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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Brioche Rolls

The Ultimate melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls.  Here's how to make them!

Cinnamon rolls are one of those things, like pumpkin pie, that we love, and love to make.  Maybe you, like I, have had the experience of making cinnamon rolls and being disappointed with the results.  The goal, if you are going to put in all the time and effort to bake something, is to make something extraordinary, exceptional; something that rivals the best professional version.

I wanted to make a baking pan full of pull-apart cinnamon rolls that would be buttery, meltingly tender, with the perfect amount of just-right filling and icing.  I like the casual, homemade look of pan rolls, and I like pulling apart the warm, sticky brioche.  Each roll has the same delicate and light texture all the way out the edge, as the soft dough of one roll supports the rolls next to it.  I also wanted to make them within 90 minutes, so that they made sense for a weekend morning project.

Note on the use of  Sourdough Starter in the recipe:
The reason this is used to quickly produce a very smooth, elastic dough with a more mellow flavor.  It does not (unless you have an old, neglected starter) produce a "sourdough" flavor in the rolls.  If you have any questions about starter, or how to use it, drop me a line or leave a comment and I will do my best to answer!

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Brioche Rolls

In Preparation:
Spray a 9 x 13" stainless baking pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Set up a suitable proofing area (temperature around 90F)


For the rolls:
5 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 T instant yeast
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 and  1/4 cups milk, lukewarm
6 oz. softened unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup very thick sourdough starter (Preferred, but optional.  If not using sourdough starter, reduce flour by 1/3 cup, and reduce butter by 2 oz.)

For the Filling:
3 oz. butter
1 cup sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp corn starch
4 tsp water, or enough to make smooth paste

For the Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
4 T cream
2 tsp corn syrup

  1. In an electric mixer bowl with dough hook attached, combine the sugar, salt, yeast, flour, cinnamon and cardamom.  Mix together.

  2. Add the warmed milk, soft butter, combine briefly with the flour mixture.  Add the eggs and sourdough starter, and mix with dough hook to combine thoroughly.

  3. When the mixture is combined, turn the mixer to medium and mix four minutes.  The dough should be quite soft, somewhat sticky but very elastic.  If it is too wet to hold its shape, add a bit more flour. 

  4.  Proof (let rise) in a warm (around 90F) area for 20-25 minutes.
    While the dough is rising, make the Filling:
    Combine all the Filling ingredients in the list in a medium bowl and stir together.  I used an immersion blender.  Add enough water to make a spreadable paste.

    Filling alternative:  King Arthur makes a very good cinnamon filling mix, to which you just add water:

  5.  Turn the dough out on a floured countertop.  It will be very light.

  6. Dust the dough with flour, then pat it gently to a 12" x 18" rectangle.  Do not deflate the dough completely.   Gently spread the filling on top.  If it won't spread, stir a bit more water into the cinnamon filling.

  7. Starting at one of the narrow sides, roll up the dough.  Slice with serrated knife into 12 rolls, and place them in the prepared baking pan.

  8. Proof for 20 minutes in a warm place.  The rolls will fill in all the bare places in the pan and rise at the same time:

  9. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes or until deep gold and cooked through in the center.

  10. Mix together the icing ingredients, adjusting with cream if too dry.  Pipe or spread on the warm rolls.

  11. It goes without saying, but Serve with butter!


Heidi asks:  Does this sofa make my paws look big?


  1. Dear Sue.
    You have a website that wows us in content and photography! We love your posts on sourdough as they help the reader feel comfortable with sourdough maintenance and use. Thank you for citing our products and classes. Irene @ KAF

  2. Thank you so much Irene! I'm clearly a big fan of KAF, and love your store. Cheers, Sue

  3. Those look so wonderfully fluffy.

  4. Thanks Lisa, yes the rolls are very tender and light! If you make them, any leftover rolls can be individually bagged and frozen. Regards, Sue


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