Saturday, July 20, 2013

July Sourdough Surprises - Cinnamon Rolls

This month's Sourdough Surprises is one that I've been pushing for for a while. Cinnamon rolls.  As you may have noticed, I love cinnamon rolls of all varieties. Sticky buns, with chocolate chips, with fruit... yeah. As long as it's a cinnamon roll, I'm down.  But there are so many awesome sourdough options that we hadn't gotten to these yet. 

Until now.

This was the month for sourdough cinnamon rolls. Yay!

I chose this recipe from a wonderful sourdough baker who just happens to participate in Sourdough Surprises with us each month! I knew I could trust her because everything she makes looks absolutely amazing.

The process is pretty easy. The biggest thing you will need to plan for is all the time it takes.

It starts early in the afternoon before you plan to actually bake the rolls with prepping your starter. Using 100% hydration starter, you mix your starter with flour to create a very stiff starter.

This then sits for about six hours, fermenting and activating all that wild yeast.

This very happy, very active stiff starter is then mixed with more flour, milk, maple syrup, a touch of oil and a few other ingredients to become a super silky yet very sticky dough.

Yeah, so sticky that that was as close as I could get to a "ball" of dough.

This then sits overnight, as it grows tremendously to take over your bowl.

And then it's just like making "regular" cinnamon rolls - roll out the dough, top with the filling of your choice (brown sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips was my choice) and roll it all up.

That picture shows two of the challenges that I faced at this stage. First, notice how much trouble I had rolling it nicely. The dough is so delicate that rolling was definitely difficult. Secondly, notice the two pairs of pincher fingers in the background... Yeah. Little miss and little man were poaching those chocolate chips faster than I could roll. Little stinkers. (Good thing they're cute!)

As you can see, my rolled and cut buns were anything but pretty. The shapes were... rustic. Yeah. Let's go with that.

But a mere two hours later they had risen beautifully and were ready to go into the oven.

Beautifully golden, bubbling with sugary goodness, all that was left to do was glaze...

...and eat!

Now... here's the bittersweet part of this post. The kids didn't like the sourdough tang of these.  It seemed to have been a little too much for what, for them, is usually a very light and sweet dough. I would be really tempted to try this dough in a more savory concoction because it really was beautiful to work with and was tasty. But I tend to agree with them that it didn't work as well for the kind of sweet roll we wanted.

That being said, I will definitely be trying again. The sourdough starter is strong enough to raise the dough, I just have to hit the right balance between leavening the dough and the right amount of tang. Or I just have to choose a fun, savory filling and make these a meal instead! I'm thinking... pizza rolls! That just might work!

So what kind of cinnamon rolls did you make this month? Link up and share your results!

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
(from turnips 2 tangerines)

For the dough:
1-1/2 cup sourdough starter ( I used my whole wheat sourdough starter, which was the consistency of pancake batter)
1 cups plus 2 cups flour (I used all-purpose flour)
2/3 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the glaze:
1/4 to 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 tablespoon maple syrup

The afternoon before you plan to bake your cinnamon rolls, mix together your healthy sourdough starter and 1 cup of the  flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit about 6 hrs. This will get things going.
Add the remaining dough ingredients and mix to form dough, adding enough flour to make the dough workable and to sticky but still keeping it soft. I did this in my stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Knead 5-8 mins. Add more flour only if necessary.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to rise overnight.
The next morning gently deflate the dough and transfer to a floured surface. Roll into a rectangle, about 12 x 8 inches. Using your fingers, spread the softened butter over the entire surface of the dough. My dough was delicate, so be careful not to rip it. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips. Starting at long side of the rectangle roll the dough into a long log, working gently and being careful not to tear the dough. Pinch the ends together to seal. Cut the rolls using a serrated knife or a piece of unwaxed dental floss. Place the rounds in a greased 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Let rise 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.  Keeping them warm will help them to rise faster.
Preheat oven to 350. Once risen, bake them for about 20-25 mins.

To prepare glaze:
Whisk together the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup and enough milk to make of drizzle consistency desired. Remove rolls from oven, let cool slightly and cover with with glaze



  1. I know they say you eat with your eyes, but they don't always have to be perfect, lol! Nice job!

  2. Ooh, I think pizza would be awesome! But I'll take them as cinnamon rolls too, They look amazing!

  3. Hello Shelley
    I laughed at the part where the kids snatched the chocolate chips. My kids do that all the time :)
    I had a hard time rolling the dough and handling it in general but the end result was very tasty. I actually still have some in the freezer and I am reheating them tonight for dessert :)

  4. I was going to make pizza rolls! But decided to go with fruit. I am so guilty of poaching chocolate chips. Just can't help it.

  5. Thank you for the challenge, I love cinnamon rolls and always feel like I need an excuse for the indulgence. I'm going to try chocolate chips next time, I know they'll go over well. Too bad the kids didn't like the rolls, but as we say in our house "more for me!".

  6. I love the idea of pizza rolls, that sounds delicious! They look amazing. I had a problem with my sourdough brownies being sour, but my cinnamon rolls are not sour at all! It's so funny how that works :)

  7. I like the chocolate chip in the buns! My dough was sticky too but I added more flour. I should have maybe left it over night like you did and not add the extra flour. As it was I was cooking buns in the wee hours of the morning.

    I like the pizza buns idea! Drool!

  8. Hey, that pizza roll/bun idea sounds great!! I like the chocolate chips but, I wonder if you could use cinnamon chips? Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  9. Pizza rolls are super awesome - definitely give those a go! I'm for sure putting chocolate chips in my next batch of cinnamon buns - how did I not think of that myself?! You're clearly a genius ;)

  10. Wow! Those cinnamon rolls look good! Great job! I agree with your kids. The tang was a bit too much for me the first time around, but I toned it down for the 2nd version.

  11. I'm so glad you pushed for cinnamon rolls! I loved this one, and I was so pleased with my buns. Unfortunately I wasn't able to like up and I was on vacation! I'm enjoying a look back at everyone's efforts now. Thanks again!!


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