My family loves cinnamon rolls and kept putting in the requests. “Could they be bigger?”, “Can you add more cinnamon?”, “Could they have more frosting?” There is no way to know how many times I modified this recipe before it got the stamp of perfection from my family. Now they just ask “Can you make more?” I like that kind of question.
Cutting the dough with dental floss may seem a little strange until you actually try it. I can still remember Mom showing me how to do it when I was a kid. Later I realized that it works on anything that tends to get crushed by a knife (soft cheese, caramel, etc.). Thanks, Mom!
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
||Proof yeast: Confirm water temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Swirl water, sugar, and yeast together in the bowl of a heavy-duty free-standing mixer; rest until foamy (~5 minutes).||Warm sugar water helps activate the yeast, but over 120°F risks killing it.|
||In a 1-quart tri-ply saucepan over low heat, melt the butter (~5 minutes), swirling the pan occasionally. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar and milk to cool quickly, followed by the egg. Confirm it is ~110°F before pouring it into the yeast mixture.||Swirling redistributes heat. Melting butter in a pan is safer than in the microwave, which often causes steam bursts. Raw (unpasteurized) milk inhibits yeast. Cooling the butter before adding eggs prevents curdling.|
||Place the mixer bowl on a scale and weigh in the flour; sprinkle with salt. With dough hook in hand, give 10-15 big stirs to jump-start the mixing. Attach the hook; mix on the lowest level for 4 minutes. Pause as needed to push the dough towards the hook to keep engaged.||Weighing flour produces consistent results. Bread flour is high in structure building gluten; salt tightens that gluten.|
|First Proof: With a silicone spatula, release the dough from the hook, dropping the dough back into the bowl. Shape into a neat ball and cover with plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature (70-75°F) until doubled in volume (~1 hour). Alternatively, divide as desired and seal in separate plastic bags with airspace for doubling. Refrigerate for up to 1 week to shape and finish at your convenience.||Chilling slows the yeast.
A high sugar content provides plenty of food for the yeast, ensuring oven browning for up to a week.
||Evenly coat two 9x9x3-inch square cake pans; set aside.||Tall sides keep sides soft.|
||To Shape: With a lightly dusted rolling pin, roll dough into a 16×24-inch rectangle.||Excess flour can interfere with dough shaping.|
||For the filling, whisk together in a 1-quart bowl. Spread evenly over the rectangle leaving a half-inch border.||A border allows fillings to be sealed in by pinching.|
|Without pulling or stretching the dough, lightly roll into a 16-inch long log. Pinch edge to seal. Mark the top of the log into 8 segments. An easy way to do this is to mark the halfway point with a sharp knife, and then mark each half into quarters. Keep in mind that the ends of the log tend to have less mass than the center. The ultimate goal is 8 rolls with equal mass.||Pulling and stretching while rolling up the dough can cause the centers to pop out during rising and baking.|
||To cut the segments, slide floss against the workspace (perpendicular to the log) until just under the desired cut line. Bring the 2 ends up and over the top of the log; crisscrossing and pulling tight until the dough is cut through.||Floss cuts soft dough without deforming it.|
|Space 4 rolls in each prepared baking pan. With your fingertips, firmly flatten each to 1 ½ inches to promote even rising heights.||Flattening discourages the centers from popping up during rising and baking.|
|Second proof: Cover with an oversized inverted storage container; rise at room temperature (70-75°F) until almost doubled in volume (1 hour).||Covering keeps exterior soft for expansion. Over proofing reduces oven spring (rising).|
|In the final 15 minutes of proofing, place an oven rack just below center. Preheat to 375°F “Convection” (verify with an oven thermometer). Bake until golden brown with centers reaching 190-195°F (18-20 minutes). Cover rolls with squares of aluminum foil if the cinnamon rolls are browning too quickly.||Staying under 400°F is advisable for rich doughs. Ovens often run hot or cold or preheat slowly.|
|Without removing the cinnamon rolls from the pans, transfer to wire cooling racks.|
||Glaze: In a 1-quart bowl, whisk all together. Add the extra tablespoon of milk if the glaze seems stiff. Use the whisk to drizzle over rolls while they are still hot from the oven. If not serving directly, cover with the inverted oversized storage container to finish cooling.||Covering with an oversized container retains valuable moisture without making the rolls sweaty.|
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