This is a light yeasted whole wheat breakfast dough using part whole wheat flour and part unbleached white flour. You can easily make these ahead and freeze them. Follow the more detailed instructions at the bottom of the page on how to freeze and bake for fresh rolls on Christmas morning. Keep in mind this post shows this recipe multiplied 4 times.
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
2 Tablespoons honey
1/3 cup dry milk
1½ cups whole wheat flour
3 Tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 – 2 ½ cups of unbleached white flour
Butter and/or coconut oil
Honey, rice syrup, or coconut sugar
Mixing up the sponge:
Dissolve the yeast and honey in lukewarm water. It should feel comfortable to your wrist…not too hot or cold. If you are making this in an electric mixer, pulse for a few seconds to blend ingredients. If you are making this by hand, stir gently with a wooden spoon. Beat egg and add to the wet ingredients along with the dry milk and flour. Beat to activate gluten and combine all ingredients well until the batter is very smooth. Consistency should be like pancake batter.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for about 45 – 60 minutes.
I have found that our kitchen is warm enough for dough to rise not needing to do anything extra to create a great environment for yeast to grow.
After the sponge has risen, add the salt, butter (or coconut oil) to the rest of the ingredients, mixing the whole time and adding the flour one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of your mixer.
If you are making this by hand add flour until the dough forms a non-sticky ball. If your dough is still sticky you need more flour. Knead for 10 minutes.
Your dough should feel smooth and elastic. Oil a large bowl to set your dough in, rolling it around to coat dough, keeping it moist. Cover again with plastic wrap.
Let rise for an hour or until it doubles in bulk.
While your dough is rising the second time, get your pan(s) ready. Generously grease a 13 x 9, or 2 – 8 x 8 baking pans with softened butter. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon and chopped walnuts. We prefer our cinnamon rolls to be less sweet and gooey so we use less honey, but if you like more just be more generous with it.
With pans ready and your oven preheated to 350 degrees you are ready to roll out the dough.
Grease your work surface with butter or coconut oil.. whichever is the fat of your choice.
Roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 x 12. Brush the surface with melted butter (or coconut oil) sprinkle with any combination of filling ingredients. Our favorite is cinnamon, coconut sugar, walnuts and a drizzle of honey. You can substitute brown sugar for coconut sugar.
Roll up filled dough into a tight log, pinching seam shut. Roll log over so seam is at the bottom.
To form even rolls, I divide the log into quarters with a serrated knife, then cut each quarter into 4 rolls making a total of 16 cinnamon rolls.
Place them in your prepared pan setting them close together so they will rise up, not out. Cover, let rise one last time for 20-30 minutes and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then invert onto a serving plate while still warm. Honey and melted butter will ooze over rolls. Let sit for another 10 minutes with pan inverted so all of the sweet syrup coats the rolls. Serve warm. Serves 4-6
**So here is the thing, I always 4 times this recipe, so I think it makes a 13 x 9 inch pan. And the reason I make so much is because I give them (frozen) as gifts for people to bake on Christmas morning, coming fresh out of the oven smelling and looking amazing!
To freeze: Fill prepared pan(s) with rolls, cover them with plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer.
(This is an updated edit) …this last Christmas (2012), I let the frozen rolls sit out overnight to thaw and rise, instead of in the refrigerator. It worked perfect for baking at 9 am Christmas morning. What a treat to have them fresh on Christmas morning!