Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls

Long post alert. This is not a quick recipe. But it is well worth it, especially if you are learning to make cinnamon rolls.

The thing that makes these rolls so fluffy (like most bread recipes) is time. They need a substantial amount of time to knead, and then more time to rise. A quick overview of the time is:

  • Measuring ingredients and initial mixing – 15 minutes
  • Kneading – 15 minutes
  • First rise – 1 1/2 to 2 hours (depending on how warm the kitchen is)
  • Rolling and spreading the filling – 15 minutes
  • Second rise – overnight in the fridge
  • The next morning – 10 minutes to bring the rolls to room temperature from the fridge, and heating the oven
  • Baking time – 30 minutes

But seriously, these will be so worth it. I had literally given up on making decent cinnamon rolls, until I saw this video. The game changer is the potato. Why you may ask? Potato starches attract and hold more water than wheat starches. This helps to increase the moisture content in the rolls making them super moist.

Peel, wash and dice one large potato into small cubes.
Boil the potato for 10 to 15 minutes until tender.
Thoroughly mash the potato with a fork until smooth.
Finally, measure 2/3 cup of mashed potatoes and set aside.

While the potato is boiling, heat 1 cup of milk in the microwave until warm (about 30 seconds). Measure 1/3 cup of sugar (60-70 grams) and dissolve it in the warm milk and stir.
Add 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast to the milk.
Give the yeast 5-10 minutes to bloom.

In a separate large bowl pour:
milk, sugar and activated yeast
2/3 cups (8 ounces) of mashed potatoes
1 egg
1/2 cup soft butter (113 grams)
3 1/2 cups flour (450 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the dough with a fork initially.

If you have a stand mixer, insert the hook attachment and mix the dough for 15 minutes.

For the rest of us without stand mixers, we will be gently kneading by hand for the next 10-15 minutes. Since that is what we are up to, choose your noise: human, electronic, melodic or otherwise, it’s up to you. Lightly flour the work surface and let’s get to work.

Is the dough meant to be this sticky?

Yes. Do not add flour. Even if it sticks to your palm, just keep kneading. After about 3-5 minutes, it will stop sticking to the counter. As you keep kneading, the dough gradually becomes smooth and elastic. Also, it will not stick to your hands anymore! Keep going for the full 10-15 minutes.
(By the way, don’t worry about the bits of mashed potato that you didn’t thoroughly mash. Just get rid of the really big bits.)

Transfer the smooth dough to an oiled bowl and cover with cling film or with a plate. Place it above the fridge and leave to rise until almost double in size. This could take anywhere from one to two hours.

Cinnamon filling

In a medium size bowl mix:
– 1/3 cup (60-70 grams) sugar
– 1 Tablespoon of molasses
– 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon of salt

Once the dough has doubled in size, gently press it down to release the air. Release the dough from the bowl and roll it into a really large rectangle.

Leave an inch border (like a pizza). Using your fingers, spread the butter all over the dough. Then, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar. (I spread nutella and chocolate chunks on the other half. Nonetheless, spread the filling all over the dough.)

Since the dough is a rectangle (length and width), roll it lengthwise. (The dough is incredibly soft right? :))

Cut the roll in half. Then focusing on one half, cut 6 equal pieces. And repeat on the other half to get a total of 12 rolls.

Place the rolls in a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper – optional). Allow enough space between rolls so that they have enough room to rise horizontally instead of vertically. My baking dish is 12.5 by 9 in or 32 by 23 cm. Separate into smaller batches if necessary.
Wrap the entire dish in cling film.
Place in the fridge overnight for delicious warm cinnamon rolls the next morning.


The following morning, remove the cinnamon rolls from the fridge and let them come to room temperature. In the meantime, heat the oven to 375F or 160C.

Once the oven has heated, remove the cling film and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the baking dish after 15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy! (We took ours and went camping.)

Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls


Ingredients

  • 1 potato
  • 1 cup/240 ml milk
  • 1/3 cup (70g) sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup (85g) butter
  • 3 1/2 cups (450g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

    Peel, wash and dice one large potato into small cubes. Boil the potato for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Thoroughly mash the potato with a fork until smooth. Finally, measure 2/3 cup of mashed potatoes and set aside.

    While the potato is boiling, heat 1 cup of milk in the microwave until warm (about 30 seconds). Measure 1/3 cup of sugar (60-70 grams) and dissolve it in the warm milk and stir. Add 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. Give the yeast 5-10 minutes to bloom.

    In a large bowl mix the activated yeast, milk, sugar, 2/3 cups of mashed potatoes, 1 egg, 1/3 cup soft butter (85 g), 3 1/2 cups flour (450 grams) and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix with a fork until it forms a shaggy dough.

    If you have a stand mixer mix for 15 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, gently knead by hand for the next 15 minutes. This actually quite therapeutic. Don’t worry about the bits of mashed potato that you didn’t thoroughly mash. Just get rid of the really big bits.

    Transfer the smooth dough to an oiled bowl and cover with cling film or with a plate. Leave to rise until almost double in size. This could take anywhere from one to two hours.

    Cinnamon Filling

    In a medium size bowl mix:

  • 1/3 cup (60-70 grams) sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of molasses
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup (85grams) butter
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, gently press it down to release the air and remove from the bowl. Roll it into a really large rectangle.

    Using your fingers, spread the butter over the dough leaving an inch border. Then, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar (or nutella and chocolate chunks).

    Roll it lengthwise tight-ish. Cut the long roll in half. Then focusing on one half, cut 6 equal pieces. And repeat on the other half to get a total of 12 rolls.

    Place the rolls in a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper – optional). Allow enough space for the rolls to rise horizontally instead of vertically (basically, don’t squish them). The 12 rolls fit in a 13 by 9 in or 32 by 23 cm baking dish. Alternatively, separate into two batches and into two baking dishes.

    Wrap the entire dish in cling film. Place in the fridge overnight.

    Baking Time

    The following morning, remove the cinnamon rolls from the fridge and let them come to room temperature. In the meantime, heat the oven to 375F or 160C. Once the oven has heated, remove the cling film and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the baking dish after 15 minutes.

    Cool, serve and rip into them!

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