I have been in a ferocious baking mood lately and decided to try homemade cinnamon rolls. I attempted these once before, but instead of working with the dough myself I used a bread machine. This time around, I omitted the bread machine and went for good ole fashioned manual labor.
Cinnamon Roll Dough
4 cups all purpose flour
½ cup + 2 tablespoons warm water (115 degrees)
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
4 tablespoons melted butter + 2 tablespoons
Cinnamon to your personal tastes
3/4 cup of brown sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz of cream cheese
1/2 a 2lb bag of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 tsp of vanilla
In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons of warm water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the yeast in a small bowl. Set aside until the yeast doubles in size. In a large bowl sift your flour and salt, then add your egg, milk, water, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add your yeast and knead the dough for no more than five minutes. Spread a thin layer of oil on the top of the dough and cover with a damp kitchen towel for 20 minutes to rise.
After your dough has risen, roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread your melted butter on the dough (if you need more, go for more! It'll just be messy) and evenly spread your cinnamon, sugar, and brown sugar all over. Roll into a log and cut into 12-14 1 inch slices. Place the slices of cinnamon rolls in a greased 9 x 13 pan (I like to sprinkle butter and brown sugar at the bottom of mine for an under layer of gooeyness) and let them rise again until they've doubled in size, or about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges. Let them cool for 15 minutes then generously frost and enjoy!
What I learned....
They turned out delicious and I learned a few things in the process:
Make sure your water is the proper temperature when dissolving the yeast. If it's not warm enough, the yeast will not activate and you need it to at least double in size or your cinnamon rolls themselves will not rise like they should.
It helps to have all of your ingredients room temperature. When you shock your yeast mixture with cold milk, cold water, et cetera, it stops the yeast from doing its job. Pull your eggs, milk, and butter out shortly before you start your cinnamon rolls.
Do not overknead your dough. Five minutes should be enough. If you overknead the dough the end result will be tough cinnamon rolls instead of fluffy!
Don't skimp on your innards! Make sure you have plenty of cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter to rub on the inside of your cinnamon rolls. It's the best part!
Use floss to cut your cinnamon rolls - not a knife. Dental floss (or fishing line) provides a nice, clean cut and will not squish your cinnamon rolls.