The Best Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

The secret to making the best cinnamon rolls recipe is using all the best ingredients and the method that adds the most flavor.


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Cinnamon Rolls
cinnamon rolls

A VISIT TO VERMONT

We drove through Vermont, photographing the changing leaves. Stopping at a small bakery, we had some really incredible cinnamon rolls. The baker was nice enough to tell us the secret – the flavor was from the maple syrup that is produced in the area.

Maples in Vermont

THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS RECIPE

The cinnamon rolls in Vermont inspired us to improve on the usual recipe, to create the best recipe. We did this by gathering all the best ingredients and using the methods that add the most flavor. These are not the fluffy, tasteless, overly sweet cinnamon rolls you may be used to. These are the cinnamon rolls where every ingredient adds flavor. That make you think of the old fashioned, homemade ones that your Grandmother used to make. Ok, that my Grandmother used to make. That make you think you are in Vermont.

best cinnamon rolls recipe
best cinnamon rolls recipe


THE INGREDIENTS AND METHOD FOR MAKING THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS RECIPE

THE SCIENCE OF MAKING ENRICHED BREAD

It is important to understand a little of the science of making bread. There are very few ingredients, so each ingredient has a key roll. Enriched breads are different from hearth or sandwich breads in that they have additions like eggs, milk, sugar and butter. They are often made for holidays and celebrations. These ingredients are an opportunity to add a lot of flavor, but make it harder for the yeast to make the dough rise.

INGREDIENTS

Brands will vary in quality and weight and consistency, so it is helpful to choose a quality brand for the main ingredients and stick with it as you change other ingredients in the bread.

FLOURGold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour has a lower protein amount than bread flour and some all purpose flours – 10.5 percent protein. This is a good flour for baking enriched breads, since it makes the baked goods more tender. In addition, the company ensures that the protein content is carefully calibrated, so you get consistent results. It is important to use the unbleached flour. Bleaching makes the flour whiter, but it interferes with the activity of the yeast.

SUGAR – We use Wholesome organic sugar, because it is produced from sugar cane fields that are green cut and are not burned or treated with herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. Burning sugar cane fields contributes to air pollution and climate change, and is a major cause of the destruction of the rain forest. Buying sugar from fields that are green cut helps prevent this destruction. The sugar also has a better taste because of how it is produced, but mostly we use it because it is a sustainable choice. It is more expensive than buying the standard brands, but the difference is only a few cents per recipe, so it’s worth it. We also save money by buying this in bulk direct from the company and storing it in jars in the pantry. We also add molasses to a recipe instead of using brown sugar, since brown sugar is just sugar with molasses added. This saves money, since brown sugar is more expensive than white sugar, and it saves storage.

HOMEMADE BROWNED BUTTER FROM HORIZON ORGANIC BUTTER – Using browned butter, or buerre noistte as it is known in France, adds a huge amount of flavor to baked goods. We use Horizon Organic butter to make browned butter. We think Horizon products taste better than any other dairy products we have tried. This is probably because the products are organic and from family farming partners. Just as important, Horizon is a certified B corporation that has committed to becoming carbon positive across their entire supply chain by 2025.

BUERRE NOISETTE
browned butter
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browned butter

HOMEMADE CREAM CHEESE FROM HORIZON CREAM – We use Horizon Organic  cream to make cream cheese. It’s real cream cheese, made with nothing but a culture and Horizon cream. We save money by buying It by the half gallon at a big box store. It’s also easy because we make it in the Instant Pot.

How to Make Real Cream Cheese
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How to Make Real Cream Cheese

WATER – Using more water allows the gluten to form naturally without kneading the dough.

YEAST – The yeast must be good quality. We use saf-instant. Instant yeast is easier to work with and is more reliable because of how it’s processed. It doesn’t need to be soaked in water before using it, it can just be added to the mix, but soaking it will give it a head start.

SALT – We like the quality of Diamond Kosher salt and don’t want the iodine taste. The weight and structure of salt varies between brands so it is important to chose a salt and stick with it to be consistent. Salt will interfere with the activity of the yeast. This might be a problem, or it might be something that is desired in order to slow down the yeast. Mixing the salt with the flour before adding the yeast will help limit the effect.

BARLEY MALT SYRUP or MAPLE SYRUP – Many of the same flavors of baked bread are found in barley malt syrup, so we often add some to the dough to increase the flavor. Maple syrup can also add a rich flavor to sweet enriched breads.

SPICES – Ordering spices in bulk from a spice dealer will give you a great price and the best quality. This will make a huge difference in your baking. We order most spices from World Spice Merchants, because they carry a huge variety of top quality spices.

TIME – Time can also be considered an ingredient, and it makes a huge impact on the finished product. Over time, the starch in the flour converts to sugars and other flavors are released. This process requires about twelve hours. At the same time, the yeast is increasing and causing the dough to rise. Most recipes allow the bread to raise for only a few hours at room temperature. Slowing this process down, by putting the dough in a cold place, will allow the flavors to develop before the yeast has caused the dough to rise. This is easy to do at home just by putting the dough in the refrigerator. It can be much harder for a bakery to do because of the limited space in the refrigerator, so bakery bread is often made with a portion of refrigerated dough (a poolish or a biga) and a portion of fresh flour and water making the recipes more complicated. This explanation is an over simplification of a much more complicated process, but it does give a clearer picture of why this works. Another method of slowing down the fermentation is by using less yeast and allowing the dough to ferment at room temperature, but enriched doughs contain eggs and dairy products, so it is not safe to all the dough to remain at room temperature for over 12 that long.


METHOD FOR MAKING BREAD

WEIGH THE INGREDIENTS – It is very difficult to accurately measure dry ingredients, like flour, in a volume container, like a measuring cup. The ingredients for baking bread need to be measured by weight, using a scale. And it is easier and more accurate to use grams instead of having to do the math on ounces and pounds. Using weight to measure the ingredients is also easier – just place the bowl on the scale and zero the scale after each measurement.

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Weigh the Ingredients

WETTER DOUGH -The method for making this bread is to use more water. Using more water allows the gluten to form naturally without much kneading.

Best Dutch Oven Bread Recipe
Wetter Dough

LONGER FERMENTATION – During the first rise, The dough develops flavors as the carbohydrates are broken down and sugars and other compounds form. This takes 12 to 18 hours. In most recipes, the dough is only allowed to rise for a couple of hours, and the flavors have not developed. Refrigerating the dough will slow down the fermentation and allow the dough to rise for twelve hours while the flavors develop. The slow rise improves the taste, but also makes it much easier to make. The bread dough can be made in the evening and baked the following day at a convenient time. A batch of dough comes together in minutes with very little work, and next morning it is ready to shape and bake.

Pain a l’Ancienne French Bread dough
Bread dough

PROOFING THE DOUGH IN THE INSTANT POT – The Instant pot on the low yogurt setting is the perfect temperature to take the chill off the refrigerated dough. It can cut the time required for proofing the dough in half.

Proofing bread in the Instant Pot
Proofing bread in the Instant Pot


No Affiliates Statement

We call this our “no affiliates” statement because we accept no advertising, have no affiliates and accept no payment. We are not paid to mention brands – we just love buying the best, sharing that information and saving the planet at the same time. The effort put into writing and photographing the blog is solely based on our dedication to the cause.


CINNAMON ROLLS
cinnamon rolls

best cinnamon rolls recipe

THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS RECIPE

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24
Calories: 350kcal
Author: Lisa LeCoump

CHOOSING BRANDS:

For certain products, the choice of brand will make a big difference in the outcome of the recipe and in your carbon footprint. So, for those products, we have listed the brand. We are not paid to mention a brand and have no affiliates.

Ingredients

SWEET DOUGH

FILLING

FROSTING

Instructions

DOUGH

  • Place the mixing bowl for the stand mixer on the kitchen scale and measure in the flour, sugar, and salt by zeroing the scale before each measurement.
    Place a saucepan (or bowl, depending on how you will be heating the mixture) on the kitchen scale and measure in the milk and browned butter.
  • On the stove or in the microwave, heat the milk and browned butter to lukewarm and the butter melts (about 95 degrees F).
  • Pour the milk and butter mixture into the flour mixture. Sprinkle in the yeast. Add the lemon zest and maple syrup.
  • Using the mixer with the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook, increase the speed to medium-low and mix for 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes.
  • Scrape the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and form it into a ball.
  • Put the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl with enough room for it to double in size. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 4 days.

ON BAKING DAY

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Divide it in half. Form two balls. Put one back in the refrigerator for later. Cover them with plastic and let them rest or place in the Instant Pot with the setting for yogurt on low and a glass lid over the top. When the dough has doubled in size and a finger poke leaves an indentation it has proofed enough.
  • On a floured surface, roll out the ball into a 12 by 15 inch rectangle. If it resists, let it rest for a few minutes and then continue rolling.
  • Brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle the chopped nuts, sugar and cinnamon evenly over the two rectangles.
  • Line a pan with parchment paper. Roll up each rectangle into a tight log and cut into 1 inch slices. Place them on a sheet pan about an inch apart. Cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rise for 2 hours or until they have swelled up and are touching. They can be placed back in the Instant Pot to rise faster.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 25 minutes.

FROSTING

  • Combine all the ingredients using a mixer with the paddle attachment on low. Frost the rolls when they have cooled for at least 5 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 399IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg

WHY THIS RECIPE IS SUSTAINABLE:

Check out the chart below to see how food choices affect climate change.

By Hannah Ritchie - https://ourworldindata.org/food-choice-vs-eating-local, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=114706754

By Hannah Ritchie – https://ourworldindata.org/food-choice-vs-eating-local, CC BY-SA 4.0

https://tonyfitzgeraldphotography.com/2020/11/15/the-best-cinnamon-rolls-recipe/
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Nutrition Facts
THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS RECIPE
Amount per Serving
Calories
350
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
17
g
26
%
Saturated Fat
 
8
g
50
%
Trans Fat
 
0.4
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Cholesterol
 
33
mg
11
%
Sodium
 
327
mg
14
%
Potassium
 
136
mg
4
%
Carbohydrates
 
45
g
15
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
17
g
19
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
399
IU
8
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Calcium
 
54
mg
5
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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