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Need help with soft dinner/cinnamon rolls

Prof_cinephile's picture

Need help with soft dinner/cinnamon rolls

I've been trying to make soft dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls for the past few months but have been having issues with getting the desired texture. 

Right out of the oven they are soft and pillowy and how I imagine most people would like their rolls but once it cools the bread tends to become slightly dense and chewy or at least it loses the softness it had when it came right out of the oven. My recent attempt at cinnamon rolls also had the same result and this time I noticed that the rolls actually lost volume overnight (maybe 75% of the volume it was right out of the oven). I was wondering if there is something in my dough that is causing this or something I am doing that may be causing it. Could I be adding too much butter or maybe I underproofed the rolls? I'll try and take pictures in future post to give you guys a better idea of what I am talking about.


Dough (Cinnamon Rolls)

-          Flour - 100% | 500g

-          Milk – 80% | 400g (total) – 190g TZ + 210 Dough (scalded)

-          Butter – 25% | 125g

-          Sugar – 15 % | 75g

-          Yeast – 1.6% | 8g (~2.5tsp)

-          Salt – 1.8% | 9g

-          Tangzhong - 7.5% flour (1:5 flour:milk) | 38g flour + 190g milk


What I did

- made the tangzhong and scalded the milk and let them both cool 

- added the yeast (Active Dry) to the milk to bloom then added the tangzhong and milk to the flour

- mixed until rough dough formed then let autolyse for ~30min

- added in the salt, sugar mixed then added the butter in 3 batches

- mixed until the dough was no longer sticky and pulled away completely from mixer

- let it rise for 2.5 hours folding twice every thirty minutes for the first hour

- flattened out the dough using little flour, spread brown butter over it and then the filling (cinnamon sugar)

- rolled the dough into the log and then cut with dental floss then placed in a great baking pan

- let proof for ~1 hour

- baked at 350F for ~20-25 minutes




Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

I don't wish to go into the actual recipe as it's not something I've made often enough however degassing the dough completely before shaping helps towards a soft texture. 

And perhaps if you're using a strong flour try using a softer flour with less protein. 

Prof_cinephile's picture

I thought the same thing as you which is why I used Gold medal AP flour instead of KA and rolled out the dough to completely remove the gas but still having problems. But you're comment about less protein makes me thing I may have overkneaded the dough.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

scroll down the thread for metric.  Note the milk to water rato, sugar, and oil

semolina_man's picture

You are making an enriched dough, with milk, butter and sugar.  The recipe seems excessively high hydration to me, as does the linked recipe from 2007.   High hydration leads to open crumb.  With a weaker structure in the enriched dough, open crumb due to higher hydration leads to loss of volume and shrinkage during cooling.  

The "Hawaiian" dinner rolls common in the US in my view are an Americanized, not a compliment (I am American) version of brioche.  The texture in store bought "fluffy" "pillowy" rolls is partially achieved by mechanical mixing/kneading and dough "improvers" and "extenders".   

I have used a brioche recipe from Bruno Albouze.  He is a French born and trained pastry chef, now living in San Diego.  He posts on YouTube and has a website.  He seems to be moving towards charging for his recipes, that has not been the case for the past 8 years.   Mr. Albouze's brioche recipe is reliable and good.  The key is gluten development, which means kneading.  And relaxing and degassing the dough.   Making brioche with no electric mixer is a good way to understand what is happening.  Incorporating softened butter by hand into low hydration dough is a true learning experience.  It is messy, time consuming and tiring.  And satisfying. 

Cinnamon rolls, babka and dinner rolls all share characteristics with brioche and challah.  Seek to become proficient at brioche, and your world of dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and babka will improve.