Well, I did it. Per my husband’s request to make cinnamon rolls just like his mom used to, I made cinnamon rolls. Homemade cinnamon rolls. From scratch. As in, I started with flour.
It turns out that my mother-in-law didn’t make them quite as “from scratch” as I assumed. After I had my hands deep in a bowl of dough, Mark mentioned that his mom bought frozen bread dough and used that to make her famous rolls.
After all my heavy sighs and under-my-breath complaints, I suppose I deserved that. And besides, now I can say that I know how to make cinnamon rolls from scratch.
The whole process was not nearly as difficult as I’d feared, but it did take quite a bit of time. And though the recipe I used (from Amy’s Finer Things) resulted in the most ah-maze-ing cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had (modest much?), it didn’t answer all my burning cinnamon roll questions.
See, Amy obviously knew more about things like yeast and kneading and rising and “punching dough” than I did. As elementary as it may be, I needed someone to hold my hand and explain every single step. So, I’m here to elaborate on Amy’s directions a bit, explaining exactly how I did this. I’m confident that if you combine Amy’s recipe and my
remedial extra directions, you can make delicious cinnamon rolls, too.
Just don’t listen to your husband when he says, “Leave that other pan of rolls with my dad. We don’t need them at our house anyway.”
Because, really. After all your hard work, you deserve to eat that second pan of rolls. Not all at once, no! But, you know, over time. In your house. Straight out of the pan, if you want.
Don’t be nervous. If I can make these, so can you. Just follow the directions!
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
1/2 cup very warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp yeast
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk
5 cups flour
Ingredients for filling:
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1-2 tbsp cinnamon
Ingredients for icing:
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
- Combine water, 1 tablespoon sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes to activate. (When it’s activated, it will look fizzy and puffed up. It really does take just 5 minutes.)
- Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, eggs and salt. Add activated yeast mixture.
- Stir in warm milk. (I nuked the milk in the microwave for less than a minute, so it was warm but not boiling.)
- Add 5 cups flour, 1-2 cups at a time. If you’ve been using a whisk or fork to mix the ingredients until now, you’ll need to switch to a wooden spoon or other large utensil. The dough will be heavy and thick.
- Knead dough on a well-floured surface, adding flour as necessary, until dough isn’t sticky. I’d suggest putting flour on your hands before starting. “Flour as necessary” may mean adding a full cup, because it takes a lot to get to a not-sticky point. Just add a few tablespoons at a time until the dough is no longer sticky.
- Place dough in a large, greased bowl and let it rise. This will take 90 minutes to 2 hours, and at the end of that time frame, your dough will nearly have doubled in size.
- Punch down risen dough. (As far as I can tell, this is pretty similar to kneading. Just smash it around a lot until it isn’t puffy anymore.) Separate into two pieces.
- Roll out one piece of dough in a large rectangle. (I noticed some other recipes give you the exact dimensions of the rectangles. I aimed for approximately 9×13, but that’s easier said than done. Personally, I don’t think cinnamon rolls need to be uniform, so I was fine with my lopsided rectangle of dough. Don’t roll it out too thin, though. About an inch thick is as thin as you should go.)
- Spread softened butter all over the dough. (I used about 3 tablespoons of butter for each rectangle.)
- Mix together about 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar and 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon. (Exact amounts are necessary here, and you can adjust to your tastes.) Sprinkle liberally over dough.
- Roll dough as tightly as possible and seal the seams (just squish it together like play dough!).
- Floss dough into about 12 (1-inch) rolls. (Amy has a great post on flossing dough here. Once you get the hang of it, it really is easy.)
- Place rolls in greased 9×13 pan and let rise until double. (This will probably take about an hour. You can also refrigerate the rolls at this point and bake them later, but it may take longer for them to rise once you take them out of the fridge.)
- (Repeat steps 8-13 for second piece of dough.)
- Bake at 350° for 20-22 minutes.
- While rolls are baking, mix together icing ingredients. You can adjust the amounts as needed or to your preference. I wanted a thicker icing, so I added more powdered sugar than some recipes called for.
- Spread icing while rolls are hot.
- Try to wait for the rolls to cool a bit before eating. I know they look and smell amazing, but you don’t want to burn your tongue!
Do you like homemade cinnamon rolls or other breads? Do you make homemade breads?
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