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Cinnamon rolls are a liiiittle intimidating, so I've curated these tips so you can learn how to make the best cinnamon rolls every time. Read the below, then try out your newfound knowledge on my famous cinnamon roll recipe!
Test the Liquid's Temperature
- For active dry yeast, the temperature at which yeast activate is around 105°F, and the temperature at which they die is 120°F. Aim for 110°F - this temperature will activate the yeast, and still give you some wiggle room in case it’s a little warmer or a little cooler.
- If you have one, use a candy or meat thermometer to check the temperature of the milk. If you don’t have either, put some of the liquid on your wrist. It should be quite warm, but not so hot that it hurts! If you’re unsure, lean towards cool rather than hot, to ensure the yeast don’t die.
Know When to Stop Kneading
There are many tried-and-true methods to understanding when you've kneaded the dough long enough. I find these two the easiest:
- Windowpane Method: Take about a golf ball-size piece of the dough and pull it apart in front of a window. If the pieces break apart right away, it’s not ready yet! You’ll know it’s ready when you can stretch it apart, the dough stays together, and you can see light from the window coming through the (still-together) dough.
- Poke the Dough: You can determine if the dough is ready to prove by poking the dough. If it feels soft and doesn’t spring back, keep mixing! You’ll know it’s ready when you poke it and the dough feels strong and springs right back.
Prepare for Proving
Most recipes, including mine, tell you to prove the dough for a certain amount of time, or until the dough has doubled in size! However, as a more exact method, you can tell when the dough is done proving by poking it.
- If you poke it and it springs back quickly and fully, it’s not proved enough, and you should keep proving it for a bit longer.
- If you poke it and it doesn’t spring back at all, it’s over-proved. Unfortunately, there's no good way to come back from this, so usually I just start over, or accept that the texture won't be quiiiite right after I bake it (though it'll still taste good).
- Properly proved dough will spring back slowly when you press it, will feel soft, and leave just a small indentation where you poke. If this happens, you're ready for your next step!
Roll it Out
- When you roll the dough, roll it out to be ¼ of an inch thick. This gives you a good dough-to-cinnamon ratio!
- When you're spreading the filling on the dough, leave about ½ inch without filling on the BOTTOM of the dough rectangle. Then when you roll it up, start rolling from the TOP of the dough rectangle. When it's fully rolled up, pinch the seams together (you can pinch it hard!), then pat the pinch marks down to be level with the rest of the dough. The ½ inch at the bottom will allow you to pinch it together without making the seam a buttery mess.
Bake Me Proud
Bake the cinnamon rolls until they're juuuust brown on top. This will ensure the cinnamon rolls are done, while keeping the ooey gooey goodness in the middle.
Eating the Cinnamon Rolls
Devour. No other explanation required 🙂
Equipment You'll Need
This equipment will help you make the best cinnamon rolls!