Welcome to the Chef’s Corner. For our first post I wanted to share a recipe that is both seasonal and versatile. With fall weather here, and winter on approach, I could think of no better recipe than my favorite cinnamon rolls. Simplistic in concept, it has a few tweaks that advanced bakers will appreciate. The enriched dough is very versatile, and you can substitute the filling, use it for buns, or as base for a coffee cake or babka. You can even reduce the sugar/honey and try some savory options.
It is a No-Knead formulation, so those new to baking or don’t have a stand mixer need not worry. The work of developing the gluten is done by the yeast, over time. With the added benefit of more flavor. But you will have to account for the time factor when making this. Plan one day ahead for this one, but you will thank me, I promise. You can also freeze the dough and thaw overnight in the fridge before you plan on using it (but bump up the yeast quantity by an additional half). I’ve used this formula in bulk in the past as well.
Without further ado, I present:
Chef Dion’s Cinnamon Rolls
Prep time: 10.5 hours
Active time: 1 hour total
Inactive time: 9.5 hour total
Baking time: 40 – 45 min
Oven temp: 350°F
3 1/2 c All Purpose Flour (APF)
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast*
1/4 c Honey
1 c Whole Milk
1/2 c Water
2 oz Butter
2 Eggs (Large)
1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract (or 1 Tbsp Vanilla Bean Paste)
3/4 c Butter (softened)
1 1/4 c Brown Sugar (packed)
2 1/2 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon (adjust for desired intensity)
In a large mixing bowl (the larger the better, you are going to bulk ferment your dough in this) whisk/sift together your flour, salt, and yeast (keep yeast and salt separated initially, once sifted/whisked it’s fine). Make a well in the middle.
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, honey, water, vanilla, & butter. Continually stir over medium low heat until the butter melts completely. Don’t let the liquid get too warm. You want it just above body temperature, don’t go over 110°F.
Remove from heat and whisk in the eggs until completely combined.
Using a heavy rubber spatula, or your favorite wooden spoon, add the warm liquid to the flour and stir until completely combined. You should not see any white flour. The dough will be somewhat loose and sticky.
Cover the bowl with plastic warp or clean kitchen towel and set in a draft free space until cooled and you can see an increase in volume.
Place the covered bowl in the refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours (overnight is best, this is when the yeast does its work developing the gluten and flavor). In the end your dough should look like a sponge that has risen and fallen. You can leave it like this up to 3 days until you must either use or freeze it*.
Meanwhile combine your brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.
When ready to use, clear off some counter space. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12” x 24” rectangle, approximately 1/4” in thickness. If you a struggling to get the width because the dough is springing back, let it rest for about 5 minutes, then try again.
With a rubber spatula, evenly spread the softened butter on the dough rectangle, leaving a 1/2″ border along the bottom edge.
Evenly spread the cinnamon sugar mixture over top of the butter.
Roll up the rectangle beginning from the top edge toward the bottom.
Using a serrated bread knife, slice the resulting log into 12 2” segments.
Even space these segments, spiral side up, into a parchment lined 9”x 13” pan, and loosely cover with either a clean kitchen towel, or plastic wrap and allow to proof at room temperature while your oven is preheating. They are ready to bake when they have puffed up and into each other.
Bake uncovered din the center of the oven for 40 – 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. If you have a convection oven, check your rolls at 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and set your tray on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes. As tempting as it may seem to eat them fresh from the oven, they need to cool to set properly.
Top with your favorite icing or frosting.
*A note on freezing the dough: If you plan on freezing your dough, increase your yeast quantity by one half. Especially if you are making a larger batch to do so (ie. 1 Tbsp becomes 1 1/2 Tbsp). To freeze the dough, after the overnight bulk fermentation, remove the dough from the mixing bowl and shape into either a square or rectangle, and double wrap with plastic wrap, label and date. Use within 3 months, by thawing completely in the refrigerator.
Thank you for bearing with me on the length of this post. Trust me all my recipes are not typically this long or complicated. But I like to make sure you have everything you need for success. Most authors often leave out some vital piece of information that they instinctively know but the novice may not. I look forward to sharing that knowledge with you.
Look out for more posts regarding a wide variety of food related topics ranging from more recipes to food facts, and ways to include the whole family in meal planning and preparation. In the meantime happy baking, bon appetit, and most importantly God Bless.