I had an epiphany while making cinnamon rolls for the weekend.
I have my favorite go-to bread recipes, tried and true, tweaked here and there, but mostly successful, and that's usually where I start when I'm attempting cinnamon rolls... unless I'm doing these, of course. (I didn't start off an ace in the bread-baking department, and I'd hardly call myself one now, I just have some success with my limited repertoire)
However, I'd like to think I've figured some of it out.
Figuring some of it out has helped me figure out what can be changed. Like, for example, turning a staple like light whole wheat bread into an amazing dough for cinnamon rolls.
Do you have a favorite go-to for sandwich bread, pizza dough, or dinner rolls? Wanna take what's familiar and turn in into something that will drag the entire family out of bed on a Saturday morning? Here are my humble suggestions for how to turn your favorite bread dough into cinnamon rolls.
To start, I'm assuming your staple bread recipe is similar to mine, in that it's basically comprised of various types of flours, the main one being a form of wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast.
Suggestion #1: sub 1/3 of your water for milk, buttermilk, or better yet, 1/2 & 1/2, with a little oil. My go-to recipe produces 2 loaves per batch, and calls for 6 cups of flour and 3 cups of water. Today, I subbed 1 cup of water for 3/4 cup half-and-half and 1/4 cup neutral-tasting oil.
Suggestion #2: add a teaspoon of vanilla to your liquids. Obviously, this will make the bread seem sweeter without the addition of any sweetener, and even if your go-to dough has you adding a tablespoon or so of sugar, this will make it beyond ordinary, for sure.
Suggestion #3: sub 1/4 cup (per loaf) of flour for quick-cooking oats. Because my usual recipe calls for 6 cups of flour, and it yields 2 loaves, I subbed 1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats. Adding oats causes your finished product to retain moisture for longer, making the- in this case- cinnamon rolls seem softer and more indulgent... we don't even have to mention that it adds fiber and protein! Note: I used quick-cooking oats so there would not be a significant change to the texture of the crumb. You could use steel-cut oats or another form, but it would be a detectable texture in your finished buns.
My final suggestion would be to combine your butter (softened) with your sugar and cinnamon before spreading it on your dough and rolling it up... this may be something everyone knew to do except me, but I find it yields a better distribution of gooey goodness vs. the brush-with-butter-and-sprinkle-with-cinnamon-and-sugar method.
Try these tweaks, enjoy the results, and let me know how your favorite bread dough translated!