Ever since the beginning of this year, I’ve been on a search for making the best cinnamon rolls. Thanks to Mr. Cottage, our family and neighbors, and our freezer, I’ve made more recipes than I can remember. Some, I tried following a recipe, but for the most part I did a tweak here and another tweak there.
“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.” ~Lemony Snicket
But everyone probably has their own idea of the best cinnamon roll. Some like theirs really sweet, while others prefer a sugar-free version. Some want just a touch of icing and other’s with theirs dripping in icing. For some, nothing is better than Cinnamon Bun’s rolls. There are pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and maple cinnamon rolls and there are more different kinds of rolls than you can imagine, even gluten-free cinnamon rolls. All I wanted was a good basic cinnamon roll that I could reach for when the urge called.
My question for you is “have you ever baked with yeast?” It really isn’t hard, especially if you follow your directions, use a yeast thermometer (if you’re not sure of temperature, because if it’s too cold or too hot, the yeast will die or not become active enough), or you’re using old yeast which has expired and has “died”. For yeast to work, you MUST use sugar. Yeast thrives in sugar. Just for curiosity, I looked at one of the recipes for sugar-free cinnamon rolls, and saw where they still use a little sugar, or they recommend using double the amount of yeast with a sugar-free alternative, although real sugar is what does the job.
Many recipes will have you mix the yeast into warm water or milk, with the sugar and to “proof it”. This is a term used to see if the yeast is viable by dissolving it in liquid and feeding it sugar. Usually this only takes 10-15 minutes or so. I put mine in a small bowl and after stirring everything, I put it in the microwave covered with a towel. I close the door, but DO NOT TURN IT ON! It’s just a way to keep it warm and out of any draft.
Once your yeast has been proofed, you’ll add all the other ingredients, mix well and knead until the dough is elastic and non-sticky. If you’re lucky enough to have a mixer with a dough hook, use that for the kneading. When the dough is ready, place the dough into a lightly greased bowl.
Cover the bowl with a towel or two, and put it in a place for it to rise. Again, I place the bowl into my microwave and close the door. This is what it should look like when it’s finished rising.
After the dough has risen, punch it down with your fist, and roll it out according to your directions. I usually just roll my dough directly on our countertop. Then you’ll add the cinnamon filling. Again, every recipe is different. Some will have you use melted butter on your dough first, and there are some that have you add melted butter directly to your filling before you spread it on the dough.
Once your filling is on the dough, roll it up tightly towards you. Pinch the open edge together into the roll. I use unflavored dental floss for slicing the dough, which I keep in my kitchen drawer just for this use. You can also use a sharp knife.
As you cut them, place each slice into a greased pan or use a sheet of parchment paper, which I do. If by some chance you’re slices aren’t uniform in size, put the smaller ones in the middle.
Cover the pan with a towel and let it rise in a warm location until the rolls have risen. Then put into the oven to bake. The time will vary depending on your oven and the recipe. While the rolls are rising and baking, make the icing and spread on the hot rolls when you remove them from the oven.
Then enjoy and savor each bite. AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS!
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