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Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

The combination of pillowy sweet dough and warm hints of cinnamon were made for a bold cup of hot coffee. These rolls require some time and effort, but we promise the results are worth every bit of work! Top with your favorite glaze, switch up the spices or even add chopped walnuts or raisins to make this recipe your own.

Recipe adapted from Emilie Raffa at the Clever Carrot

What You Need

For the Sweet Dough

  • 160 g (2/3 cup) milk, whole or 2%
  • 28 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter plus more for coating*
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) bubbly, active sourdough starter
  • 24 g (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 300 g (2½ cups) all-purpose flour (we used King Arthur)
  • 3 g (1/2 tsp) fine sea salt
  • cooking spray or oil, for coating

For the Filling

  • 28 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon

For the Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

How to Make It

Yields: 8 rolls
Note: Requires overnight rise time. Plan accordingly.


Make the Dough & Let it Rise

In the evening, warm the milk and 28 g (2 tbsp) butter in a shallow pan or microwave. Cool slightly before using. Add the egg, starter, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix to combine using the paddle attachment. With the machine running, slowly pour in the warm milk mixture. Add the flour and salt, and continue mixing until a rough dough forms, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes. After the dough has rested, switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed for 6-8 minutes. The dough should be soft and pull away from the sides of the bowl when ready. If it seems very sticky (although it should be tacky), add just a sprinkle of flour to incorporate. Transfer the dough to a medium bowl, coated in butter. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for another 30 minutes. After resting, grab a portion of the dough and stretch and fold it toward the center of the bowl. Repeat this 4 times, turning the bowl as you go. This will aerate the dough and make it feel soft and supple. Cover again, and let rise overnight at room temperature until double in size. This can take anywhere from 8-12 hours or more.

Roll the Dough

The following morning, lightly oil and flour your countertop to prevent sticking. Gently coax the dough out of the bowl. Stretch and fold the edges toward the center to gently deflate some of the air. Using floured fingertips, flip the dough over, give it a nice pat, and let it rest for 15 minutes to relax the gluten. It will be easier to roll out this way. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to hang over the sides for easy removal. Lightly dust the surface of your dough with flour and then do the same for your rolling pin. Roll the dough into a 16 x 12-ish rectangle to yield (8x) 1 1/2- 2-inch cinnamon rolls. If at any point the dough shows resistance and is no longer easy to roll, let it relax for another 10 minutes and then try again.

Make the Cinnamon-Sugar Filling

Melt 28 g (2 tbsp) of butter in a shallow pan or microwave. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a separate small bowl and set aside. Once the butter has cooled slightly, brush the entire surface of the dough, including all the sides. Using your hands, sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon-sugar mixture leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.

Roll & Cut the Dough

Using lightly oiled fingertips, working with the long side of the dough (16-inch), roll it up pressing down as you go. Take your time with this step. You want the log to be somewhat tight so that the swirls stay intact when baked. Once you get to the end, make sure the dough is facing seam side down. If at any point the dough starts to stick (it tends to get warm from the heat of your hands) lightly oil or flour your fingertips, take a deep breath, and try working with it again. To cut the dough, portion the log into 1 1/2- 2-inch sections using an oiled knife or bench scraper. My rolls were 2 inches. For best results, gently score the dough first so that each piece is roughly the same size.

Second Rise

Place the rolls into a 9-inch parchment lined springform pan and let rest for about 1-2 hours, or until the dough puffs up. I like to scrunch the parchment into a ball first, open it up, and then line the pan. It tends to stay snugger this way.

Bake the Cinnamon Rolls

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Place the dough onto the center rack and bake for 35-40 minutes (check at the 30-minute mark). The tops should be light golden brown and the internal temperature should read 190 F when ready. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack.

Make the Glaze

While the rolls are in the oven make the glaze – in the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using your hand mixer, beat together melted butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and heavy cream. Once it’s all smooth, add in the honey and give it a final mix.

Enjoy Them

To serve, top the rolls with some of the glaze or lightly dust with powdered sugar. These rolls are best enjoyed slightly warm on the same day they are baked.

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