Last updated on July 5th, 2020
I pity the poor soul who only knows cinnamon rolls as stale, dry pastries obtained at some generic drive-thru donut shop. A real cinnamon roll is a heavenly thing! Gooey. Sweet. Fresh-tasting. And would you believe this poetry is easily achieved without a stand mixer? Here’s how I mix, knead, and form the rolls entirely by hand:
Need a photographic version of this recipe? I made some similar (and equally delicious) rolls back in 2013. Click here to see the recipe.
And please promise me that you will try these sweet treats some day!
In aromatherapy, cinnamon’s spicy scent is claimed to reduce irritability. People who regularly make and consume cinnamon rolls are remarkably calm.
Unfortunately, I’ve already devoured the dozen rolls I made for the above video. Which means I’m cranky now. So don’t even think about walking on my lawn.
Oy. I need a cinnamon roll.
Here’s the printable:
Cinnamon Rolls (Hand-Kneaded)
- 2 9-inch-diameter cake pans
For the Sweet Roll Dough:
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 cup milk, scalded and then cooled
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Non-stick spray for greasing the bowl
For the Filling:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the pans:
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the Glaze:
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 or more tablespoons water or milk
Making, Kneading, and Proofing the Sweet Roll Dough
- In a large bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, milk, sugar, butter, salt, and egg. Add the flour and stir, with a stout spoon, until the mixture is too stiff to stir.
- Turn the dough onto a work surface, and knead it, by hand, until smooth and elastic -- 5-7 minutes.
- Wash out, dry, and lightly grease the mixing bowl. Drop the dough into the bowl, and then flip it to grease the other side. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise or "proof" until doubled in volume -- 90 minutes to 2 hours.
Preparing the pans:
- Spread the bottom and sides of each cake pan with 1 tablespoon of butter. Then add to each pan 1 tablespoon of sugar. Shake the pans to coat the bottom (not the sides) with sugar.
Forming and filling the dough:
- Punch down the dough, turn it onto a lightly-floured work surface, and then roll it out to form a 15-inch by 9-inch rectangle. Spread the dough with the 1/2 cup of butter, and sprinkle on the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll the dough up tightly, beginning at the 15-inch side. Pat the ends to flatten them, and then pinch seams to seal.
- Use a knife or a length of dental floss to cut the rolled up dough into 12 to 15 segments. (If your dough is exactly 15 inches long, you can make 15 1-inch-diameter segments.)
- Arrange the segments in the prepared cake pans. If you have 15 rolls, put 7 in one pan and 8 in the other. Cover with plastic wrap, and let proof until doubled in volume -- 30-45 minutes.
Baking - 20-25 minutes in a preheated 375°F oven
- Bake in the preheated oven until the rolls turn golden brown -- 20-25 minutes.
Making the glaze:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and just enough water or milk to achieve a thick but pourable glaze. Spoon the glaze all over the baked, still-warm rolls.