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Giant Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls With Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

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These ooey-gooey sourdough cinnamon rolls are extra soft and stretchy due to their generous size and many many layers of buttery cinnamon sugar filling!

I set out to create the perfect sourdough cinnamon roll. One that wasn’t cloyingly sweet or made with questionable ingredients. One that had the tender doughiness of an authentic rich dough. One made with real butter, milk, and eggs. One that was naturally fermented and easy to digest! I’m happy to report that I achieved all that and more in this wholesome recipe that feels like an extravagant cheat, but isn’t! 

Giant Sourdough Cinnamon Roll pin image.

Take a peek at this perfection! 

Close-up of cinnamon rolls loaded with vanilla cream cheese frosting.

Looks good, right?

If you love cinnamon like I do, you might also want to try my Cinnamon Sourdough Honey Buns and my Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread!

Real Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Let’s start from the top down, shall we? See all those black specks in the frosting? That’s real vanilla caviar! The actual seeds of a vanilla bean. Those tiny seeds infuse the cream cheese with the delicate floral flavor of vanilla! 

Cinnamon rolls loaded with vanilla cream cheese frosting.

You can order fresh vanilla beans at Mountain Rose Herbs. Or, join me on Facebook at Indri’s Vanilla Bean Group for opportunities to order vanilla beans in bulk! 

The smooth whipped texture of this frosting is achieved by beating soft room-temperature butter and soft cream cheese with the perfect amount of pure maple syrup. The result is a fluffy light frosting that melts slightly into the warm cinnamon roll crevices! 

A gooey sourdough cinnamon roll on a plate with three forks.

Slowly Fermented Rich Dough

This silky dough is probably the best part of the recipe. After a long overnight ferment it rolls out evenly and easily!

Rolled dough ready for filling.

The Spicy Buttery Filling

These cinnamon rolls get a sticky filling worthy of a special occasion! Softened butter is mixed with coconut sugar, maple syrup, and extra cinnamon to make a filling that spreads easily over the entire dough. 

Dough spread with cinnamon filling.

Cutting and Proofing the Rolls

Once the dough is filled and rolled it can be cut and placed in a pan for the second rise. Make sure to leave extra room around each roll. These giant cinnamon rolls live up to their name!

Raw cinnamon rolls placed in a pan for rising.

Once the cinnamon rolls have doubled they are ready to be baked. After proofing they should look like this.

Fully proofed sourdough cinnamon rolls in a pan.

Baking the Rolls

Get ready to fall in love with the smell coming from your oven. These cinnamon rolls smell heavenly while baking and will set the stage for the perfect day! They will puff up even further in the oven and should rise to their full potential. The sugary edges get crisp and browned, but inside the dough will be tender and sticky with sweet cinnamon.

A pan of freshly baked cinnamon rolls with bubbling filling.

Frost While Warm!

Let the cinnamon rolls cool after baking, but not for too long! You want to frost them with the cream cheese while there is still enough heat to melt the frosting down between the layers.

Giant cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting melted down between the layers.

Giant Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls With Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Giant Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls With Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 6 Giant Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Fermenting Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 14 hours 5 minutes

These generous sourdough cinnamon rolls are soft, gooey, buttery, and perfectly sweetened with low-glycemic coconut sugar. The frosting is thick and creamy, flavored with real vanilla, and sweetened with pure maple syrup. Trust me when I say these cinnamon rolls are to die for!

Ingredients

The Dough

  • 500 grams (2 cups) whole milk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 160 grams (1 cup) coconut sugar
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 14 grams (2 teaspoons) salt
  • 250 grams (1 cup) active sourdough starter
  • 680 grams (5 cups) organic flour

The Filling

  • 80 grams (1/2 cup) coconut sugar
  • 150 grams (1/2 cup) maple syrup
  • 22 grams (3 tablespoons) ground cinnamon
  • 3 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • 3 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened

The Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 56 grams (1/4 cup) butter, softened
  • 150 grams (1/2 cup) maple syrup
  • 3 grams (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • Caviar from one vanilla bean, optional

Instructions

The Night Before

  1. In a large bowl or the bowl for a stand mixer, whisk together the milk, eggs, coconut sugar, melted butter, and salt.
  2. Whisk in the sourdough starter.
  3. Add the flour slowly, and work the dough gently with a Danish dough whisk or dough hook on the stand mixer.
  4. Once the flour is incorporated let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Knead the dough until smooth and supple. The dough should be on the sticky side so it's best to use a dough whisk or dough hook.
  6. Cover and ferment the dough overnight at room temperature (65°F).
  7. Take two sticks of butter out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature overnight.

The Next Morning

  1. Take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature along with the butter.
  2. With wet hands deflate the dough by doing a round of stretch and fold in the bowl. This should act as a loose preshape.
  3. Refrigerate the bowl of dough.

Make the Filling

  1. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the coconut sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
  2. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in the softened butter. Whisk briskly until the filling is fluffy and well combined.

Roll, Fill, Cut, and Proof the Dough

  1. Grease a large 15 by 10-inch baking dish.
  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and clear a large workspace 40 inches wide by 20 inches deep.
  3. Dust the entire area with a light coating of flour.
  4. Turn the dough out on your work surface, dust the top with flour, and pat it into a rectangle. Add flour to the top and bottom of the dough as needed.
  5. Using a rolling pin and your hands, stretch and roll the dough evenly to 38 inches long and 10 inches wide. Keep the shape as even as possible.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, spread the filling over the dough in an even layer. Go right up to the edges of the dough.
  7. Starting at one end of the dough, fold the 10-inch edge over and begin rolling the entire 38-inch length.
  8. With a sharp knife, cut the roll into six equal sections and place them evenly in the greased baking dish.
  9. Cover the rolls and let them double at room temperature.

Baking the Rolls

  1. Once the rolls have doubled, preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Bake the rolls uncovered on the center rack of the oven for 35 minutes.
  3. Remove the rolls from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting and Frost the Rolls

  1. Using beaters in a medium bowl, whip the softened cream cheese, softened butter, maple syrup, and both vanillas into a creamy smooth frosting.
  2. Cool the rolls for about 30 minutes before frosting them.
  3. Use a rubber spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the warm rolls.
  4. Let the frosting melt down between the layers for a few minutes, then serve the rolls warm!

Notes

Flour Types

I use a sifted whole wheat flour as my primary flour now and it works great in this recipe. You can use all-purpose, bread, whole wheat, or a combo of the three. If you'd like to experiment with more exotic flour (like spelt, einkorn, emmer, or Kamut) start by adding up to 25% of the total flour and check results before adding more.

Using Vanilla Caviar

Vanilla caviar is the tiny seeds inside a fresh cured vanilla bean. To remove the caviar from the bean first split it lengthwise with a paring knife. Place the bean cut side up on a smooth surface like a cutting board. Using the back of the knife start at one end of the bean and scrape the seeds down the length of the bean. The seeds will build up on the knife blade and you will be able to carefully transfer them to your recipe.

Sourdough cinnamon roll pin image.

 

 

 

 

Sydney Lavenda

Tuesday 29th of November 2022

Hello! I was wondering if I could use all almond milk instead of the whole milk?

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes and tips! You’ve saved me so many times!

Butter For All

Friday 2nd of December 2022

Hi Sydney!

Yes, absolutely! You may need to adjust the hydration a little it but the recipe will work with any milk!

Kim

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

I made these for the first time and they were MAGNIFICENT. I chose to omit the icing to reduce the carb load and it was not a compromise AT ALL. I am simply stunned at how deliciously different these were from regular yeasted cinnamon buns. They were dense, yet moist and soft and light. We ate them for a couple of days, and they stayed moist and delicious even when reheated in the oven. Like heavenly cashmere babkas. I will definitely make these again, and I want to share some notes that might encourage others:

STARTER: I keep my starter in the fridge, so I took it out a couple of days in advance and fed it three times, every 12 hours or so, to ensure it was nicely active when I started the dough.

FLOUR: I started with a cup of Blue Bird Grain Farms organic emmer flower and added enough King Arthur organic AP flour to total 680g. Once everything was incorporated in my stand mixer with the dough hook, I ended up adding an additional cup or so of AP flour in order to achieve a soft sticky dough (rather than a runny dough).

COCONUT SUGAR: I used Madhava brand organic unrefined coconut sugar, which has a rich brown color and deep complex flavor. It gave the dough a beautiful cappuccino color, and the filling was the color of espresso.

PROOFING: During the overnight ferment, my dough nearly tripled in bulk and almost overflowed the bowl. Next time I'll be sure to put the dough in my largest bowl to give it more room to grow.

CHILL BEFORE ROLLING: I read the previous comments, so I was sure to refrigerate the dough before rolling it out. Once I deflated the dough by doing a round of stretch-and-fold, I covered the bowl with cling film and put it in the fridge for 2 hours. This was a smart move.

CHILL BEFORE CUTTING: Even when chilled, the dough's consistency was incredibly soft, silky, and elastic. It rolled out so cooperatively and rolled up into a beautifully soft and puffy log. As if it were a sleeping baby, I oh so gently placed it seam-side down on a tray lined with cling film, covered it with more cling film, and chilled it in the fridge for 2 more hours.

CUTTING: I removed the dough from the fridge, and gently transferred it to a floured countertop, seam-side down. Using a sharp, unserrated knife (just like Courtney's notes), I sliced out 8 rounds being careful not to use a sawing motion. The rolls do squish a bit, but you can easily reshape them as you arrange them in the pan. Also, if you put the end pieces in the pan cut-side up, they will look like the others.

FINAL PROOFING: Once in the pan (10x15 Pyrex baking dish), these took about 2 hours to nearly double in bulk. I live in the Pacific Northwest and ambient temp in the house that day was 65-70.

BAKING: Courtney's excellent instructions were spot on. My rolls were done in exactly 35 minutes and the smell in my house was incredible. Again, sourdough is so much more than mere yeasted dough. I wish there was a way for me to upload an image.

Thanks for the great blog, and keep doing what you're doing!

Butter For All

Thursday 27th of October 2022

Kim,

I can't thank you enough for the wonderful feedback and superb notes!!! This comment will become a treasure here at Butter For ALL! I'm going to look for a way to pin it to the top of the comment thread so everyone can benefit from it. Thank you for the really thoughtful feedback!

Courtney

Nikki Allaire

Tuesday 4th of October 2022

I make cinnamon rolls for all of our special occasions in our house and with seven kids we have a lot of birthdays, feast days, holidays, etc. I've tried many different sourdough and yeast cinnamon roll recipes over the years and have had reasonable success. We ate these this morning and they were a HUGE hit! Everyone commented on how delicious they were. I will say that my dough was very wet and they looked more like cinnamon blobs, but I read the comments after I shaped the dough and realized that I did not refrigerate the dough before shaping. I'm going to keep trying to see if I can get them to look more like they should. Thanks for the great recipe! I'm looking forward to trying more.

Butter For All

Wednesday 5th of October 2022

Hi Nikki!

This is an awesome comment. I really appreciate the nice and honest feedback. I'll take a look at the recipe and see if I could make a note that clearly explains how refrigeration can help.

Happy baking,

Courtney

AJ

Sunday 7th of August 2022

Could you use an alternative milk or heavy cream? I don’t buy cow’s milk, but I do use heavy cream. Wondering if I could sub almond milk. These sound delish!

Butter For All

Thursday 11th of August 2022

Hi AJ,

Yes, absolutely! You can sub heavy cream. You could even water it down a bit with almond milk or water. I'm sure it will be great! Can't go wrong with cream :)

Amber Armstrong

Saturday 25th of June 2022

Hi there! I have used white flour in this recipe, and as a few others have noted, it takes a lot more flour than stated, hopefully I have added enough, as i didn't want to keep kneading it for too long, but its rising over night and hopefully it will work. Could you add a note in the recipe that points out that whole meal and whole wheat absorb much more liquid than white? Thank you!

Butter For All

Wednesday 29th of June 2022

Hi Amber,

Glad you were able to use your intuition and adjust as needed!

Hope they were a "GIANT" success!

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