Cinnamon rolls are almost unversally loved, but also subject to strong personal preferences. The most controversial aspect is the dough: some prefer a rich, brioche-like bread while others like to contrast of a leaner dough with the sweet filling. My family falls somewhere in the middle. After trying a range of options, our current favorite is a simple buttermilk dough. The dough recipe here makes enough for 3 batches of 8 rolls. This fits nicely in an 8 inch round cake pan, and the remaining dough batches can be used for rolls or loaves (one batch makes enough for a standard loaf pan). The filling and icing are enough for one batch of 8 rolls.
1050 g bread flour
2 tsp salt
64 g sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
6 tablespoons melted butter
600 g buttermilk
100 g brown sugar
5 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
35 g cream cheese
70 g powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
- Mix all the dough ingredients together in a stand mixer with a dough hook
- Once all the flour is absorbed, kneed with dough hook for about 8 minutes
- Divide dough into 3 batches and let rise for 1-2 hours until doubled. If baking the same day, take out the cream cheese at this point.
- Take one batch of dough and roll out on floured surface to a 1 foot square. The remaining batches can be refrigerated at this point for later use.
- Brush melted butter across surface of dough, leaving a half-inch border at the top
- Cover the buttered surface with the filling mixture, pressing down with your palms as needed
- Roll the dough in a tight cylinder, starting with the edge closest to you and sealing it shut at the edge
- Cut the cylinder into 8 pieces, and place a greased and parchment-lined 8 inch cake pan, cut side down, with the two smallest rolls in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for a 1-2 hours. The dough should be puffy and the rolls touching or nearly touching.
- At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Take off plastic wrap and bake for 15-20 minutes until internal temperature reaches abou 190 degrees F. Cinnamon buns are easily compromised by overlooking, so check frequently.
- While buns are cooking, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar, then add milk as needed for desired texture. The icing should be at least pourable to spreadable, depending on your preference.
- When buns are done, invert the pan onto a baking rack, then invert again onto another baking rack to let them cool for a few minutes. Once cook enough to handle, separate the buns and drizzle or spread icing.