These were the fluffiest cinnamon rolls that we ever had! The flavors and texture were so light and airy, you would think it was diet food. (Ha Ha – I wish!) I love the layers and layers of cinnamon. The 14″x20″ rectangle of dough really lends to the thin layers of dough between more layers of cinnamon goodness. The dough is pillowy – that is all I can say to describe it. To be more like Cinnabun, add some lemon zest to the icing at the end. That was mentioned in a book I read about how they set themselves apart and started their business. I can tell Panera (St. Louis Bread Company) uses lemon as well. To always have lemon on hand, I love TruLemon. It is in powdered form, so it never goes bad and it is made from real lemons.
Since these are sourdough cinnamon rolls, they will take a little bit of more planning. I used the recipe – with some alterations – from King Arthur.
No sourdough on hand? I have on the blog: Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls, Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls, Lighter Version Cinnamon Rolls, Apple Cinnamon Rolls, Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls, and Quick Yeast Cinnamon Rolls.
A word about cinnamon:
My family and I agreed that the original King Arthur recipe does not have enough cinnamon. Looking back on other recipes for a 9×13″ pan of rolls, most use about 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. So, I changed that to increase the cinnamon flavor. But, if you like them to taste more of a bun with brown sugar, then you can use the original 1 tablespoon amount.
Your cinnamon source also makes a BIG difference. Fresh cinnamon from places like Penzeys is stronger in flavor. I find fresh and bold cinnamon sources need to be cut down in a recipe.
A word about baking time and temperature:
This is another part of the recipe that I changed. I found that 400 degrees made the cinnamon rolls brown beautifully on the outside, but the inside center rolls were still raw in the middle. The original recipe calls for 18-22 minutes at 400. Did they still taste good? Absolutely. But I had to remake them another way to recommend the recipe to friends and family. Baking at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes bakes them to the center.
Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
- 227 grams sourdough starter, ripe 1 cup
- 3/4 cup warm milk
- 4 Tb butter, soft
- 330 grams all purpose flour 2 and 3/4 cup
- 57 grams white whole wheat flour (or substitute all purpose) 1/2 cup
- 40 grams sugar 1/4 cup
- 1 tsp instant yeast optional
- 9 grams salt 1 and 1/2 tsp.
- 159 grams brown sugar, light or dark 3/4 cup
- 2 Tb all purpose flour
- 2 Tb cinnamon or cut back to 1 Tb. for lighter flavor
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 Tb melted butter
- 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tb. milk
- Mix all the dough ingredients EXCEPT salt together in a stand mixer. This should take a few minutes. Add salt and yeast, but do NOT mix in. Cover and let sit out for 20 minutes.
- Mix the dough and salt and yeast together for 1 minute. Knead or mix on low 2-3 minutes.
- At this point, you can put the dough in the refridgerator and save it for tomorrow. Or, you can cover and let sit for 4 hours.
- If covering and sitting for 4 hours, once per hour pull the dough and fold. Use a wet hand to stretch the dough and avoid sticky dough. You do this four times in the shape of a square. If putting in the fridge, pull out the dough from the fridge and stretch if possible. Allow it to sit and warm up to room temperature which will take 1-2 hours.
- While the dough rises, stir all of the filling ingredients together EXCEPT the melted butter. And prepare a 9x13" pan with baking spray or cooking spray.
- Roll out the dough gently on a very floured surface. This dough will be super sticky! You need to form about a 14" by 20" rectangle. Brush the melted butter all over the dough except for the top edge. Leave about 1" at the top with no filling or butter. The top edge is the shorter edge, so the rectangle facing you is portrait or long on the side and shorter up top.
- Sprinkle the filling onto the rolled dough. Gently press the filling into the dough.
- Roll the dough from the short end up to the edge you did not put filling. It should form a log. Pinch it sealed. Using floss or a serrated knife, cut the log in half. Cut each half in half. You should have 4 equal pieces. Each of those pieces you will cut into 3 pieces. Floss may be easier here. Usually a serrated knife works fine, but this dough is very sticky.
- Place each roll cut side down into the prepared 9x13" pan. Cover and let rise 2-3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the cover and bake the cinnamon rolls 22-25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
- Prepare the icing: in a small bowl, add the vanilla extract. Mix together. Add the milk little by little until you are happy with the thickness. You could add soft butter or cream cheese if you wanted as well. Spread on warm rolls. Serve immediately.
- Store cinnamon rolls covered at room temperature for 1-2 days. After that, I usually put them in the fridge.