The Best Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

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Cinnamon rolls have, and probably always will be, one of my favorite breakfast foods. I remember my grandpa making giant rolls for Christmas breakfast one time when I was a kid and that memory has been one that I’ll never forget. I never got his recipe but ever since I’ve been scratch cooking for my family I have tried to find a delicious cinnamon roll recipe to hopefully pass onto my kids and create tradition with.

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I have tried every yeast recipe in the book, attempting to make them a bit healthier with low sugar, and my rolls always came out tasting too yeasty. My daughter use to say they taste like “chipmunks”, like she knows what chipmunk taste like. But even still, I understood her complaint.

It wasn’t until I started my sourdough journey that I actually made a cinnamon roll the whole family can’t get enough of. The sourdough starter adds so much light and airy texture the rolls that makes them irresistibly soft and fluffy. The natural sourdough acids contribute to a subtle tanginess that complements the sweetness of the icing, creating a more complex and nuanced flavor profile. This is most definitely a recipe that will be passed down for generations in our family!

sourdough starter cinnamon rolls

If you haven’t gotten started in your sourdough journey yet, check out our step-by-step guide on how to make your own sourdough starter from scratch!

Understanding the Sourdough Starter

A sourdough starter is a natural leavening agent, a fermented mixture of flour and water that captures wild yeast and lactobacilli. For our cinnamon rolls, a 100% hydration starter, equal parts water and flour, is recommended. This ensures a lively and flavorful dough, enhancing the overall taste of your rolls.


4 Tips and Tricks for Perfect Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

best sourdough cinnamon rolls
  1. Active Sourdough Starter Magic:
    • Begin with a vibrant and active sourdough starter. A bubbly and well-fed starter ensures a robust fermentation process, contributing to the overall flavor and rise of the cinnamon rolls. If your starter has been dormant, consider refreshing it a few hours before incorporating it into the dough for optimal performance.
  2. Gentle Kneading for Light and Airy Texture:
    • Treat the dough with a delicate touch during the kneading process. Sourdough cinnamon rolls benefit from a lighter hand, as over-kneading can lead to a denser texture. Aim for a smooth and elastic dough without pushing it too far. This gentleness preserves the airy quality that makes these rolls irresistibly soft.
  3. Perfect Swirl Technique:
    • Achieving the ideal cinnamon swirl is an art. After rolling out the dough to a consistent thickness, spread a generous layer of softened butter, leaving a narrow margin at the edges. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling, then evenly sprinkle it over the buttered surface. Roll the dough tightly, starting from one end and moving toward the other. To cut perfect slices without flattening the roll, use unscented dental floss: slide it under the rolled dough, cross the ends, and pull to create a clean cut.
  4. Mindful Proofing for Optimal Rise:
    • Pay close attention to the proofing process to ensure a generous rise in your cinnamon rolls. Allow the rolled dough to proof in a warm, draft-free environment until it has doubled in size. This step is crucial for achieving the characteristic lightness and fluffiness of sourdough cinnamon rolls. Be patient and let the natural fermentation process work its magic.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

A soft and fluffy cinnamon roll using your sourdough starter is going to become your new favorite recipe!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Fermentation TIme10 hours
Servings: 8 rolls

Equipment

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 1 cup bubbly and active sourdough starter fed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Coconut oil, soft
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter reserved for later
  • Extra flour as needed

Cinnamon Mix:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • 2 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Prepare the Dough Mixture:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, flour, and milk. Allow this mixture to rest at room temperature for an extended period of 10-12 hours or, for the best results, leave it overnight to undergo a slow fermentation process.1 cup bubbly and active sourdough starter, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup milk

Incorporate Remaining Dough Ingredients:

  • Using a stand mixer with the dough attachment, introduce the remaining dough ingredients (excluding the butter) and ensure a well-blended mixture. 2 tablespoons sugar,1 egg,¼ cup Coconut oil, soft,1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder,

Kneading and Achieving Non-Stick Consistency:

  • Transfer the dough onto a generously floured work surface. Engage in a kneading process until the dough loses its stickiness. Gradually incorporate additional flour, up to one cup, as needed during this step to attain the desired consistency. It should be smooth and workable, not sticking to your fingers.

Rolling Out the Dough:

  • Shape the dough into a rectangular form, ensuring a thickness of ½-inch. This step sets the foundation for the perfect texture and structure of the cinnamon rolls.

Prepare the Cinnamon Mixture:

  • In a small bowl, meticulously combine the ingredients for the cinnamon mixture. This blend will infuse the rolls with a rich and aromatic cinnamon flavor. ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Buttering and Cinnamon Sprinkling:

  • Gently brush the surface of the dough with softened butter, ensuring even coverage. Sprinkle the prepared cinnamon mixture evenly over the buttered dough, creating a harmonious distribution of flavors.4 tablespoons softened butter

Rolling and Sealing with Precision:

  • Roll up the dough tightly, paying careful attention to the precision of the roll. Pinch the seam securely to seal the dough, maintaining the integrity of the roll structure. Cut the log into 12 even rolls.

Resting Period for Enhanced Texture:

  • Place the cut cinnamon rolls on a well-greased round pan, such as a pie dish. Allow them to rest for a patient duration of 30 minutes. This resting period promotes further dough relaxation and enhances the overall texture.

Baking to Perfection:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C). Bake the prepared rolls in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, ensuring a golden-brown perfection and a delightful aroma.

Crafting the Creamy Frosting:

  • In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the ingredients for the frosting until a smooth and luscious texture is achieved. The frosting should be velvety and ready to impart a delectable finish to the warm cinnamon rolls. ENJOY!¼ cup softened butter, 2 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
sourdough cinnamon rolls

Storage for Maximum Freshness

Store your baked cinnamon rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. For longer freshness, refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for up to three months. Reheat in the oven or microwave for a warm and gooey treat.

Bulk Preparation and Freezing

For a time-saving breakfast option, prepare the rolls in bulk and freeze them raw. After rolling and cutting, place the rolls in a round disposable tin or something similar. Wrap with foil, plastic, or place in these reusable freezer bags, and when ready to bake, allow them to thaw and rise overnight in the refrigerator before baking as usual.

Hey Beautiful! I’m Tara, garden enthusiasts, keeper of chickens, herbal homesteader and stay at home mom of 3 tiny humans and a sourdough starter named Ma. I love teaching others how to live a self-sufficient and sustainable life through homesteading, scratch cooking, and remembering to live barefoot, wild and free!

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