Makes: about 12 rolls
Takes: about 4 hours start to finish
This is based on this a recipe from King Arthur Flour, but has been optimized for how I personally prefer cinnamon rolls: with citrusy frosting and a lot of cinnamon taste.
It turns out that adding a carefully chosen amount of freshly ground black pepper to cinnamon causes it to taste more cinnamony when it comes out of the oven. Too much pepper, and it tastes like pepper (which I also like, but that’s not the goal here).
- This recipe can be doubled if you want an lot of cinnamon rolls. If you do this, divide the dough in half (by weight) before rolling it out to keep the size of the roll manageable, and use a 9x13 inch or two 8x8 inch pans.
- The dough comes together a bit easier if the AP flour is not at fridge temperature.
- Two grams of ground pepper is more than you’d expect. I suggest weighing the peppercorns on the way into your grinder and then grinding until it’s empty.
- About 10“ of waxed unflavored dental floss.
Tangzhong (can combine directly into small saucepan):
- 36g water
- 36g whole milk (more needed below)
- 14g AP flour (more needed below)
Dough - dry stuff (can combine into mixer bowl):
- 250g AP flour
- 10g dry baking milk
- 5g salt
- 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
Dough - wet stuff:
- 85g whole milk, lukewarm (30s in microwave is about right)
- 1 large egg
- 42g unsalted butter, melted
Filling (can combine into a bowl):
- 70g dark brown sugar
- 6g ground korentje (Indonesian) cinnamon
- 2g black pepper, freshly ground very fine
Frosting: I recommend this recipe.
- Make the tangzhong.
- Combine ingredients in small saucepan and whisk to incorporate.
- Apply medium heat. Whisk constantly until it thickens and the whisk starts leaving streaks on the bottom. This will happen quite suddenly.
- Set aside.
- Make the dough.
- Combine dry ingredients in mixer bowl and stir.
- Add wet ingredients in center of bowl.
- Add tangzhong in center of bowl.
- Roughly incorporate with a spatula.
- Ignore for 20 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate.
- Attach dough hook and knead at low-to-medium speed until it comes together. Note that this dough stays sticky and it will never fully clean the walls of the bowl. I knead for a good 5-10 minutes, occasionally scraping the bowl down.
- Grease a medium bowl.
- Shape the dough roughly into a ball and put in the bowl. Cover or apply lid.
- Proof for 60-90 minutes. It will grow some at this stage.
- Meanwhile, make the filling.
- Combine the cinnamon and pepper and stir with a fork.
- Add the dark brown sugar and mash until mixed. (It’s sticky.)
- When the proofing is done, lightly grease an 8x8 pan. (Or, if you’re doubling, two 8x8 or one 9x13 pan.)
- Roll out into an 8x18 rectangle. This will be thinner than you might expect, maybe 1/4 inch / 5ish mm. The rolling process will finish deflating the dough.
- Scatter the filling evenly over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch clean on the long edge for sealing.
- Press the filling into the dough gently to keep it from falling out during the next few steps.
- Roll the dough starting from the not-clean long edge to form an 18“ cylinder that’s about 2 inches in diameter, with the seam at the bottom.
- Holding the floss in both hands, work it underneath the roll about 1.5-2“ from one edge, and then wrap it over the top. Pull the ends in opposite directions, quickly, so that the floss slices through the roll. Place the slice into the greased pan. Repeat until you’ve got about 12.
- Ensure the slices are evenly spaced and from each other and the walls of the pan.
- Cover the pan(s) and proof for 45 minutes, or until they’re crowding each other. Might take longer if it’s cold.
- Preheat oven to 350F with a rack in the lower third. (You can do this during proofing if you remember.)
- Once the oven is at temperature, uncover the pan(s) and bake for 22 minutes.
You should see very light browning at the edges of the pan. The interior
temperature of the middle slice(s) should be 185-190F – bake for 3 minutes if
it’s not there yet, but be careful not to overbake this.
- While the rolls are baking is an excellent time to make frosting of your choice.
- Remove the pan(s) from the oven. Allow to cool to near room temperature. (I don’t turn them out onto a rack, because this way I can store them in the pans without dirtying another container. You might choose differently)