Monday, October 15, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls (Updated 8/18/13)

I can't think of anything that tastes better than freshly-baked cinnamon rolls, still slightly warm from the oven.

My recipe is from my Aunt Betty. It starts with her basic roll recipe. So I'll share that with you and add what you need to know and do to make cinnamon rolls.

But first, a few words about flour. Cinnamon rolls should be light and tender. I grew up using white all-purpose flour, described by King Arthur Flour as "the perfect go-to flour for all your baking needs." It works great! The only problem is, it doesn't have much nutritional value. (Here's a chart comparing nutrients in whole-wheat flour and white flour. Scroll down to see a chart that shows nutrients lost in the refinement process.) I used to just consider cinnamon rolls a lost cause nutritionally--they have a lot of sugar and a fair amount of fat, though not as much as you might think. But, with soft white wheat available now, we can replace at least part of the white all-purpose flour with whole-grain flour, still maintain the light color, mild flavor, and tenderness we desire, but boost the nutritional value.

And now, the recipes:
Dinner Rolls
3 C lukewarm water
2 T yeast
1 C sugar
½ C canola oil
½ C instant potato flakes
1 C instant nonfat dry milk
1 ½ tsp. salt
3 eggs
8-9 C unbleached all-purpose flour, or use soft white whole-wheat flour for 1/3-1/2 of the total flour amount
Dissolve yeast in water in large bowl. Let sit for a few minutes. Add sugar, oil, potato flakes, dry milk, salt, and eggs. Add 3 C of the flour. Beat with mixer until smooth. Kneading by hand or with dough hook, add enough flour to make soft dough (5-6 C). In oiled bowl, let rise once or twice. Shape into rolls and place in greased pans; let rise. Bake at 350°F until brown, about 20 minutes.
Cinnamon Rolls

After rising in the bowl, punch down dough. On a floured surface, use your hands to pat the dough (half of it at a time) into a rectangle, and brush with melted butter (about 6 T in all). Top with a mixture of ¾ C sugar and 6 tsp. cinnamon. Roll up the dough; cut into ¾-1 inch widths; place onto greased pans leaving space to rise; let rise. Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes. While hot, top with glaze.

Glaze: Combine 1 lb. (3¾ C) powdered sugar, ⅜-½ C hot water, and 2¼ tsp. vanilla.

Update, 8/18/13: This makes a lot of rolls. You can easily halve the recipe. When you do, I suggest using 2 eggs, but it's fine to just use 1.


  1. Looks delicious, is whole light wheat flour close to white without mental ground in it? Dana's allergic to the kernal shell in whole wheat...trying to find nutritious alternative to white.

  2. Hi Elisa! No matter what kind of wheat you use, when you grind the whole wheat berries into flour, you end up with bran (the kernel shell), germ, and endosperm (the part separated out by commercial mills for white flour). White whole wheat has a slightly milder taste than red whole wheat. Soft whole wheat has a lower protein content than hard whole wheat, so less gluten formation. If you want to avoid wheat bran, you have to stick with white flour (not whole-grain; only contains the starchy endosperm part) or flour made from other grains. I hope this helps! If you want to learn more about the flour of other grains, let me know.