How to Make Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch
Whether you’re a student, a parent, or a full-time employee (or any combination of the three), the odds are good that you don’t have a lot of free time on the weekdays — packing lunches, commuting during rush hour, cooking dinner, doing dishes, and answering late-night emails is enough to keep anyone busy. So when the weekend finally arrives, it’s only natural that you would want to kick it off by treating yourself to something special. The thought of making cinnamon rolls from scratch might sound overwhelming, but it’s actually easy if you plan ahead — and there’s nothing quite as rewarding as digging into a batch of sweet, gooey, freshly baked cinnamon rolls (still warm from the oven) on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
Though there is nothing inherently difficult about making cinnamon rolls from scratch, it does require a bit of planning. You can make the yeast-risen dough on the same day that you want to bake and eat the cinnamon rolls, but you shouldn’t. Dough that’s had a chance to chill in the refrigerator overnight will have more flavor and a better texture, and the process of making the cinnamon rolls will be far more convenient. On the day that you want to make the cinnamon rolls, you can simply wake up, roll out your dough, shape the buns, and (after they proof a little) pop them into the oven — no mixing or kneading dough, no washing mixing bowls, and less waiting around for dough to rise.
Try making the dough and the cinnamon sugar filling on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon and then assemble and bake the cinnamon rolls the following morning. With all of the prep work done the night before, it will be easy to fill your house with the wonderful aromas of freshly baked bread and fragrant spices on a weekend morning.
Activate the Yeast
When you’re working with dried yeast, you want to be sure to activate it before mixing it into the dough. Mix the yeast with some warm (but not hot) liquid (in this case, milk and water) and let it sit for a few minutes, until it starts to bubble. When it does, it’s ready to be added to the dough.
Mix the Dough
Then, mix the yeast with the other ingredients for your cinnamon roll dough. When the dough comes together, increase the speed of your electric mixer and knead the dough until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.