Yeasted breads are my favorite items to bake. Whether it be croissants or a sourdough loaf, I find so much satisfaction in waking up first thing on Saturday or Sunday morning and tending to my dough. Some yeasted doughs require plenty of time and care, so when I’m not ready to dedicate 6 hours to bread making, my go-to yeasted dough is a cinnamon roll dough. This dough only requires 1-2 hours for rising, and you can have fresh and warm cinnamon rolls in as little as 3 hours. A perfect baking project for a lazy Sunday morning.
The base of this dough uses 2% Fat Greek Yogurt to help create a soft and fluffy dough. I’ll be honest here, it’s a replacement for butter, but I promise it’s not noticeable at all. It’s even Quirin approved… and that guy is always looking to be critical of my “healthier alternatives” 😉
1 cup Almond milk (Dairy milk is also fine)
2 tsp Yeast
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
¼ cup + 2 tbsp 2% Fat Greek Yogurt
½ cup Brown Sugar
4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Salt
⅛ tsp All Spice
¼ cup Butter, softened
1 cup Brown Sugar
3 tbsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp – ½ tsp All Spice (whichever you prefer)
Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup Cream Cheese, softened
¼ cup Butter, softened
⅓ cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
Warm the almond milk to ≈ 110°F. If your milk is cold out of the fridge, this will take 20-30 seconds in the microwave.
The milk should be warm to the touch, but not hot, and definitely not steaming… the poor yeast will not make it out alive.
Once the milk is warm, add 1 tbsp brown sugar and 2 tsp yeast. Mix everything together and let this sit for 5 minutes. The mixture will be frothy and the aroma will be strong and yeasty.
This part can either be done with a kitchen aid fitted with a dough hook, or by hand.
In a bowl, mix together ¼ cup + 2 tbsp Greek yogurt, 2 eggs, and ½ cup brown sugar. Add in the yeast mixture and mix.
Add ⅛ tsp all spice, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt and mix to incorporate the spices. Add the 4 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition.
If you’re using a kitchen aid, the dough should come together within 30 seconds to 1 minute of adding the final cup of flour. Over kneading is a bad thing here… you’ll end up with tough cinnamon rolls. So do whatever needs to be done to create a homogenous dough as efficiently as possible. If the dough is struggling to come together in the kitchen aid, take it out and knead it by hand for 1 minute, until you have a smooth and homogenous dough.
Place the dough in a large and well greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Proof for 1-2 hours in a warm space. The dough is ready when it’s doubled in size.
Mix together 1 cup brown sugar, 3 tbsp cinnamon, and ¼ tsp – ½ tsp all spice.
Remove the dough from the proofing bowl and pat it down with your hands to release the air bubbles. Roll the dough out to a rectangle of 16 x 12 inches.
Spread the ¼ cup of butter evenly over the dough and generously sprinkle the sugar & cinnamon mixture over the entire rectangle, leaving a ½ inch space around the edges.
Starting from the far end of the dough, tightly roll the dough towards you, making sure you remove large gaps between the layers on each roll. If you have lose rolls, you’ll lose the filling when you cut and pick up the rolls.
Cut the rolls into 1¼ inch slices. I use the dental floss method to cut the slices because it’s very gentle and doesn’t destroy the shape of the roll (the process is described below this picture). If you chose not use this method, just use a sharp knife.
Cut a piece of dental floss, about 8 inches long. Place the floss under the cinnamon roll log. Pull the edges of the floss up and around the log and and cross them tightly over the top of the log. Tighten the floss until the cinnamon roll slice is cut.
Place the sliced cinnamon rolls in a deep and well greased baking dish. Cover and proof them for 45 minutes. The rolls should look puffy and amazing when they’re ready to go into the oven.
Cream Cheese Frosting
When the cinnamon rolls are proofing you can make the cream cheese frosting by creaming together ½ cup cream cheese, ¼ cup butter, ⅓ cup powdered sugar (sifted), and ½ tsp vanilla extract. Cream for 2 minutes.
After the cinnamon rolls have finished proofing, preheat your oven to 350°F.
Bake for 22-25 minutes. Slather on the frosting immediately after the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven.
Enjoy soft, warm, and well spiced cinnamon rolls!