These sourdough cinnamon rolls are irresistibly soft, fluffy and chewy. Topped with a smooth cream cheese frosting, this is an excellent recipe to use sourdough starter discard and have a yummy homemade breakfast. (Win-win!)
For the dough:
- 2/3 cup milk (2% or whole)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup (100 g) active starter
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, very soft
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for topping if desired
- 1–2 teaspoons milk
- First, make the dough (*see Notes for recommended baker’s schedule): In a small saucepan over low heat, heat 2/3 cup milk and 2 tablespoons butter until milk is warm and butter is just melted. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
- In a large bowl using a wooden spoon or spatula or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together the egg, starter and sugar on low speed until just combined. Slowly stir in the warm milk mixture until just combined.
- Add the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the bowl. Stir on low speed about 1 minute until a rough dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
- Uncover fully-rested dough; replace paddle attachment with dough hook attachment on the stand mixer. Knead the dough on medium-low speed 6 to 8 minutes, or until dough is smooth, shiny, elastic and only slightly sticky. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until you achieve the same results.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl; turn once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place for 8 to 12 hours or until doubled in size.
- The next morning, lightly flour a work surface and gently transfer risen dough to surface. Let rest 5 minutes to allow gluten to relax, then use a floured rolling pin to roll out dough to a rough 12×12-inch square.
- Next, make the filling: Use an offset spatula or spoon to gently spread the 4 tablespoons of very soft butter over the dough. You might struggle a bit to get the butter to spread evenly over the dough, but just do the best you can; it doesn’t need to be perfect! Sprinkle buttered dough evenly with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
- Using floured hands, gently roll up dough from one end, keeping the swirl as tight as possible without tearing the dough. Roll up until the seam is facing down against the work surface. Using a very sharp serrated knife, gently saw the dough into 8 equal rolls, each about 1 1/2 inches wide.
- Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round baking pan with parchment paper. Gently transfer rolls, cut side-up, to baking pan; space evenly apart. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let dough rise 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes until puffy.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Once rolls are puffy, uncover and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until dough is baked through and rolls are golden brown. Transfer pan to a cooling rack.
- While rolls cool slightly, make the cream cheese frosting: In a small bowl using a spatula or an electric hand mixer, mix the 4 tablespoons butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and pinch of salt; beat to combine. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until mixture is smooth and combined, then beat in 1 to 2 teaspoons milk until frosting is soft and spreadable.
- Use an offset spatula or spoon to spread frosting evenly over warm rolls. Sprinkle rolls with more powdered sugar just before serving, if desired.
- Store leftover rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Recommended schedule: Start preparing the dough at 8 p.m. the night before you plan to bake. You’ll be done with active prep by 9 p.m. The next morning between 6-7:30 a.m., the dough should be ready for rolling. By 8/8:30 a.m., you’ll be ready to bake. With this rough schedule, the rolls should be ready to serve by 8:45/9:15 a.m.
- The dough for these rolls is a little softer and looser than typical cinnamon roll dough, so be sure to use a gentle hand and lightly flour all surfaces before handling the dough.
- Big fan of cinnamon? Add up to 2 tablespoons of cinnamon to the filling for extra spice.
- Serve rolls warm or at room temperature; they’re delicious either way.
Keywords: sourdough cinnamon roll dough, brown sugar filling, cream cheese frosting, sourdough starter cinnamon rolls