Cinnamon Rolls

I think my children love me just a little bit more now that I have baked these. The buns are made with brioche dough and layered with cinnamon sugar and just a touch of zest, whats not to love? You can add more to the mix, like nuts, raisins, a dash of cardamom, or just leave them simple. The cream cheese icing is the crowning glory and makes these breakfast treats completely addictive. I ended up making two batches this weekend, because of the demand and how easy they are to throw together.

In this recipe I have only made 4 rather large buns, but feel free to double or triple the batch.

Cinnamon Buns:

1 pound Brioche dough (page 300 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

2 tablespoon butter, melted

Cream Cheese Icing:

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

Here is the secret to getting the right texture for the buns. You need to fold the dough over a few times and get that gluten all linked up and excited. This happens naturally with the master recipe, but all the butter in the brioche can stand in the way, so we need to give it a little help. Just 3 or 4 turns will do the trick, an extra 30 seconds of work will make all the difference.

Now that we have the gluten all excited and bunched up we need to give it a rest or it will be impossible to roll out. This may take 15-20 minutes. If your kitchen is warmer, it may go faster.

Once the dough is ready, roll it to 1/4-inch thick rectangle.

Brush the melted butter onto the entire surface.

In a small bowl mix together the sugars, cinnamon and zest. Spread the mixture over the butter topped dough. Use your hands to make sure you have an even coat of the sugar.

Roll the dough up, starting at the short end.

Use a Bread Knife, Kitchen Scissors or floss to cut the log into 4 equal pieces.

Set the buns on a parchment lined Sheet Pan or in a buttered baking dish. Give them about 1 1/2 to 2-inches between them. It is ok if they rise together in the oven.

Loosely cover the buns and let them rest between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The long rest will insure that you have a fluffy bun.(You can set these up the night before and let them rest overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning take them out and let them sit on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour.) You may get away with slightly shorter rise, but the buns will not be quite as soft.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, just until the centers are set when poked with your finger.

They should be caramel colored. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.

Mix together the ingredients for the icing and spread over the warm buns. Enjoy!

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

163 thoughts on “Cinnamon Rolls

  1. I made these at Christmas and I can attest to their greatness. I like mine to be soft throughout rather than “well done” on the outside so I put mine in a pan a bit more close together. Sooooo delicious and the brioche dough is perfect for this. It works superbly with the whole wheat brioche, too.

  2. I have made these cinnamon rolls many, many times. My 19 year old tells everyone these are the best she has ever had! One of the best things is after I make the batch of brioche dough, I can make these rolls any size I want, and as many as I want. For brunch, I shape them the night before, put them in the fridge, and back them the next morning. What a fantastic treat!

  3. Hi! One of the commenters mentioned using whole wheat brioche for this recipe. What changes should be made to use the brioche recipe from HBin5 (ie. the kneading/turning step might take longer?) ? Thanks!! Lindsay

    • Hi Lindsay,

      You can certainly use the whole wheat brioche recipe. It will be about the same timing, but the texture will be slightly heartier. You may want to increase the resting time just slightly.

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. I’m going to make these today. My husband is driving to Houston from our home in VA and it will make a wonderful treat for him before he leaves. Thanks!

    • Hi Doug,

      Absolutely! You will just want to let it rest for about 90+ minutes before baking and let it bake for about 45-60 minutes. This is figuring on a 1 – 1 1/2-pound loaf.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  5. Hello,

    I have been trying to make a loaf of bread in a loaf pan to use for sandwiches. I have a Williams Sonoma goldtouch one pound size loaf pan. When I use one pound of dough, it doesn’t seem to rise as high as I would expect. I have tried using the master recipe, buttermilk and rye breads. The highest rise has been about 1/4-1/2 inch below the pan. The bread still tastes fine, but makes for small sandwiches. Would you recommend increasing the amount of dough? A longer resting time?

    Thanks for your help.

  6. I saw this come up on my FB news feed as my hubby and I were enjoying our second batch of the sticky buns….like I need another reason to make even MORE cinnamon rolls!

  7. I love your cookbook artisan bread in five I would take it with me to a deserted island..I love the brioche dough so soft it’s unbelievable..Amazing a true must have book.I never make any other bread recipes just the one’s in this book.

  8. I have a batch rising now and am distraught that they will finish too late to enjoy this evening. I so love that brioche dough. After success with almost all recipes (the pretzels I made tasted good but looked really awkward), I bought a copy of your book for my daughter as well. She doesn’t cook much, but hopefully she will try some of these. She always enjoys the loaves I share with her.

    • Hi Carol,

      Thank you for your note and for sharing the book with your daughter, I hope she will bake all kinds of bread and share with you! ;)

      Cheers, Zoë

  9. Could you freeze the rolls to bake in the future? If so, what would be a good process for freezing then later thawing? Or would it be better to freeze after they have baked? :) I have a large family and would love to have something “easy” for Sunday mornings. My family loves cinnamon rolls but I really don’t want to buy canned versions. Thanks!

    • Absolutely Steph. We prefer to freeze the dough rather than the baked product. Just thaw overnight in the fridge (or less time on the counter), and you’re ready to bake in the AM. Jeff

  10. I’m going to try this with brioche. I’ve been making cin rolls from canola oil dough, raw sugar or honey and cinnamon inside. I roll it out and by the time I have it prepared the dough has rested enough and they bake just fine. I make a bunch-48, cool and freeze and ice on demand for my 4 kids. http://momonamission.me/?p=923 I’m baking nearly ALL of our breads and freezing and having fun. Thank you for your book!

  11. I am trying out the whole grain garlic knots with parsley and olive oil from your Healthy Bread book. The recipe list includes parmigiano-reggiano cheese, but the directions make no mention of where the cheese should be used. Is it for sprinkling on after baking? Or before? Thanks!

  12. OK. I made a batch of the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, which my family adores, the recipe with the honey and 5 eggs and oil in it. I left it out to rise accidentally all night long (so from about 10 until 6 a.m.). It rose all the way to the top of my container but I’m more concerned with it going bad because of the eggs.

    I can’t tell you how much your method has revolutionized my kitchen! :)

    Thank you!
    Julie N.

    • Hi Julie,

      If your kitchen is very warm and you are nervous about it, then toss it. I have done this before, in my chilly kitchen I felt ok using it.

      Thanks! Zoë

  13. my favorite way to make them is to use your challah bread recipe, use the whole batch, roll out on counter, melt a stick of butter and spread out, put generous amounts of sugar and cinnamon, cut an 1 1/2 thick, put in buttered pan, let rise and bake. So good you don’t even need frosting. The best cinnamon rolls ever…

  14. We have a cabin with a propane oven. I take a zip lock bag of dough (prefer regular ABin5 with white whole wheat flour and added millet seeds) and then roll the dough with brown sugar, butter, raisins and lots of cinnamon in the morning. A very popular treat and fun kid activity.

  15. These are the easiest and best tasting rolls I’ve had! You guys are a triumph!
    I can make a batch in the morning easier than any other roll. I have 3 more batches of the brioche in the fridge and can’t wait to use it!

  16. Hi again! Just a quick note that we made these this morning and they were phenomenal! I used the whole wheat brioche dough and fit six of them into an 8″ round cake pan – they rested overnight in the fridge and then another hour on the counter. So fluffy – they were incredible. Thank you!!

  17. I just saw your great step-by-step directions and I can’t wait to try these. My mom used to brag that she made the best cinnamon rolls, but I never watched how she made hers.
    I made the bialys today from the first book. We absolutely loved them! My only regret is that I waited so long to try this recipe. I’ll definitely be making these again and again.

  18. I also have been making the soft whole wheat sandwich bread with the honey and the 5 eggs, and we love it, but I have some questions. I cannot get it to bake the same every time. The very first time I made it, it came out beautiful, rose really well in the oven, was really smooth and dark on top. I have made it several times since then over the last few weeks and find that it keeps splitting open on one side, and due to the large amount of dough it requires and because it is very sticky I find it very hard to work with, even when it is cold, to form a ball with a proper “cloak” on it. I am using the same ingredients every time, except it is possible that the very first time I used a different brand of whole wheat flour and now I am using the Gold Medal brand. Also, the top of the dough seems to kind of dry out and get kind of hard in the fridge, which makes it hard to stretch and form into a ball when I make my second loaf. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Cassandra,

      It sounds like you may need to let the dough rest longer before baking if it is splitting open on the sides.

      You may want to use more flour when shaping the dough, to prevent it from sticking to your hands: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=1715

      If your lid to the container is not on well enough, you will get a skin on the dough that makes it tougher to work with. You may want to put a tiny hole in the lid that allow you to shut the lid tight, but allows the gases to escape. http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=2358

      Thanks, Zoë

  19. I use the brioche dough with lemon zest and cinnamon to make challah for High Holy Days, and with orange zest and cinnamon for Zwetschegenkuchen. It’s such a versatile dough!

  20. Help me, please!! As we approach spring my family will be expecting fruit cobblers (peach, blueberry and blackberry) when they visit. I emailed last fall for suggestions as to the best recipe to use for the “crust”. I have lost your suggestions and have been unable to find your origional response. Can you help me once more, I will not put your suggestions in such a “safe” place this time. HBin5 has become my cooking time best reference thanks for a wonderful approach to baking outstanding bread!

  21. I have a question regarding to my oven. It browns the bread unevenly (significantly more toward the back of the oven). Is it okay to open the oven and turn the bread during baking? If so do I need to add more hot water to create more steam? Also, is it normal for the bread to puff up (boule loaf) and not stay flat all the way around the bottom?

    Thanks so much for your help! I LOVE this book and the bread!!!

    • Jonna: Rotation is just fine. Try to keep closed for the first ten minutes, that’s all the time the steam needs to do its work anyway. Don’t re-add hot water.

      Haven’t figured out why the ball sometimes pulls away like that, but bet it would stop with a longer resting time. Try 60 to 90 minutes and see what you think. Jeff

  22. You have lots of kudos already :-), so I’ll get to the topic: I wonder if you can talk a bit more about storage – specifically for things like calzones and enriched breads. I have been using the peasant bread recipe to create my own versions of calzones (with fresh mozzarella, pesto, pine nuts or whatever is on hand). Because there’s cheese, I’ve been wrapping it in wax paper and then plastic and storing in the fridge. Also, with the enriched breads (like chocolate bread or cinnamon rolls) they have egg in them, so I have been reluctant to store them on the counter. Can you please clarify and tell about the optimal way to store these? Also, when transporting these breads, what might be the best way to wrap them? Thanks much!

    • Joy: Calzones, to my taste, don’t do all that well stored— the crust gets soggy. But the fridge is the way to go given the cheese etc. Heat it up when you reach destination; wrap well for the fridge, which accelerates drying out– it’s such a dry environment.

      I store all breads cut side down on a non-porous surface, and don’t keep anything for long. The fully-baked egg doughs don’t have a spoilage or rotten egg issue for the 24-hour max I keep them. Wrapping in plastic will help prevent drying, but as I say, the crust will not do well. Highly enriched doughs, like brioche— that doesn’t matter, just wrap in plastic— there’s no crust crispness to protect anyway. Jeff

  23. Those look amazing! I know the gals at work love it when I bring the brioche caramel rolls, wait until I try these on them!

  24. This look just FABULOUS! Will have to make some soon!

    By the way, I tried making challah with bleached flour. I won’t do that again! It didn’t have the same “warm,” color, the dough was pale. It didn’t have that decandent, “lucious” feel that gets me all excited about making the challah.

    It didn’t rise as well in the bucket, or after it was shaped. Compared to the challah I have made in the past, the finished product was puny. I wasn’t proud of it, and that’s important. I think how I feel about what I am making impacts the final product.

    Trying to save money on ingredients doesn’t always work. I’ve modified your recipe for my tastes, but thanks for a great recipe.

    Judy

  25. I am just starting out and don’t have a baking stone yet. When you use a cast iron pot do you need to put it on a baking stone? I am using the Healthy Bread version of your book.
    Thanks

  26. I’ve been making bread for 30 years and I just didn’t think I would get a good loaf with your method but boy was I wrong. My family loves the bread I make and it’s so easy. I made cinnamon buns with the challah recipe yesterday – they were great.
    Thanks.

  27. The brioche dough is delicious. I’ve also done this with the buttermilk dough too. I’ve tried to recreate the Breadsmith cinnamon bread with the buttermilk dough and it comes close.

  28. I want to occasionally incorporate a sourdough starter into some of your recipes (like the Master recipe). Is it possible and if so how do it do it?

  29. I can’t say enough good things about your bread! I consider myself an accomplished baker, and your book has taken me to another level! Thanks so much!

  30. I love your basic bread but I am on a salt restricted diet. Can I cut back on the salt in the recipe and expect good results?

  31. Hi, I made brioche dough for the first time yesterday and today made the recipe from the first book with the chocolate ganache. Wow! The crowd went wild.

    I’ve been invited to a cinco de mayo party this week and I’m wondering if I could make the recipe substituting kahlua for the rum?

  32. I decided to use the brioche dough to make Monkey Bread. It turned out so well that I would like to share it with anyone that might be interested.
    Instead of the customary pre-made biscuit dough, I used bits of brioche. Here’s what worked for me:
    I have a 9-inch bundt pan that was collecting dust. I cleaned it out and hosed it down with some baking spray. Then I cut up 2 pounds of brioche dough into pieces that would roll into inch rounds or less, but I didn’t worry about rolling them. I dunked those pieces into melted butter (I had about ½ cup and had a little left over when I was done.), and then into a 1 cup sugar, 2 t. cinnamon mixture. (I also added a little bit of ground nutmeg, allspice and cloves to the cinnamon-sugar because that’s how I roll.) Then I popped the coated bits into the bundt pan. I left that to sit overnight in my fridge. The next day I pulled it out and let it sit at room temp for about 30 minutes. I melted ½ a cup of butter and ½ cup of brown sugar together and poured this over the top (bottom?) of the beautiful sugary-coated dough and preheated the oven to 350. It baked for about 35 minutes. I pulled the pan out of the oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes before inverting it over a pretty cake stand. Yum-O!

    Next time I might try to coat the dough with the sugar mixture in a plastic bag. I would also do this earlier in the brioche’s life, as my bread turned out a little on the sour-y side for me. And I had some sugar-cinnamon left over. I would add that to the melted butter/sugar for the topping instead of discarding it. I might also cut the brown sugar down to ¼ a cup, since the topping was quite sweet.

    And I’m going to try this with the master recipe from AB5 but roll it in garlic butter and parmesan. Yum-a-licious.

    Thanks for the inspiration, support and help, Zoë and Jeff. I’ll be on the lookout for the new book. Can’t wait!

    • Becky: Always figured the brioche (or even the challah) would work for monkey bread, thanks for passing along the recipe. Jeff

  33. Made these per the recipe, just added raisins and a bit more cinnamon (I like a strong cinnamon taste), but did not add the icing.
    Wonderful!!! So light and delicious! Your Brioche recipe is perfect for these rolls. It will be the only recipe I use from now on, and I can’t wait to get your books!

  34. When you set the rolls up the night before, do the rolls need to rest on the counter for the hour and a half before they go into the fridge?

    • Hi Val,

      Which flatbread dough are you referring to? I have not tried it with the Sweet Brioche in our Pizza Book, but I bet it would work well.

      Thanks, Zoë

  35. If I place them closer together as mentioned above for a softer roll, can they be touching each other in the pan, or do they need room to expand? Will they take longer to cook that way?

  36. Hello Zoe & Jeff,
    I made your cinnamon rolls Christmas Morning and they were Amazing! everyone loved them. I was so excited I made the whole batch and ended up with 9 extra rolls even after giving them to neighbors. I put them in the fridge Christmas day night (wrapped) and frosted and am wondering if it’s safe to eat them today, 2 days later? I hate to see them go to waste but I also do not want to cause anyone to get ill. (I’m thinking I should have held back on frosting until we were going to eat them). Thanks !

    • Amy: Sounds like you’re worried re: butter and cream cheese, but you’ve kept the baked rolls in the fridge. Given that you’d eat the raw materials (butter and cream cheese) if kept under refrigeration, I can’t see a problem.

      Discard any baked good that has mold on it though.

  37. I’m so glad you have this on your blog. I haven’t made cinnamon buns in a long time, and have some challah dough.

    I was cutting them and thought, “how long should I let them rise, and how much butter…” I then thought of your blog.

    Thanks so much,

    Judy

  38. I just wanted to say I made these today with the Master Recipe and it worked great! You guys have placed a blessing into my hands with the master recipe- I have made breads, pizza, rolls, foccacia, cinnamon bread and now rolls using the master recipe only. Maybe someday I will branch out and use a different dough recipe- but for now, its working for my family :)

  39. Hi Zoe and Jeff

    I keep referring to your posts to help improve my technique. I am making cinnamon buns weekly now. I use the AB5 challah dough, using margarine and a combo of honey and sugar.

    Should I knead my dough a few times like you do in this post, because it contains margarine that is cold from overnight refrigeration? And do I do the gluten cloak first?

    I did both last time. Wasn’t sure if I needed to do the gluten cloak if I did the 3-4 kneads.

    Thanks so much. Wish I could send you a picture of how beautiful they are.

    Judy

    • Hi Judy,

      I find the stretch in the bread is nicer when you do a few seconds of kneading with these doughs. You want to gluten cloak to get a uniform shape before rolling it out.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • THANKS, Zoe! I’m learning a lot of techniques. One book calls this “breaking the dough.”

      • Hi Judy,

        You only need to do the few seconds of kneading if you are working with brioche or other enriched dough and you want a bit more stretch to your loaf.

        Thanks, Zoë

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