I have been playing around with cinnamon rolls for quite some time. Some too dry, go stale too fast, too sweet, unbalancced, too cinnamony. Always something not quite there about them. Now after being inspired by Kim-Joy’s tahnzhong method on the Great British Bake Off and combining with knowledge gained from Alton Brown and King Arthur (moreso the flour than the chosen King), I think I have hit on the perfect combination for Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls. The only other thing you might want to try is rolling them up with some crumbled bacon!
Using the tangzhong method helps to keep the rolls fluffy, and keep more of their moisture for a longer time, because science. I’m going to try this method with some of my Hawaiian Ube Bread recipe and see what happens.
I do employ the use of my Zojirushi (affiliate link) bread machine to combine all of the ingredients and handle the rise and it does an amazing job at it.
Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls
- Bread Machine
- Stand mixer
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring cups
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Bread Flour
- 4 cups + 2 tablespoons Bread Flour
- 3 tablespoons Dry Milk or 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 3/4 cup lukewarm whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 3/8 cup 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp green cardamom
- 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese softened
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 5 1/2 ounces confectioners' sugar
To make the tangzhong: Combine all of the starter ingredients in a small saucepan, and whisk until no lumps remain.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until thick and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. About a minute or so. Remove from the heat, and set it aside for several minutes.
To make the dough:
- OK, I have found that some things don't necessarily require all of the muscle if you have tools on hand. Rolling out and beating the bejesus out of the dough is fun for some but I find more often you just want it to be easy. I recommend either using your stand mixer to knead the dough, or better yet, let the bread machine do it (but obviously not bake it). So I opted to use my Zojirushi bread maker for this.
- Into the bread machine goes the yeast and warm milk. Let that foam and bubble for 10 minutes
- Add remaining ingredients, including the tangzhong, with the salt being last
- Start bread machine on the DOUGH cycle
To make the filling:
- Combine the brown sugar, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon, mixing thoroughly.
- After the dough cycle is complete on your bread machine, gently deflate the risen dough, divide it in half, and shape each piece into a rough rectangle.
- Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into an 18" x 8" rectangle.
- Place half of the dough into plastic wrap, and a freezer bag and save for later.
- Brush butter along your remaining rolled out dough, leaving about 1/2 inch along the top.
- Sprinkle half the filling over the butter. Gently press the filling into the dough
- Starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a log. With the seam underneath, cut the log into 12 slices, 1 1/2" each. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the cylinder into 2-inch rolls; yielding 8 or so pieces.
- Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan. Space the rolls in the pan.
- Cover the pan and let the rolls rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until they're crowding one another and are quite puffy.
- Alternately you can cover these and put them in the fridge to rise overnight to have in the morning!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Uncover the rolls, and bake them for 22 to 25 minutes, until they feel set. Their interior temperature at the center should be about 188°F.
For the Icing
- Whisk the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.
- Remove the rolls from the oven, and turn them out of the pan onto a rack. Spread them with the frosting; it'll partially melt into the rolls.
- Serve the rolls warm. Store completely cool rolls for a couple of days at room temperature, or freeze for up to 1 month.