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Learn how to make cinnamon rolls with sourdough starter– simple, small batch cinnamon rolls made without yeast, filled with sweet cinnamon filling, and topped with an easy cream cheese frosting.
Tell me, my friend– are you a sweet or savory breakfast eater?
The list goes on and on.
But those other two times? Sign me up for some coffee cake or a cinnamon roll. I mean, if there are sprinkles on my cinnamon roll and/or breakfast, even better, but these particular sourdough cinnamon rolls lasted a mere 4 hours in our house.
Granted, there were only 6 of them, and we shared one with the neighbors… But, WHAT? No family of 4 (two of them being the equivalent of like, only 1 person) needs to eat 5 cinnamon rolls that quickly.
Unless, of course, they are sinfully delicious. dripping with gooey cinnamon filling, and covered in an irresistible cream cheese frosting.
Pssst… That’s these guys.
These sourdough cinnamon rolls were born in my kitchen just a few days after I made my sourdough English muffins.
I wanted to stick my starter back in the fridge, but I also wanted to take advantage of the 2 ounces of cream cheese that kept falling out of the fridge and having my starter out and ready to rock and roll.
So I whipped these up on a whim which came along with exactly zero regrets.
The sourdough starter just takes the place of the yeast, but because the starter will work a little more slowly than traditional yeast, our dough will do an initial rise of about 3-4 hours, as opposed to just a 10 minute rest.
The second rise comes after the dough has been rolled, cut, and placed in a prepared pan. That rise is about 1 and 1/2 hours, so we’re looking at a total overall time as significantly longer than traditional yeast cinnamon rolls, but the hands on time is nearly identical.
The cool part about sourdough dough is that it becomes soft and supple after that first rise. We also aren’t going to be punching any dough down, because the air we have in our dough, we want to keep.
That said, after that initial rise, while the dough will look larger and rounder, it won’t be nearly as puffed up as you’re used to seeing after the first rise of a traditional yeast bread.
Once turned out, you’ll find the dough is soft enough to mold with your hands, which is exactly what you’ll do to create a 9″ x 12″ rectangle.
Spread the cinnamon filling all over, roll it up tightly, and then cut into 6 even rounds.
During their second rise, these rounds of dough will press together (sightly) and then puff up beautifully during their time in the oven.
Beautifully puffy sourdough cinnamon rolls, ready for a slathering of some creamy dreamy cream cheese frosting.
It doesn’t get a whole lot better than this, my friends.
What I noticed about these sourdough cinnamon rolls that I haven’t experienced with my other homemade cinnamon rolls is a much softer interior.
While there is nothing hard, crunchy, or dry about my funfetti cinnamon rolls nor my caramel rolls, these sourdough starter cinnamon rolls were something special.
Extra soft interior and an ever-so-slight tang thanks to the sourdough absolutely made these cinnamon rolls ones to remember.
Also, SMALL BATCH so you aren’t stuck with 12 rolls.
Unless, of course, that’s what you want to do– instructions for how to do that in the notes of the recipe.
CAN I FREEZE SOURDOUGH CINNAMON ROLLS?
Freeze ’em up! They should keep well for up to 3 months, with or without frosting on top.
If you’re still rocking a sourdough starter from stay-at-home orders, these sourdough cinnamon rolls are where it’s at.
Perfect as an indulgence, perfect for gifting to new neighbors (you’ll be their new favs!), or simply just a way to use your starter that isn’t another loaf of sourdough.
And don’t forget about those English muffins!
Soft, cinnamony, swirly, scientifically proven to be gone in a few hours… You’ve got to put these on your to-do list!
Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
- 100 grams fed sourdough starter about 1/2 a cup
- 1/2 cup (120g) warm milk
- 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons (31g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 and 1/2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature and cut into 4-6 pieces
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature and cut into 4-6 pieces
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) brown sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 2 ounces (56g) cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (90g) powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together the starter and the milk until starter is dissipated. Add the sugar, salt, vanilla, and egg, and stir to combine.
- Gradually stir in flour. If using a stand mixer, use your dough hook. If mixing by hand, continue to use a wooden spoon. Add 1 and 1/2 cup of flour, allow dough to come together, then add the softened butter and continue to blend. When butter is mostly incorporated, add the remaining 1 cup of flour and blend until dough has completely come together. It should easily pull away from the sides of your bowl and dough hook or spoon.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for just a couple of minutes until dough is uniform. Oil the bowl with non-stick spray and return the dough to the bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow dough to rise for 3-4 hours.
- In a medium size bowl, combine the butter, sugars, and cinnamon. Stir with a spatula until mostly combined– some larger chunks of butter are ok. Set aside.
- Using your hands, press the dough out into a rectangle 9" x 12" in size. Using a spatula, spread the filling evenly over the dough, all the way to the edges of the rectangle on all four sides. If you're having trouble spreading the filling, scrape it off and heat it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften the butter further.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE DOUGH
- Starting with one of the 9" sides, roll the dough up into a tight 12" log. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 6 even slices. Place the slices cut side down in the prepared pan (one in the center and 5 around it), then cover loosely with foil or a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 1 and 1/2 hours.
- When rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes or until rolls just start to brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes while you prepare the cream cheese frosting.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth.
- Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the powdered sugar and salt. Continue mixing until smooth. Set aside.
- Spread cream cheese frosting onto slightly cooled rolls and serve rolls immediately. Leftover rolls stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave for 8-10 seconds before serving.