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Cinnamon Rolls (Buns) Recipe & Video

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These Cinnamon Rolls (Buns) are made with an enriched white yeast bread. They have a wonderfully soft and tender crumb and are filled with a mixture of ground cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter (and sometimes raisins and/or chopped nuts). Although you may be able to buy these gorgeous yeast buns, nothing compares to the smiles you get when your family wakes up to the lovely smell of these baking in the oven. 

 

I suspect that many of us have gotten away from making our own Cinnamon Rolls as we think they are just too much work and take too much time. However, we need to realize that a yeast dough is really not any more difficult to make than a cake batter. The differences are that we are using yeast and that the dough does need to rise, although during this time we can be off doing something else. I love how these Cinnamon Rolls have a soft and tender crumb and that is because the dough contains butter, eggs, and milk. Keep in mind that this rich yeast dough will take about 1 1/2 hours for the first rise. Then, all you need to do is roll the dough into a square, sprinkle it with a sweet filling made of brown sugar, ground cinnamon, flour, and butter, roll the dough into a cylinder, and cut into eight individual cinnamon rolls. Next, the rolls are placed in a greased baking pan and covered with a sheet of lightly greased plastic wrap. While you can let the rolls rise and then bake them off the same day, I often like to place the unbaked rolls in the refrigerator overnight. This is perfect when you want to serve freshly baked Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast. The unbaked rolls rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight, so all you need to do the next morning is take the rolls out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature while you heat up the oven. Then just bake them and you have hot Cinnamon Rolls that everyone will enjoy. You can eat these just as they are or, where I come from, we like to slice them in half, place them under the broiler until nicely browned, and then slather each half with butter. 

A few notes on ingredients. You can use either active dry yeast or SAF Instant (Gold) yeast in this recipe. Both types give excellent results. I like to add some dried milk powder to the dough as it enhances the color of the crust, adds flavor, and helps to keep the bread moist. However, you can leave it out. For the salt, I like to use kosher salt.

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Cinnamon Rolls: In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (can use an electric hand mixer), combine 2 1/4 cups (295 grams) flour with the dried milk powder (if using) and the yeast.

In a small saucepan, stirring constantly, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt just till warm (about 120 degrees F) (49 degrees C) and the butter is almost melted. With the mixer on low speed, gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, and beat until combined. On low speed, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Then beat this mixture on high speed for 3 minutes. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook (or knead by hand), and knead in the remaining 2 1/4 cups (295 grams) flour until you have a soft dough that is smooth and elastic, but not sticky  (5 minutes). Add a little more flour if necessary. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (73 - 75 degrees C) (23 - 24 degrees C) until soft and puffy and almost double in size (approximately 1 1/2 hours). Then gently punch the dough to release the air and let rest for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a bowl stir together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender, or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12 inch (30 cm) square. Lightly brush the surface of the dough with cream or water. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the rolled out dough and top with raisins and/or nuts (if desired). Gently press the sugar mixture into the dough. Lightly brush one end of the dough with a little half-and-half or light cream (to seal the edges of the rolls). Roll the dough to form a log, starting at the end opposite the edge you brushed with cream. (Do not roll the dough too tightly or the centers of the rolls will pop up during baking.) Slice the log into eight equal-sized pieces. Arrange rolls in a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch (33 x 23 x 5 cm) baking pan. Cover rolls loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise, at room temperature (73 - 75 degrees C) (23 - 24 degrees C), until almost doubled (about one hour). (Or, at this point you can refrigerate the Cinnamon Rolls overnight.) Next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.)

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven.

When the Cinnamon Buns are proofed, lightly brush rolls with half-and-half or light cream. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or till browned, and a toothpick inserted into one of the buns, comes out clean. Also, if you lightly tap on the top of the buns they should sound hollow. The internal temperature of the Cinnamon Rolls should be 188 degrees F (87 C).  Remove rolls from oven. Brush again with half-and-half or light cream. Remove the Cinnamon Rolls from the pan by inverting onto a wire rack. Let cool. Re-invert so the tops of the Cinnamon Rolls are facing up.

Glaze: In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and enough cream to make a pourable glaze. With a spoon, drizzle the glaze on the tops of the Cinnamon Rolls.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 rolls.

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Cinnamon Rolls:

4 1/2 cups (590 grams) all-purpose flour, divided

3 tablespoons (21 grams) dried milk powder (optional)

1/4 ounce package (2 teaspoons) (7 grams) active dry yeast (can also use 2 teaspoons (6 grams) SAF Gold Instant Yeast)

1 cup (240 ml/grams) milk

1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, diced

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

3 large eggs (150 grams), at room temperature

Filling:

3/4 cup (155 grams) light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cold (cut into pieces)

1/2 cup (50 grams) raisins or currants and/or chopped nuts (optional)

Half-and-half (or light cream)

Glaze: (Optional)

3/4 cup (90 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar

about 2 tablespoons half-and-half or light cream

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