biscuits so far.


    I've never found bread very intimidating. Perhaps because bread is where I started baking. I would sneak out of bed as a kid (12-13 I think) and bake baguettes all night and then eat them fresh from the oven slathered with butter. Then sneak back to bed and claim to be too sick to go to school in the morning.

    Of course everyone knew what I was doing because I left the kitchen a total disaster.

  7. ahealthiermaria - maybe you are thinking of the dueling potato rolls?

  8. Having recently been diagnosed with diabetes, I can only taste these with my eyes, but I can almost smell and taste them. Thank you for providing those excellent photos and descriptions. I shall continue to 'lurk' on your blog and keep tantalizing my taste buds!

  9. These look heavenly and I am jealous of your patience! It is not really one of my strong virtues... If I want cinnamon rolls, I want them now. ;)

    That said, I might give these a try since they are so highly regarded!

  10. I have a go-to recipe for cinnamon rolls that are much quicker to make, but if I ever feel like making SPECIAL cinnamon rolls, these will be the ones! Thanks for sharing this recipe. They look amazing.

  11. Hello Ms. Humble! I've vowed upon finishing my BA in anthro to make these as a graduation present to myself. But I was wondering... 1.5 teaspoons seems like hardly any for 6 cinnamon rolls.. did they turn out very cinnamon-y, or could the spice-fiends among us benefit from doubling the amount of cinnamon? (This seems like a recipe that I would NOT want to take any risks of ruining the first time through)

    Thanks! Love your blog.

  12. Meowmeowpants,

    Yes it is a tad light on the cinnamon. Though the brown sugar adds a nice caramel note to balance the modest spice. One could certainly get away with doubling it.

    In fact, being a bit of a spice fiend myself, I'd probably encourage it.

  13. I had never heard of a couche before, but as it happens, my mother has had one for decades! I must put that on my list of Inheritables, as I imagine a seasoned couche must be along the lines of a seasoned cast-iron skillet.

  14. There is no way I'd hang in there for 36 hours . . . you are the SAINT of SWEET ROLLS.

    However, I will volunteer to taste the next time I'm in Seattle. It's totally sacrificial, I realize...

  15. I was just saying the other day to my husband that I wanted to use my sourdough starter to make a delicious sweet. These will be PERFECT for the weekend, although I know my pictures would be nowhere near as good. I'll let you know how I get on :-)

  16. Yay! I for one would love more multi-day sourdough recipes from you (or your husband) -- you are so much more meticulous in figuring things out than I am -- I tend to bake by eyeballing and guesstimating (not always successfully, I hasten to add) but sourdough is relatively new to me, and the instructions on the nets are so radically varied -- well, it'd be nice to have some good instructions from a very trusted source.
    Btw, I made the hostess cupcakes a couple of times and you are my hero, as well as the hero of several of my friends, for that awesome recipe.

  17. I'm getting full just looking at these....

  18. I am totally on board with these, in theory. I am watching my weight so if I going to splurge it should be for something that takes lots of work and time. Seems a fair trade somehow. I could go to the gym a few times while they are working, right? Anyway, I have a question about anything yeasty. I have trouble finding a good place in my house to get it to rise...any suggestions? Particularly during the AC months. LOVE your blog! Thanks! (:

  19. wwfoodie,

    Anything yeasty, eh. Well yeast can do its thing in a fairly wide range of temperatures. Any temperature that is comfortable for humans is perfectly fine for yeast (even with the AC going). I let some of my doughs rise in the fridge, so it being too cool isn't a problem. Of course there is a time difference... it takes far longer for dough to rise in a cold spot vs a warm one.

    If you're looking for warm spots in a cool house try placing the dough above or near your refrigerator (this is usually a warm spot). Or in a cold oven with a pan of boiling water (this keeps the humidity high which can be great for proofing, just don't let the dough sit right above the water or the steam can heat the bowl and kill the yeast).

  20. I love cinnamon rolls, but 36 hours! Whoa! I guess I'd probably forget about them in 36 hours

  21. How absolutely divine these sound. I love your perfect spirals, and that gentle drizzle of icing...I'm a believer. Thanks for YET ANOTHER amazing post, Humble. You rock.

  22. I am preparing the starter for this now and am very excited about making something other than straight forward bread with my sourdough starter.

    P.S. You might want to moderate the post in Chinese above as I think it's an advertisement for a pornographic site.

  23. I add some yeast to speed up the process (because I can't usually wait that long sourdough rolls) and a little lemon extract or zest (try it... it's AMAZING! The Bread Baker's Apprentice gets credit there) and no potatoes... and they are the best sweet rolls ever. I like to make orange rolls and lemon rolls too. Sourdough sweetrolls are the billowiest, tastiest sweetrolls ever!


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