Today there might be time to roll out a batch of cinnamon rolls. There may not be time next week. However, you can enjoy them "hot out of the oven" anytime next week, or even next month, with this make-ahead freezer dough for cinnamon rolls!
After you follow the step by step directions below for making the dough, it will be rolled up with cinnamon-brown sugar filling and nuts. If you love Cinnamon-Raisin, go ahead and add in raisins! The prepared, unbaked rolls, are popped into the baking pan and put into the freezer right away. You can’t dawdle around and give the rolls time to rise. Get them right into the freezer. Another day, you will be glad you don’t have a dusting of flour on the counter or utensils to wash.
On the day you would like to serve fresh hot cinnamon rolls, homemade from your kitchen, simply allow time for thawing, rising and baking, and then add icing on top of the rolls as desired. This will take about 5 hours, but keep in mind there is almost no work involved during these 5 hours! You will simply have to remove the pan from the freezer, remove the wrap, and allow the rolls to thaw and rise. Baking time is less than 30 minutes and none of this makes a bit of mess in your kitchen! That was all done and cleaned up days or weeks ago. That is what I call homemade convenience!
This dough is made in a large kitchen mixer. I personally use a Bosch brand mixer, but my recipe should be suitable for any large mixer with a dough hook or paddle for kneading. The recipe can also be followed if you don’t have a large kitchen mixer and/or you prefer to knead the dough by hand. This recipe was made with 9 1/2 cups of flour, 3 parts unbleached all-purpose, and 6 ½ parts freshly milled wheat flour from Prairie Gold Wheat Berries. White Spelt flour, Kamut Flour, Fine Ground White Wheat Flour, or Unbleached All-Purpose flour can be substituted in different ratios for a total of 9-10 cups of flour with similar results in the finished baked product.
Recipe Ingredient List:
Dry Milk Powder
Use food storage dry milk powder. It is much simpler than scalding milk. The milk proteins will enrich the flavor of the dough and make the baked dough softer.
Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
This flour is not bleached snow white with toxic chemicals as you will notice when put side by side with bleached flour. When used alone in recipes for yeast dough, the end result will be bakery shop style, soft and melt in your mouth. When used in combination with freshly milled whole wheat flour, it adds lightness to the dough. So it will not be as dense as when whole wheat flour is used alone.
Organic Cane Sugar Crystals
I prefer this sugar as it has not been bleached out to snow white through processing, and is organic. Any table sugar will work in this recipe to achieve the same results.
This along with Celtic Salt and Himalayan Pink Salt are standards in my pantry. I use sea salt in all my baked goods. Any of type of table salt you use will work in this recipe.
Warm Water (110 degrees)
To activate yeast, the water needs to be very warm but not too hot. Hot liquid will kill the yeast if it is too hot. If it is too cool, the yeast will be sluggish and take a very long time to rise. Most home hot water heaters are set to 110-120 degrees, so your hot tap water is usually just about right for your recipes that call for yeast. You should be able to put your finger in it and think “Oh! That’s hot!” but not get burned. If you want to test with a thermometer to get it just right, the water should be 110 degrees.
Instant Dry Yeast
I recommend SAF yeast. I bake homemade bread and rolls every week, so buying in the 1 lb. vac pak is the only way to go for me. If you do not use yeast very often you can store it in the freezer to keep it viable. Never use cold yeast when making your dough. Allow it to come to room temperature before using in the recipe.
Organic Vegetable Shortening (Spectrum)
This is the only type of vegetable shortening I will use as other brands labeled “vegetable shortening” in the grocery stores are oh so bad for your body! The brand by Spectrum is made from Organic Palm Oil. Even this, I use in moderation, only for certain recipes that are made for treats.
These can be substituted for pecan pieces or eliminated from the recipe if you don’t like nuts. I am a nut lover so you won’t find my cinnamon rolls without them!
Light or Dark can you be used. It is your preference. Would you like to make your own? Simply add 2 Tablespoons of Grandma’s Molasses to a cup of plain sugar and stir. Presto! You have a cup of light brown sugar.
Farm Fresh Eggs
When using eggs in a yeast dough, it is best if they are at room temperature instead of cold from the refrigerator. As you make preparations to make the dough, place uncracked eggs in a bowl of warm water to take the chill off. Yeast dough likes everything warm and cozy.
It will soften up the baked goods and extend the shelf life naturally without chemical preservatives. It also gives a boost to the rising process. Whole wheat flour contains a substantial amount of phytic acid, so a Vitamin C source should be included to increase the amount of minerals the body can absorb from the wheat. Vitamin C is a main ingredient in Dough Enhancer. You can purchase it or make your own mixture.
Whole Wheat Flour
I mill my wheat berries into freshly ground flour. My favorite wheat for milling flour for yeasted breads is Prairie Gold Wheat from Wheat Montana Farms. It has a high protein content and is always clean (just a small pebble can damage a kitchen grain mill). For making yeasted dough, I use the finest setting to achieve fresh flour that is as soft as talcum powder. A coarsely ground flour will result in a heavier, denser loaf and that is not what we want to achieve when making rolls. Most high speed kitchen mills have various settings from fine to coarse. If your flour doesn’t feel soft and fine when you rub your fingers through it, run it through a sifter. Save all the siftings and add it to your next batch of meatloaf as a filler. Freshly ground flour is full of good nutrients! Warm fresh flour is a boon to the yeast and it will make a lively dough!
In this recipe you can use the pure stuff or pancake syrup. You can also use corn syrup but I avoid that if at all possible when baking and cooking for my family.
Let’s get baking!
This recipe will make 25-30 Cinnamon Rolls depending on the size you cut them. I like to make one 9x13 pan of Cinnamon Rolls from this dough and then freeze the rest of the dough in zipper-sealed quart bags. The amount of dough to put in each bag is about the size of your 2 fists together. At a later date it can be removed from the freezer, thawed, and made into Sandwich Buns or Fancy Breakfast Crown. (See instructions below for using extra portions of frozen dough).
Add 4 uncracked eggs to a bowl of warm water if they are not already room temperature.
Have 2 sticks of butter at room temperature.
Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment baking paper.
In a medium-size saucepan add:
½ cup Real Butter (1 stick)
⅔ cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
Cook on medium-low heat on the stove top while stirring often. Take off the heat source when it is bubbly and butter is fully melted.
Pour the mixture, using a spatula to get the very last bit scraped out, into the parchment lined baking pan.
Sprinkle over with:
1 ½ cup walnuts, chopped
Set pan aside and begin the dough.
Equip a large kitchen mixer with mixer bowl and dough hook. With mixer off, add into the mixer bowl in this sequence:
4 Tablespoons Dry Milk Powder
1 cup Organic Cane Sugar Crystals
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
3 Tablespoons Dough Enhancer
2 ¼ cups Warm Water
3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (may substitute Whole Wheat, White Spelt, or Kamut Flour)
5 Tablespoons Instant Dry Yeast (SAF Brand)
(The reason for this sequence is the flour will form a “barrier” before the yeast touches the very warm water, just in case it is a bit too hot.)
If your yeast is viable, you should see bubbles begin to form on the surface within a minute or two. Allow the mixture to bubble for 5 minutes with the mixer off.
Next add in:
4 Fresh Eggs, room temperature
1 cup Organic Vegetable Shortening
Set the kitchen timer to 6 minutes and turn the mixer on medium speed and begin adding freshly milled whole wheat flour, 1 cup at a time, until the flour is incorporated... 6-7 cups Freshly Milled Wheat Flour (may substitute Unbleached Bread Flour, White Spelt, or Kamut Flour).
Dough should knead for 4 minutes after all flour has been added to develop the gluten.
Turn dough out from mixer bowl onto a sheet of lightly buttered parchment paper after kneading time has elapsed. Divide dough into 4 equal parts.
Shape your rolls.
Roll out each portion of dough into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. I use a pastry roller or a small rolling pin.Spread dough rectangle with soft butter and sprinkle heavily with brown sugar and ground cinnamon.
Roll up from the long side into a tight roll.
Cut roll into 1” slices and place on top of gooey nut mixture in the prepared pan.
Place a piece of lightly greased plastic wrap (I use Vegelene Pan Spray) on top of the rolls and press down slightly to seal...
...and add a parchment paper on top, tucking in the edges.
Pop into the freezer immediately along with any dough portions you are freezing for later use. Repeat with remaining portions of dough or as desired place remaining portions into quart-size freezer bags for later use.
When you are ready for hot and fresh cinnamon rolls, remove the pan from the freezer. (Keeps up to 1 month). Remove the wrappings from the top and allow rolls to sit in a warm place 6+ hours to thaw and rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and place a tray, larger than the baking pan, over the top of the baked rolls. Carefully with hot mitts, flip the pan of rolls out onto the tray. The gooey mixture will drop down the top of the rolls so there is no need for icing.
Using Excess Dough
To make Sandwich Buns from the extra frozen dough: Remove bag of dough from freezer. Allow to thaw for 2-3 hours. Remove from bag and roll dough out on a clean oiled surface to ¾ inch thickness. Cut out rounds with a large biscuit cutter. Place on lightly greased baking sheet, 2 inches apart, and allow to rise in a warm place for up to 3 hours. Bake at 350 degrees, 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool and slice and fill with sandwich fillings of your choice.
Fancy Breakfast Crown
Remove bag of dough from freezer. Allow to thaw for 2-3 hours. Remove dough from bag and roll out on a clean, oiled surface, to 1/2 inch thickness in a rectangle shape. Spread with soft butter. Sprinkle heavily with brown sugar and ground cinnamon and raisins. Roll up from the long side, pinching and pressing to seal the roll and the sugar and raisins in. Form a circle with the roll, stretching it out and pinching the ends to seal the circle closed. Place in a 9” round baking pan that has been lightly greased. Now snip with kitchen scissors from the outside of the roll every inch, but do not cut all the way through. Slightly stretch and spread out the circle “crown”. Allow to rest in a warm place for up to 2 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool. Frost with cream cheese icing.
3 oz. Cream Cheese
¼ cup Real Butter
1 ½ cups Confectioners Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla or Maple Flavoring
Mix all with a fork until smooth and creamy. Spread over cooled crown.
For a fancy icing, spoon icing into a small zipper seal bag and seal bag. Work icing down to one corner and twist top of bag. Snip a tiny hole into the corner of the bag with kitchen scissors and carefully squeeze out icing on top of the cooled Breakfast Crown. Add raisins on top for garnish as desired.