Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

sourdough cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing

The Spruce / Pete Scherer 

  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Ferment: 12 hrs
  • Yield: 8 rolls (8 servings)

Sourdough is a much slower way to do cinnamon rolls, but it is definitely worth it. There’s nothing cozier than the scent of cinnamon and sourdough that wafts from the oven while these babies bake. They're an ooey, gooey, and flavorful addition to any breakfast or brunch.

A quick word on bread technique: the stretch and fold method mentioned below is an incredibly useful skill to hone as a home baker. That is because as wonderful as your stand mixer is, it just isn’t the best tool for properly developing your dough fully. Giving your dough a fold or two after it has rested from the mixer will result in stronger dough that holds air better and is easier to handle.

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • 300 grams bread flour
  • 160 grams whole milk
  • 100 grams sourdough starter
  • 1 large egg
  • 30 grams unsalted butter (softened)
  • 30 grams sugar
  • 7 grams sea salt
  • For the Filling:
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • For the Icing:
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Milk (as needed, to adjust consistency)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. To make the dough, add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes, or until mostly combined, then switch to second or third speed (it should be vigorous but not fast) and mix for 4 to 5 more minutes. The dough should be smooth and soft. It is fine if it is a bit sticky.

  3. With a dough scraper, transfer the dough to a wider, shallower bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or a plastic bag. Rest for 20 minutes, then give the dough a stretch and fold.

  4. Ferment the dough at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours, then refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours.

  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn out onto a lightly-floured surface. Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough into a flat rectangle about 16 inches long and 1/2 inch thick.

  6. To make the filling, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl to combine.

  7. Brush the surface of the dough all over with the melted butter, then cover evenly with the cinnamon brown sugar. Taking care to keep as much cinnamon sugar inside the dough as possible, roll the dough up like a rug. Slice crosswise into eight pieces.

  8. Grease any suitable baking pan (anything that can go in the oven and fits the rolls, plus extra room for rising) with a little oil or butter and place the rolls inside with their swirls facing up. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. If the plastic wrap must touch the dough, coat the wrap or dough with a little oil to prevent sticking. Put in a warm place (around 80 F) to rise for two hours.

  9. When the rolls have risen to one and a half times their size, preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake for around 30 minutes or until golden brown.

  10. While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing. Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment. Whip on high until creamy and well combined.

  11. Stop the mixer. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl. Mix on a low speed to combine. Adjust consistency by adding a splash or two of milk, if desired. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and whip for one 1 minute.

  12. When the cinnamon rolls are baked, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before spreading with the cream cheese icing. Serve warm.

Tip

  • If you like to sleep in, scheduling these beauties for brunch or breakfast can be a challenge. To avoid getting up early you can use the following schedule: Make the dough the day before, ferment for four to five hours, chill for a few hours in the refrigerator, then proceed with the steps to form the rolls. Allow them to rise for about two hours, then put them back in the refrigerator. They will continue to rise slowly overnight. The next day, or even the day after, take them out, preheat the oven, and proceed from there.