Soft, pillowy, whole wheat sourdough cinnamon rolls with sweet cinnamon filling and cream cheese frosting are the perfect Christmas morning breakfast. Make the dough the night before for easy work the next morning!
I’ve been trying to perfect my whole wheat sourdough cinnamon rolls for years now. Or at least for more than a year. When I first starting baking with a sourdough starter, it seemed to grow so big so quickly, so I started making everything I could with it… bread, waffles, pancakes, cinnamon rolls. You name it!
It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I learned I was supposed to be pouring out a bit of the starter every time I fed it to keep it alive and active. (Ohhh…) Which kind of seems like a waste of starter to me, but it is much more effective and saves a bit of space in my refrigerator. But that’s beside the point. Because cinnamon rolls.
The first time I made sourdough cinnamon rolls, Mr. Table and I still lived in the tiny Dallas condo. They turned out pretty good, but I still knew they could be better. They weren’t quite as fluffy and buttery as I would have liked. Although my standards thus far has been the cinnamon rolls you bake from a can, so it’s not like they were that high.
After some trial and error, I think I have finally found THE recipe for whole wheat sourdough cinnamon rolls. They are just glorious, and they don’t take all that much work compared to many sourdough recipes. That is, there’s no tucking and folding, and no shaping then rising, etc.
You simply mix most of the dough ingredients, then let it ferment overnight while you dream of the delicious cinnamony goodness you will have in the morning. When you wake up, you knead a few more ingredients into the dough, then roll out, fill, roll up, and bake. No waiting around for a second rise, so you can enjoy these whole wheat sourdough cinnamon rolls even faster! If you prefer to have your rolls ready to pop in the oven when you wake up, start the dough early in the morning and let it ferment about 6 hours before continuing with the recipe. Place the unbaked rolls in the pan and refrigerate, lightly covered, overnight. Then just pull them out of the refrigerator while the oven preheats.
The cream cheese icing is a must on these delicious pillowy rolls filled with sticky, cinnamon-scented love. It’s not uber-sweet so it goes beautifully with the rolls. You can frost the whole pan or frost them one at a time if you’ll be eating on them throughout the week. It’s easier to warm them up that way.
I recommend serving these as a Christmas morning treat for your family (we also make them on Easter). Nothing gives you all the holiday feels like a fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon roll and the intoxicating smell of them baking. Your family may just have a new Christmas breakfast tradition!
Whole Wheat Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
Soft, pillowy whole wheat sourdough cinnamon rolls with sweet cinnamon filling and cream cheese frosting are the perfect Christmas morning breakfast. Make the dough the night before for easy work the next morning!
- Prep Time: 7 hours
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 7 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 rolls
For the dough:
- 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter
- 3 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1/2 cup active 100% hydration sourdough starter
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3/4 cup buttermilk or milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
For the filling:
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 4 tbsp butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the icing:
- 4 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp milk
- In a food processor, pulse butter and flour until smooth. Place in a bowl and add sourdough starter, honey, buttermilk and eggs. Mix well. Cover and place in a warm area to ferment overnight, or at least 6 hours.
- After the fermentation, sprinkle the dough with salt, baking powder and baking soda and gently knead for 1-2 minutes on a lightly floured surface into a soft ball. Roll dough out into a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick rectangle. (I roll the dough onto a silicone baking mat to make rolling up the dough easier).
- In a small bowl, whisk together filling ingredients. Spread evenly over the dough, leaving a small edge on one of the long ends without filling. This will help the ends stick together so the dough stays rolled.
- Starting from the long end with filling spread to the edge, roll the dough up tightly into a long log shape.
- Use a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss to cut the log into 10-12 rolls. Place rolls onto a greased baking sheet or skillet (or line with parchment). At this point you may either bake the rolls or cover them and place in the refrigerator overnight (if you chose not to do the overnight ferment).
- Heat oven to 400°F. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- While rolls are baking, make the icing. Whisk softened cream cheese and powdered sugar until no lumps remain. Add vanilla and milk and whisk until smooth.
- Remove rolls from oven and frost while hot, or frost one at a time.
Recipe adapted from Unskinny Boppy.
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