Go Messy or Go Hungry

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Jan 12, 2019 | Breakfast, Holidays, Recipes, Sourdough

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls | Go Messy or Go Hungry

I began last year by giving up sugar for a month… and I begin this year with a very indulgent cinnamon roll recipe. Forward progress? Irony? Who cares, because these cinnamon rolls are legit delicious.


Seriously though, I do want to pause and acknowledge the fact that it is the beginning of a new year, and I’m sure your lives – whether digital or physical – are saturated with people talking about their big plans and intentions for the new year.


The thing is, for me, 2018 was one hell of a year. I set quite a few goals for myself at the outset of it, and I think actually accomplished almost all of them. I worked to fix my posture so I wouldn’t look like a bum in all our wedding photos and gained about 10 lbs of muscle in the process. I took a more hands-on approach with my personal finances & budget and didn’t freak out once a quarter about where all my money went. We got married, which was obviously a success, but I pretty much overdosed in organization. And at work I endured three re-orgs and an equal amount of managers, and still managed to convince everyone I deserved a promotion. I tried and was not as successful at “fixing” my acne, but I did do a ton of research.

I say all this not to brag, but to point out that by the end of the year, I didn’t feel like I was crushing it. Yes, I accomplished a lot. But by the end of the year I feel like I was the one that had been crushed. By a very large and fast train. Maybe we call that burnout? And it turns out one week in Mexico — as perfect as it was — was not enough to undo a years’ worth of stress.



So in 2019, I’m ready to… chill the eff out, relax, and give myself some slack. Sure, I’m not just going to sit around and do nothing, but I have no desire to be all gung-ho crazy about setting and achieving goals right now. And since Jan 1 is an arbitrary date anyway, I’m planning on just continuing life as normal — with maybe a few more couch cuddles and a few less workouts (ha. maybe).

And a few more cinnamon rolls?

Ok, enough about my New Year’s Apathy, let’s get to the more important bit: these beauties.


I’ve got another low FODMAP cinnamon roll recipe on the blog already, but forget those. THESE are where it’s at. That recipe was made with gluten-free flours, plus a little vital wheat gluten to hold them together. Although adding gluten back in helped hold the dough together so it wasn’t a crumbly mess, they still didn’t have that magical, stretchy-fluffy quality about them that can only be achieved with wheat flour.

You see, that was before I knew I could eat sourdough (< read for why)! And now that we have our own sourdough starter, I’ve been having tons of fun trying out new recipes and actually using WHEAT flour again. Sorry, gluten free flours, but it’s just so much easier to work with. And so one day during our Christmas vacation, I found myself with nothing better to do than make some sourdough cinnamon rolls.
Like I mentioned in my last post, the instructions we followed to get our starter up and running (bubbling?), as well as all the recipes I’ve used since then have been from The Perfect Loaf. And so far, Maurizio has not let me down. Yes, making something with a sourdough starter is more intense and takes longer than making something with standard active dry yeast, but all you have to do is do exactly what Maurizio says and you’ll get amazing results. Promise!

Maybe the idea of sourdough cinnamon rolls sounds odd, but I promise you they don’t taste sour in the least and you’d seriously never know! Marc, who grew up eating his grandma’s homemade cinnamon rolls, gave them a “these are the best cinnamon rolls I’ve had in awhile.” The filling oozes out as they rise and bake, creating a caramelized cinnamon-y crust on the bottom, and they get lightly toasted on the top while staying soft and chewy on the inside. And flaky! As they should be, as there’s almost an entire stick butter in just six rolls ?

Confused about all this talk of sourdough? Read all about sourdough and why it’s low FODMAP.

So listen. Maybe you too are feeling beaten down by 2018, or overwhelmed by 2019. I can’t promise these cinnamon rolls will fix all your problems, but the act of taking the time to lovingly labor over this dough might just be the comfort you need. These guys won’t give you a six pack and definitely don’t fit in any sort of New Year’s diet, but that’s all overrated anyway. Cinnamon rolls on the other hand, are not.

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Yield | 6 rolls
See my Instagram highlights for step by step instructions on how to make these!
Recipe adapted from The Perfect Loaf.
Starter: I suggest you create your starter following these directions, and maintain it following these.
Timing: You want your starter to be "mature" or at its peak when you use it for this recipe (right when you would normally feed it). I feed mine at 9pm and 9am, so starting the dough around 9am works perfectly for me. I just take what I need for the dough, and then feed the starter like normal. If you want to wait a bit before you make the dough though, it's no problem, just make a levain (intermediate build). Mix together 55 g all-purpose flour, 55 g warm water, and 55 g mature sourdough starter in a jar, and it should be ready to go in a few hours!
I've included timing recommendations for what I like to do. This timing prepares everything ahead of time so you only need to preheat the oven and bake in the morning. Feel free to adjust the timing to your liking though!



  • 95.5 grams butter (about 1 stick minus 1 tbl)
  • 95.5 grams eggs (about 2 large)
  • 66.5 grams lactose-free 1% milk (can use 2% or whole milk as well)
  • 24 grams sugar
  • 100 grams mature sourdough starter (see notes)
  • 238.5 grams white all-purpose or bread flour
  • 5.5 grams salt

Brown sugar filling mixture

  • 107 grams brown sugar
  • 20 grams oat flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • teaspoon salt

Maple glaze

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup (1 ½ teaspoons)
  • ½-1 tablespoon water (to consistency)


Mix (30 mins) — 9:00 am

  • Remove butter from fridge and cut into about ⅛"-¼" squares (this will make your life easier later). Place on a plate to warm up to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the dough.
  • Whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, and sourdough starter in a large bowl, or in a stand mixer (stand mixer is easier, but it's doable if you don't have one). Add flour & salt and slowly mix (on low if you're using a stand mixer) until everything is incorporated. The dough will still look a little lumpy at this point.
  • Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, give it a good brisk stir (or mix on medium speed for a few minutes). The dough should start to come together and look more smooth. (In a stand mixer, it'll start to come away from the sides but still stick to the bottom). If it still seems wet and doesn't want to come together, add a tiny bit of flour at a time until it does.
  • At this point, the butter should be soft but still have some structure. If it's still very hard, microwave for 5 seconds at a time until it softens a bit. Likewise, if it's warm and close to melting, put it in the freezer for a few minutes until it cools off.
  • Add the butter 1-3 squares at a time and mix until all squares are entirely incorporated before adding more (on medium if using stand mixer). If doing this without a stand mixer, it helps to have two people: one holding the bowl and the other stirring. If it's just you, I'd advise just using your hands to mix. Repeat until all butter squares have been mixed in.

Bulk Fermentation + Stretch & Fold (2+ hrs) — 9:30 – 11:30 am (or longer, as needed)

  • Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with a cloth, and let sit at room temperature (75-77°F is ideal) for 2 hours. Perform 3-4 sets of "stretch and folds" every 30 minutes. If the dough feels strong and resists stretching after the third set, skip the fourth. Regardless, let the dough rest the remainder of the 2 hours.

Chill Dough (3+ hrs) — 11:30 am – 2:30 pm

  • Cover your bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours. You can even refrigerate it overnight here if you like.

Make Filling & Shape (30 mins) — 2:30 pm

  • For the filling: Mix or whisk everything together in a bowl until no clumps remain. Keep covered until you are ready to use so the brown sugar doesn't dry out.
  • To shape: Remove chilled dough out of refrigerator and dump onto floured counter. Sprinkle flour on the top of the dough and on your rolling pin. Roll the dough into a rectangle (mine was around 7"x12"), with the long side closest to your body. Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a margin along the top edge bare (this will help seal the rolls).
  • Starting at the bottom (long end nearest you), begin to roll up the dough. It's important to roll the dough very tightly, so work your way from left to right rolling one revolution at a time.
  • Once the dough is completely rolled up, turn it so the seam is on the bottom (it helps to pick half the log up at a time and slide some flour under there). Lay a ruler alongside the dough — you'll be cutting it about every 1 ¾." Take a piece of dental floss (I use mint flavored and no it doesn't make the rolls taste minty!) and work it under the dough to the point you want to cut. Take and end of the floss on either side and cross them over the top of the dough, pulling until it slices through the entire log. I also usually cut off the very ends to get even sizes on all the rolls.
  • Transfer the rolls to a walled baking pan (I use a pie plate), leaving some space between them.

Proof (3+ hrs) — 3:00 – 6:00 pm (or until ready)

  • Cover the dough and place somewhere warm to proof (counter, water heater closet, on top of a warm oven — 77-78°F is ideal here), for about three hours.

Refrigerate (overnight) — 6:00 pm

  • Cover dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. (You can also skip this step if you are following different timing.)

Preheat (30 mins) — 8:30 am next day

  • 30 minutes before you plan to bake the rolls, preheat the oven to 350°F (this allows the oven temperature to stabilize) and remove the rolls from the refrigerator.

Bake (40-50 mins) — 9:00 am

  • Bake the rolls for 40-50 minutes, or until they're browned on top.
  • Make the glaze: While rolls are baking, melt butter in a small bowl. Add powdered sugar and vanilla – it will be thick and sticky. Stir in maple syrup. Add water until desired consistency is reached.
  • Once rolls are done, remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. While still slightly warm, spread glaze (microwave for a few seconds if it's too hard to spread) over the rolls. Best served warm with a bit of peanut butter if you're into that type of thing. Enjoy!

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  1. These look delicious! Do you think they could be made a few days before baking and kept in the freezer? I’m baking several things and am trying to space out when I’m using my starter/making my doughs.

    • Hey Kyndall! I have not tried freezing them, but I’d try doing it either when the recipe has you refrigerate them, or after shaping them. You might also have some luck finding advise on this post, which is what I based my recipe from: https://www.theperfectloaf.com/sourdough-cinnamon-rolls/

      Good luck and let us know how it goes! ?

  2. Thanks so much!! Making these now!


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