Cinnamon Rolls (using instant Yeast)

cinnamon rolls
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I often make my sourdough recipe which is unbeatable and quit reliable. But when I am in a rush (like when a craving hits )I usually reach out for my instant recipe. Whenever someone requested for the non-sourdough version, I simply asked them to get one from the internet. Because really, any recipe out there should give you amazing results as long as you execute the steps correctly.

Choosing the right flour and ingredients, making sure the yeast isn’t dead, developing gluten, letting the dough rest properly, bulk proofing, shaping, cutting, final proof and finally baking. All these steps play a crucial roll in making the perfect roll.

cinnamon rolls

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Frequently asked questions and answers

  1. can I use whole meal flour?
    • Simple answer is NO. There are ways to incorporate whole meal in small ratios but you cannot replace 1:1 and expect the same results. If you are a beginner baker, it is better to stick with all-purpose or bread flour. If you are a seasoned baker then, I am sure you’d know how to go about incorporating whole meal. (using wholegrain high extraction flour or fine ground flour is a different story)
  2. can I skip eggs/milk/butter?
    • Well, eggs, milk, butter all these are enriching ingredients. Meaning, they add fat and moisture to the dough, lubricating gluten and aids in developing a softer crumb. If you skip any of the above, the resulting rolls will not be as soft, but if that is okay with you, then by all means skip them. If you skip any of them, replace that with water. It is difficult to say by how much but try adding a little at a time until the dough is of acceptable softness.
  3. how to stop sugar paste from melting while proofing
    • If the dough is well developed, you can easily apply the thick paste. It will adhere to the dough when rolled firmly. Also the proofing temperature shouldn’t be too high or else it will cause the butter and sugar to melt and seep out
  4. how to get softer crumb?
    • Sugar, milk, butter and eggs (yolk) all helps in getting a softer crumb. Medium gluten development helps too. If you use all bread flour (high gluten flour) and over mix, the dough might be chewy like bread and not as soft as you expect.
  5. why is the dough hard to handle?
    • Too much hydration and/or not enough gluten development. Always add water a little at a time and when you get a good hydrated dough, stop adding any more water. It is okay to leave some water behind. Also make sure you mix until you get a fairly smooth dough.
  6. how do I know when the dough is proofed?
    • You can always tell by comparing the before and after results. when the dough is doubled in size, it is usually proofed enough for the next step. With commercial yeast, 45 minutes-1 hour is ideal proofing time given the temperature is maintained at somewhere between 70°F – 75°F.
  7. am I over-proof the dough?
    • Yes, yeasted dough is easily over-proofed as commercial yeast is fast acting. You can’t reverse an over-proofed dough so use alarms and timers when proofing. You can still however bake the over-proofed dough, but it will have less oven spring which is crucial for the open soft crumb (fluffiness as we call it)
  8. rolls are raw in the center
    • Often, the rolls are underbaked and under proofed. The final proof is very important as it creates a lighter end product. The final product should be baked in a properly pre-heated oven to at least 30 -35 minutes. Using quality bakeware that transmit heat properly helps too.
  9. tops burn quickly
    • probably the oven temperature is too high. You can always bring down the temperature by about 20°F towards the end of the baking and also cover the top with a foil.
  10. rolls are too dry
    • Over-baking is often the culprit. Never leave them in the oven for any time longer that what’s necessary. The longer it is kept in the heat, the more water will be evaporated making the rolls turn dry. However, these rolls may be a little drier the following day. You can always wrap them in a wet tea towel and microwave to get the softer texture back.
  11. rolls don’t stay as soft, like the store bought once.
    • This is true with many homemade bread products. We don’t add extra additives to keep the bread moist. In commercial bakeries, a lot of chemicals(calcium propionate, amylase, and chlorine dioxide)are added along with more fat(often palm oil) and sugar to make the crumb softer and retain moisture in bread/buns for days if not weeks.

Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature

bloom the yeast

Activate yeast! Mix yeast with a few tbsp of milk or water from the recipe, let it site for 10 minutes covered.

Even if they are instant dry yeast, it is always good to know they are alive and well before mixing

mix before adding butter

Mix everything except butter and knead on speed 2 until a dough is starting to form. then add the soft butter

smooth dough

Knead on speed 2 (on kitchenAid) for about 8-10 minutes until a smooth elastic dough is developed.

strong dough

Bring the dough onto a floured surface and knead further (1-2 minutes) until a strong non-sticky dough is developed. Use slap and fold motion.

Place in a greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.


while the dough is being proofed, prepare the cinnamon paste. Use any combination of spices you like. I love to use a lot of cinnamon (2tbsp) and a pinch of each freshly ground cloves and freshly grated nutmeg.

use either light or dark brown sugar

cinnamon paste

Mix everything to create a paste. If the paste is too stiff, you can always microwave it for 3-5 seconds to soften it.

If the paste is not enough, you can make some more later

cinnamon rolls
bulked dough

Dough will be doubled in size in about an hour. If it hasn’t, then give it another 10-15 minutes.


Tip the dough on to a lightly floured surface and punch down and pre-shape the dough to a tight ball. Cover and leave to rest for about 20 minutes.

roll the dough

Using a rolling pin, roll out the rested dough into a rectangle ( about 14″ by 22″). Use quick movements and use flour to stop the dough from sticking. Do not take longer than 5 minutes.

If the dough gets too soft, while rolling out, place it on a tray and refrigerate for about 10 minutes to harden it back. It is important to handle the dough fairly quickly when working with yeasted dough as the dough will continue to proof.

apply the paste

Once rolled out, spread a thin layer of the cinnamon paste.

roll the dough

roll the dough starting from one long end to the other. Make sure to tighten and smooth out while rolling. Once rolled, pinch the edge and roll back and forth to stick everything together.

cut 2 inch pieces

the finished dough cylinder should be about 24 inches. If not you can slightly lengthen it by slowly stretching. Then use a sharp knife to cut in to 12 pieces.

arrange on a tray

arrange them on a 9″ by 13″ tray, cover and leave in a warm place until proofed. (about 45 minutes)

proofed rolls

Start preheating the oven to 375°F when the rolls look almost ready. When the rolls are proofed, leave them in a cool area, covered until the oven is ready.

add cream

This is optional

But I like to drizzle some cream on the rolls before they go in the oven. It helps make softer rolls and also gets the top and bottom caramelize and gooey. If this is not your preference, skip the cream


once the oven is ready, bake the rolls for about 30-35 minutes. Reduce temperature at 25 minute mark to 350°F.

If tops are browning too quickly, cover with a aluminum foil.

ingredients for cream cheese

While the rolls are cooling down, prepare the frosting. Use good quality ingredients. I love to add vanilla paste (or bean paste) for intense vanilla flavor.

make the frosting

Bring cream cheese to room temperature and mix with powdered sugar until smooth. Add cream a table spoon at a time and whisk until the frosting is a little runny and silky. Add vanilla and mix. Set aside.

frost the rolls

Once the rolls are cooled, frost generously.

If you are consuming all of it on the same day (or within two days) you can pore the icing while the rolls are still warm. This will help melt the frosting and creating a nice coating as the rolls cool down.

I prefer to store my rolls and frosting separately and frost the once just before serving. That way I can warm up my roll before frosting for a softer crumb.

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