The best way to start a 6:00am day? Homemade cinnamon rolls, of course.
To keep your rolls light and airy, do not add too much flour to your dough, and knead only until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Because the dough is sticky, it needs to sit for a while in the refrigerator before rolling out the dough. To keep the rolls soft, I also roll my dough out on a buttered silicon mat (instead of a floured mat). Greased hands will help in handling the slightly sticky dough.
An easy way to cut your dough logs into rolls without crushing the dough and having the knife stick to the dough is to use dental floss (not mint!) or a strong sewing thread. See THIS POST for more details.
This recipe makes a lot: 36 large rolls. You can scale the recipe back if you don’t want as many OR Rolls can be frozen either after or before cooking.
To freeze before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.
Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
2 ½ cups buttermilk*
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp salt
9 – 9 ½ cups flour, divided
1 ½ Tbs instant yeast
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2-3 Tbs cinnamon
Place buttermilk, butter, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl (stand mixer) and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Mix in eggs and salt. Add 4 cups of flour and the yeast and mix until smooth. Add additional 5 cups of flour and knead until smooth. Add additional flour, if necessary, to make a soft dough that barely pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Dough will be slightly sticky. Cover dough with plastic wrap touching the dough and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, or until the dough is chilled and not sticky when touched.
Lightly butter rimmed baking sheets or 9”x13” pans. Mix brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Divide dough into two halves. On a lightly buttered surface, pat each dough half into a rectangle about 12”x18”. Spread ½ stick of butter (¼ cup) on each dough half and sprinkle with half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Starting from long edge, form a roll. Pinch long edge to seal. Use a knife to lightly score dough into 18 sections about 1” apart. Place a strand of dental floss under the dough and cross over the top of the dough at the scored marking. Pull dental floss to cut through dough log. Place in prepared pan. Cover with a thin towel and allow rolls to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Spread warm rolls with cream cheese glaze.
Makes 36 rolls
*Buttermilk substitute: Scald 2 cups milk (bring to boiling point) and stir in ½ cup plain yogurt
Cream Cheese Glaze
8 oz cream cheese
6 Tbs heavy cream
3-4 Tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
Use a hand mixer to mix all of the glaze ingredients. Add additional milk or cream if needed to make a smooth glaze.
To freeze rolls before cooking: Prepare dough. Fill and roll dough into log. Slice into rounds and place each round on a foil lined baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid and then place in Ziploc bags and return to freezer. Place frozen rolls in prepared pan and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2-3 hours). Bake and frost as directed.