The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

  • Pin It
Alamar's picture

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

I really like the cinnamon rolls' recipe that included mashed potato and I forgot the name of the lady who originally posted it.  But I'd like to take her recipe and turn it into a vegan cinnamon roll's recipe.  I think I can simply use non-dairy milk in place of dairy one.  However, I'd like some feedback about egg's substitution in this case.  Flaxseed meal came to mind, but I honestly don't know if its outcome will be useful or successful.  I don't like using any egg replacer products that are sold at the supermarket either.  

I tried 3 different vegan cinnamon roll's recipes that I found on the web but these did not work out for me; the rolls came out tough, crusty and the final rising wasn't successful. The rolls did not rise while baking either.  

Any help is greatly appreciated!


cerevisiae's picture

What were the recipes you tried? We could probably determine if the issue was the sources or the execution if we knew that much. It's possible that they weren't good recipes; there are a lot of those on the internet. If you could tell us more about how you went about making them we could probably help troubleshoot even more.

Regarding egg substitution, it's always good to look at why an ingredient is being used when determining a replacement. In the case of cinnamon rolls, I think it's mostly adding liquid, which increases the hydration, and fat, which has a softening effect. You can increase the other liquid(s) slightly to have the correct hydration without the egg, and add in another form of fat, such as coconut oil or margarine.

Alamar's picture

Hi cerevisiae! Thanks so much for responding to my inquiry so quickly. I'm brand new to this forum so I don't know what's the proper way to post a recipe that I used from the internet, but last night, this was the one I tried: Then, I also tried a recipe from this one: I can't seem to remember the site where I got the 3rd recipe... I have to think that it must be how I executed these recipes that produced unsuccessful rolls.  As you can see from the pictures posted on the 2 recipes above, I think those rolls "looked" soft and risen well.  But, I don't know much... I followed these recipes exactly as written.  However, the one that asked for arrowroot flour, I substituted that with cornstarch as that was what I had on hand.  The author that posted the recipe also mentioned that it's fine to use cornstarch.   While I knead the dough using the mixer, I noticed that it was a bit dry, so I added about 3 additional Tbps. of soy milk to the mix and allow the mixer to knead for a total of 5 minutes.  I didn't know when I should stop kneading, but I didn't want to knead more than 5 minutes so I took the dough out to a work surface.  I noticed the dough wasn't smooth enough, but I went ahead and allowed it to rise.  I allowed my dough to be risen in an oven with pilot light on for an hour.  It was risen well.  It rolled out the dough, did the filling, and put them in the baking pan to let it rise again for another hour.  I noticed that at the end of the hour, the rolls didn't rise well.  They sort of expanded outward a little, and the seam started to "detach" from the roll a little.  It was late so I decided to bake them at 335F for 30 minutes.  Did I not knead the dough long enough?  Should my dough feel slightly sticky?  I would love to be able to test out new recipes, but I think my husband is getting sick of seeing me throwing the rolls away!  I really need to understand first what I did not do correctly I guess. Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you!  

cerevisiae's picture

Well, the recipes look legit; glancing over them I don't see any red flags. The main problem with them is that they're in cups, and don't specify how they want you to measure those cups. The volume system of measurements is frankly terrible for producing consistent results; it's ubiquity is unfortunate.

I suspect there are two main problems with your execution: your measuring technique is causing you to put too much flour in your dough. If you thought it seemed too dry, then it probably was, and the small amount of liquid you added in was likely not enough to compensate.

I think you're probably undermixing, too. 5 minutes is a bit short. You probably want to let it go for about 10.

Based on my experience of making such things, your dough should be a little bit sticky, but it should be firm and strong and therefore easy enough to make a smooth ball before setting it to rise.

A few questions:

When you noticed "the dough wasn't smooth enough", can you describe the look and texture more? You're probably right, but that might be due to a few different things. It supports the undermixing idea, though.

How are you measuring? I would recommend, well, getting a scale and finding a recipe that uses weight measurements. But if that's too much for you right now, use either using the dip and sweep method or the spoon and sweep method, at least for your dry ingredients; volume is generally fine for liquid stuff.

Dip and sweep means that your dip your measuring device (spoon, cup) into your dry ingredient (flour bag, baking soda box, etc) and let it pick up a bit more then it can hold. Do not shake to make it fit; use the back of a knife or other flat edge to sweep the excess off and make your measurement level, letting the extra fall back into the container.

Spoon and sweep method is similar, except you spoon the ingredient in to fill it, and then level it off.

How did you determine if your dough was well risen? By look or by touch? Eyeing it is okay, but it's possible it was over risen, and that's easier to determine by touch unless you know the recipe well enough to know exactly how it should look.

Did you use the dough hook on your mixer? I noticed one of the the recipes specified using a whisk attachment for combining some things and then never said to switch to the dough hook for continuing to make the dough.

Also, there's a possible workaround: Use a different sort of recipe entirely. I think I was in college by the time I found out most people make cinnamon buns with yeasted dough. Growing up, my mom usually made them using a sweet biscuit dough. It's a lot faster, so even if you're not entirely happy with it, at least it's taken less time out of your day.

You can probably use pretty much any rolled biscuit dough recipe; just sub in margarine for butter and not-milk for the liquid. You can also do some or all of it in a food processor, and here, less mixing is better than more. So that's an option.

Heath's picture

As Cerevisiae, it's important to determine why an egg is used in a recipe.  If I'm replacing eggs in a recipe that only uses them for binding and hydration, I find 2 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of a flavourless oil is an easy substitution that works well.

This is a good article about how to replace eggs in recipes.

Sorry I can't be of any help with the cinnamon rolls recipe :-)

Alamar's picture

Cerevisiae -

Thank you for your time to help!!  I followed your advice and chose a different recipe to work with.  This time, I used the one that was posted here and it was by weight measurements and my rolls turned out great!   Besides switching the recipe, I also followed your feedback and did a few things differently with the new recipe: a/ I knead the dough for 10 minutes until it gathered around the dough hook/ cleared away from the bowl, but still slightly sticky to the bottom of the bowl a little, not much, but a little dough still sticked to the bottom of the mixing bowl; b/ I noticed the finished dough was still warm to the touch and I think this helps with the rising issue; c/ I rolled the dough a little bit thicker than the last several times I did; d/ the dough was very soft but definitely easy to work with.

The finished rolls were great - soft, and slightly chewy and risen well! 

Thank you very, very much and my husband was happy this time.  Although, I don't think I can make cinnamon rolls for the next several months as we both can't consume all of them and we have to give them away - he thoughts I was crazy! 

Heath -   Thank you for letting me know about the egg substitution.  I'll definitely bookmark the link and save the water/ oil measurements.  There are LOTS of pastries that I used to love eating/ baking and I feel a bit sad because these required eggs.  For example, the angel food cake....I don't know how anything would be able to substitute egg white to make a nice angel food cake!


cerevisiae's picture

I'm glad you finally got some delicious rolls to eat! I hope you continue to have good baking experiences.