Do I have something special for you guys today! Not only are these the cinnamon rolls some of the softest homemade cinnamon rolls I’ve ever eaten, but the brioche recipe is so versatile. This recipe isn’t as perfect as cinnamon rolls from your favorite bakery, but they’re close. They can be prepared ahead of time, and then baked off the morning you need them. But really, these cinnamon rolls are an excuse to eat cake for breakfast.
I’ve had really bad luck with cinnamon rolls in the past. And to be perfectly honest I only made these once, and they didn’t come out perfect. But we can only improve if something’s not perfect, right? I’ll definitely be making these again, though. There was enough good that I knew I am onto something. The only “bad” thing that happened was the rolls sorta collapsed when I pulled them out of the oven. I really wish I had grabbed a photo as soon as I pulled them out. They were huge and beautiful and steamy.
Brioche is an enriched dough: something that has milk, eggs, and/or butter in it. What some are great things about enriched breads? They taste great. They smell great. They feel great. They can be folded and shaped into pretty much any shape. Some bad things include a longer rising time and fickle dough because of the added complexities. Overall though, they’re a great dough to play around with because the results can be very rewarding.
You don’t need to make cinnamon rolls with this brioche. You can take the dough, shape it into a loaf, and bake it up for some delicious bread – and French toast. You can also transform it into babka if that’s up your alley. If there’s one thing to take away from brioche it’s to make sure your butter is very soft! Don’t forget you can always make Britta’s cinnamon rolls bars.
- Brioche (Sponge)
- 2 tbsp water, room temperature
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup bread flour
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- Brioche (Dough)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp bread flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp instant year
- 1/2 tbsp fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs, cold
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
- 8 tbsp butter, very soft
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 4oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk (or more to reach consistency)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Make the sponge: In a small bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, place the water, sugar, flour, yeast and egg. Whisk by hand or beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes until very smooth to incorporate air. The dough starter will be the consistency of a very thick batter. If whisking by hand, at first the dough starter may collect inside the whisk, but just shake it out and keep whisking. If it is too thick to whisk, it means it has too much flour and it will be necessary to add a little of the egg normally added when mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and yeast. Then whisk in the salt. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the dough stater, forming a blanket of flour, and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Let it ferment for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature, or 1 hour at room temperature and up to 24 hours refrigerated. During this time the dough starter will bubble through the flour blanket in places.
- Attach a dough hook to a stand mixer. Add the eggs to the dough starter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the flour is moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for2 minutes. Using a spatula lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and shiny but very soft and sticky. It will mass around the dough hook, but it will not pull away from the bowl completely. Add the butter by the tablespoon, waiting until the butter is almost completely absorbed before adding the next tablespoon. Continue beating until all the butter is incorporated.
- Using a spatula that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, scrape the dough into a medium sized container that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. The dough will be very soft and elastic and will stick to your fingers unmercifully. Do not be tempted to add more flour at this point because the dough will firm considerably after chilling. Lightly coat the surface with nonstick cooking sport and push down the dough. Cover the container with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until double in side, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour to firm; this will prevent the butter from separating. Gently deflate the dough by stirring it with a spatula. Return it to the refrigerator for another hour to that it will be less sticky to handle.
- When ready to make the rolls, grease two 8" round cake pans.
- Thoroughly mix the butter, sugar, and cinnamon together into a paste.
- On a floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to a 9x15" rectangle. Spread the cinnamon-sugar butter paste in an even layer across the dough. Working with the long end facing you, begin rolling. You want to make sure that the roll is tight enough to keep together but not so tight that the filling oozes out. Chill the log in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Using the sharpest knife you have, cut the log into 12 equal rolls. The cleaner the slices, the nicer the rolls will look when baked. Place 6 rolls in each pan.
- Cover the rolls and let proof until puffy and almost double in size, about 45 minutes. For a beautiful finish, brush with egg wash.
- Bake at 375° until golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.
- Make the icing: beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
- Remove rolls from oven and let sit in pan for 5 minutes. Spread icing across rolls. Eat immediately.
Brioche recipe from The Baking Bible.