Pillowy Cinnamon Rolls To Keep You Busy For 36 Hours
They're honestly the best cinnamon rolls I've ever had.
How many days can a rainstorm really last, you ask? The answer on Ocasta might surprise you! Sorry. I'm going a little stir-crazy here. Hopefully by the time this reaches Earth, things have improved and I'll be outside frolicking in the sun once again. I'll try to keep that thought in mind while I finish writing this week's missive.
No huge mind-breaking updates about the identities of T.L. or D.R. yet, but I'm still waiting on my records access clearance for ship manifests on previous voyages. If I can match up the initials, we can hopefully narrow down likely identities.
Never fear, I have something to occupy your time while we wait. This week's recipe takes a long time. Like, thirty-six hours long, but it's worth it in the end. The dough is an unwieldy sourdough behemoth that requires fortitude and confidence to handle. And your reward for sticking with it until the end is a pillowy, buttery, spicy cinnamon roll. And cinnamon rolls for all your friends, because this recipe makes a lot!
SOURDOUGH CINNAMON ROLLS
Author's note: this recipe has been a long-standing favorite of mine, which I picked up 10 years ago from the excellent baking blog Not-So-Humble Pie, who in turn got it from Mountaindog at the Fresh Loaf.
For the levain:
150 grams sourdough starter, recently fed & ripened
340 grams lukewarm water
340 grams all-purpose flour
Mix together and let this sit at room temperature for 12 hours, until it has doubled in size. You can also mix this together & place it (covered) in the fridge if you aren't planning on getting to the rest of the recipe in 12 hours.
For the dough:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
42 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) honey
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
130 grams mashed potato (instant is fine!)
195 grams buttermilk or whole milk (I reconstituted buttermilk powder from my pantry for this)
850 grams levain (it should be the entire bowl of levain)
700 grams all-purpose flour
21 grams salt
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and beat in eggs one at a time. Next, beat in the honey, vanilla, and mashed potatoes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until well-blended.
Change out the paddle for your dough hook and add the milk and levain. Mix until well-blended, then gradually add in the flour and salt. Continue mixing with the dough hook until everything is well-blended, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Allow the dough to rest, covered, in the bowl for 20 minutes, then mix with the hook again for another 3 minutes.
REST 2 & FOLDS:
You should now have a very sticky, moist, wonderful smelling dough. Turn this dough out into a (very) large, lightly-oiled bowl. Cover and allow the dough to ferment in a cool location (55-65 F) until doubled in size (about 8-12 hours.)
While it is fermenting, every 4 hours lift the dough to stretch it and then fold it in on itself. For the final hour, it is helpful to stick this dough in the fridge to chill a little further while it finishes its ferment.
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
85 grams cream or half & half
300 grams dark brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons cinnamon (less if you like them less spicy, heavier handed if you like your rolls more cinnamon-forward)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
180 grams raisins or pecans, optional
Add all of the filling ingredients to a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, take it off the head and transfer to a container. Chill the mixture until it is a spreadable consistency and set aside.
ROLL ASSEMBLY & FINAL RISE:
After your dough has doubled in size, divide it into 2 chunks and place on a well-floured surface. It may still be sticky, so I recommend using a floured couche or clean/lint-free linen towel for this step.
Roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle about 10x16 inches. Spread each piece with the filling, leaving 1 inch margins all around.
Roll the dough up into long logs, gently but firmly, and seal the seam.
Use string or floss to slice each log into 8-12 rolls, depending on how large you want your cinnamon rolls to be. You can also use a serrated knife to cut them, just reshape in the pan if they get a little smooshed from the cutting process.
Place each roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, just barely touching each other. Spray the tops of your rolls with cooking spray, or brush lightly with oil or melted butter, then cover with plastic wrap and slowly proof in the refrigerator overnight or up to 12 hours, until the dough is doubled and puffy.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake the rolls straight from your refrigerator for 25-35 minutes, until golden or until the center of the dough registers ~195-200 F on an instant-read thermometer.
Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter right out of the oven, then let them cool a few minutes before glazing.
Top with your choice of icing/glaze, if you like!
Makes 16-24 monsters