HOW NOT TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS: 5 things to avoid

HOW NOT TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS: 5 things to avoid
Part of being human is in the mistakes that we make and in the times that things fail. In no way does a failed event (or recipe in my case) make one a failure, it just means that we learn an additional way to NOT do something. And today I learned how not to make a cinnamon roll! So instead of a typical recipe telling you what to do, I am going to tell you the mistakes I made and what not to do. By all means, take my word for it because I have pictures to prove that I know what I am talking about. 

5 THINGS TO AVOID

1. NOT ACTIVATING THE YEAST:

You see my cinnamon rolls down there? They look like that because the dough didn’t rise, and for a while I wondered why. Then it struck me like lightning. I didn’t activate the yeast properly. Yeast, in its dry state, is “asleep” and if you attempt to use it in it’s dry state, it won’t release those air bubbles (carbon dioxide) that cause the dough to rise. So to activate it, you must mix it with lukewarm water and set aside for at least 5 minutes. Make sure the water isn’t hot because if it is the yeast will go from being “asleep” to dead. So yeah, avoid that too. You can tell that yeast is active when it starts to foam a little at the top.

Cinnamon Rolls

Under kneaded & Un-Risen Dough

2. UNDER KNEADING/OVER KNEADING:

I have to admit, I struggled with this one a lot. I definitely under kneaded the dough, resulting in a flat looking roll with a dense texture. Don’t be scared of kneading your dough, it won’t get hurt and it’s good exercise! Your dough is under kneaded if it looks floppy, tears easily and doesn’t hold its shape when rolled into a ball. Good general practice is to knead the dough, let it sit for 10 minutes and then knead again. Do this a few times till it can hold its shape. On the flip side, over kneading is equally bad. If you are using a mixer to knead, make sure to check how the dough is looking every 3 minutes or so. Over kneaded dough is very tough to fold and easily breaks, because the gluten has been over worked and is too tight. If you are using your hands to knead, not to worry, you will probably wear yourself out before you get to this point.

 

Dense & Flat dough

Dense & Flat dough

3. DOUGH WILL NOT RISE IN THE FRIDGE:

Back to the thing about rising dough, it can’t rise in just any place; it needs to rise in a warm place. My mistake was ….. *slow drum roll* …. putting the dough in the fridge. Yes. The fridge. I’m shaking my head so hard now. And there I was, 2 hours later, wondering why my dough was the same size – if not smaller – than when I started out. Don’t let that be your story.

4. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS “TOO MUCH BUTTER”:

At some point any recipe you use is going to tell you to mix butter and brown sugar then spread it on the base of your baking pan so that the bottom of your cinnamon roll is lightly coated. Well, don’t be like me and HEAP that stuff on there. Because at the end of the day, your cinnamon rolls start to fry in the oven – you know, with the butter acting like oil and stuff… In this case, less is more.

Fried rolls from too much butter

5. TURNING UP THE HEAT DOES NOT HELP:

Not long after the rolls were in the oven, I noticed that the sides were browning (probably because they were frying in all that butter) and I checked to see whether the roll was fully baked. It wasn’t. Somewhere in my mind, I rationalized that turning up the oven temperature would fix this. It didn’t. Instead, the roll became hard and crusty on the outside and it was STILL doughy on the inside. Yuck. If you are ever in this situation, turn down the heat and let it slowly bake.

Hard crust, doughy inside

 

Well that’s all for now. I really hope you have learned from my mistakes. I really hope that I have learned from my mistakes too. I guess we’ll see if I have during my next attempt.
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10 Comments

  1. Tamara Smith
    September 7, 2015 / 9:12 AM

    You can actually put your dough in the fridge for a very slow rise. Like overnight. It works for me

  2. September 25, 2015 / 9:13 AM

    I’ve had just about all of these happen to me; the last four all in one. I’m starting to forget what normal sticky buns taste like.

  3. Amanda
    January 25, 2016 / 12:15 AM

    Got a Nordic ware baking sheet from Kmart. Perfect recipe on back of the label with the exception of having to double rise time from 1 to 2 hours

  4. Negeen
    April 4, 2017 / 10:55 PM

    omg this dough is so hard!!! i think i got it alright though <3

  5. Rebecca Palmer
    May 23, 2017 / 7:26 PM

    I forgot to the divide the butter content so put all 112g in my dough instead of 3tbsp!!! Should I leave out the butter with the cinnamon spread then?? Hahaha help is needed

  6. Donna
    July 15, 2017 / 8:06 AM

    Here’s my problem I encounter every time I make cinnamon rolls. Dough rises beautifully the first time. After filling, rolling, slicing and placing into pan, not overcrowding either. They spread out but not up. The end pieces rise up though. It’s odd to see them. Flat rolls, with the exception of one sticking up like a mountain. Both pans look that way. Any help or suggestions with my situation would be greatly appreciated.

    • Nirvana
      July 15, 2017 / 4:38 PM

      Mine do that if they are placed too far apart. Do you allow them to double in size after cutting and placing in the pan? They should touch each other after this second rise and then climb up each other as they bake. The end piece is usually more tightly rolled so it holds itself together as it bakes

  7. July 21, 2017 / 1:57 PM

    I create recipes for my food blog and am able to make just about anything under the sun, but struggle with bread dough, and in this case CINNAMON ROLLS! This time I actually didn’t kill my yeast, but did over kill on the coconut oil (in place of butter). HAHA the rolls are tough and they literally boiled in oil in the oven…. I have been researching, but found this after. (great tips by the way!)::sigh:: You’d think I would stop trying to make these by now and move on. 😉

  8. Nina
    September 29, 2017 / 3:42 PM

    So helpful!

  9. Natalie DeAmicis
    October 10, 2017 / 2:23 AM

    Thank you thank you. I’m glad I’m not alone. I think I killed my yeast because the dough never rose. :/.

    ///Tough cinnamon rolls, tumbled into the trash///

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