Where do I even begin? These sourdough cinnamon rolls are absolutely to die for. I never thought there could be anything better than traditional cinnamon rolls, but the addition of sourdough starter takes the flavor and texture over the top. They are soft, rich, and fluffy with the most delicious sourdough tang. It’s subtle but truly makes all the difference for me. There are a few different options for a baking schedule to make this recipe work for you.
How to Make Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
There are a few different ways you can make these based off of your schedule.
You can feed your starter first thing in the morning. Then mix the dough in the evening and let it rise overnight. The next morning you would shape and cut followed by the second rise time of 1-2 hours.
The other option is to start in the morning time. Mix the dough and let it rise until doubled in size. Roll and cut the rolls in the afternoon or evening. Here you could let them rise 1-2 hours until puffy and then put in the fridge until the next morning to bake. I use this option more often because I can bake the cinnamon rolls earlier in the morning for breakfast. Just make sure you sit them out of the refrigerator while your oven is heating up.
Mix the Dough
Whichever schedule you choose, start off by mixing your dough. Then you’ll cover your dough and let rise until doubled in size. This could take a longer or shorter amount of time based on the temperature of your house. Just watch your dough instead of the time. I like to perform a few sets of stretch and folds during the first 4 hours of rising. About one set every hour will do (if you start late in the evening and you are letting your dough rise overnight you can just do one or two stretch and folds before bed). These are not completely necessary, but they do add strength to the dough.
Roll and Cut the Cinnamon Rolls
Once the dough has doubled, roll it out into a rectangle about 16″ by 20″ on a floured countertop. Mix your filling and spread on evenly. Starting with the long side, roll into a tight log.
Slice into 12 rolls and place them into a buttered 13″x9″ pan. Cover and let them rise about and hour or two. Just until they are nice and puffy.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position one of your oven racks in the bottom third of your oven. This is going to help ensure the tops do not get too brown before the rolls are done. Bake 30-40 minutes until the tops are lightly golden.
While the rolls are cooling make the icing. Conventional cinnamon roll icing has always been too sweet for me. I really love this cream cheese icing, feel free to increase the sugar amount if it’s not sweet enough for you.
Tips and Tricks
- About 8 hours before you start, make sure to feed your starter and set out your butter and cream cheese. If I’m starting this recipe in the morning then I will do these things at night before bed.
- Perform stretch and folds during the first 4 hours of bulk rise time. These do not have to be perfectly spaced out but about one per hour is ideal. This really helps the dough to have a lot of structure and rise up instead of spread.
- Adjust the icing to your liking as far as sweetness goes. The main recipe should be followed closely but the icing is pretty easy to modify!
- These are best served slightly warm the day they are baked
Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
- 227 grams sourdough starter (1 cup)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 stick butter melted or very softened
- 1/4 cup sugar or honey 50 grams
- 1 tsp salt 10 grams
- 1 egg
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour 420 grams
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp softened butter
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1/3-1/2 cup powdered sugar or maple syrup (feel free to sweeten to your liking!)
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream, half and half, or milk
Make the dough
- Combine melted butter with cold milk to cool it down.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment add your egg, starter, sugar or honey, milk, and butter. Mix until just combined.
- Add flour and salt. Mix until flour is evenly moistened. Cover with a towel and let the dough rest 20-30 minutes.
- Switch to a dough hook attachment if you have one. If you do not then you can knead the dough by hand. Knead 3-5 minutes on low/medium speed until the dough is smooth.
- Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled in size. To develop more strength in the dough you can perform 3-4 stretch and folds during the first 4 hours of rise time. About one per hour is ideal. You do this by just grabbing a portion of the dough and pulling it upwards, then fold it over on itself to the other side of the bowl.
Shape and cut the rolls
- After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 16" by 20".
- Make the filling by combining all filling ingredients into a small bowl. It should be a paste like consistency. Spread this evenly onto the rectangle of dough, be sure to leave 1/2" border on one of the long ends.
- Starting with the filling coated long end, roll the dough up tightly. Cut into 12 even slices. I like to mark my dough lightly with a knife before cutting to plan for roughly even pieces.
- Place into a greased 13"x9" and cover the pan. Let the cinnamon rolls rise until they are puffy, about 2 hours.
- At this point you can bake them right away or you can place them in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next morning.
- Position and oven rack in the bottom third of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
- Bake 30-40 minutes until the tops are lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Make your glaze
- Combine all glaze ingredients in a medium bowl. I like to use a hand mixer for this step. Mix until smooth and completely combined.
- After cinnamon rolls have cooled 5-10 minutes top them with the glaze and enjoy! These are best served fresh and warm.