Monday, October 20, 2014

Best Ever Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

I use this recipe and add my own ‘Twist’.

Made them this year for General Conference.

My favorite job was also my dream job; it was working at as a baker. Getting to bake every day, smelling fresh baked breads, and getting to see the enjoyment on other’s faces as they enjoy what I made was incr'edible', despite the early morning hours.

I was the sweet bakery for a short time in college at The Great Harvest Bread Co. in Rexburg, ID. I made the sweet breads, cookies, brownies, scones, cinnamon rolls, and others. This job helped 'buttered up' my baking skills and this recipe is pretty close to the taste of the cinnamon rolls I used to make there.

Best Ever Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls
Makes at least 20-24 rolls

1 cup mashed potatoes from 2 med. sized potatoes
1 cup warm potato water (or regular water)
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup hot water
2 envelopes Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs
8 1/2 - 9 1/2 cups flour (Here is where I make changes, see below)(OR just make all white flour rolls)
2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour 6-7 cups All-Purpose (extra flour might be needed)
3 cups of Whole Wheat Flour 4 ½ -5 cups All-Purpose (extra flour might be needed)

The reason for this change is because wheat flour absorbs more moisture than white flour, so less flour is needed (this prevents the dry and hard homemade wheat breads). I like the 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of wheat and white flour. I get the benefits of the wheat flour but the taste and texture of white. Last night I my bread sticks with the 1:3 ratio and my husband did not even know that there was whole wheat in the bread (he is not the biggest fan of whole wheat).
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar (I use brown sugar)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Optional Filling options: 
Nuts (Walnuts, Hickory nuts, Pecan)
Berries Fresh or Frozen (Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Huckleberry)
Chocolate Chips (Dark, White, milk)

Fill free to any combo that you wish!
Note - my directions when using berries

My favorite combos are: 
Raspberry and White Chocolate Chips
Blueberry and Dark Chocolate Chips
Or just plain nuts
(I usually used only frozen berries because that is how I was taught and it works GREAT)


Step 1:
Place mashed potatoes, potato water (this is done by boiling the potatoes in water and saving the water), butter, salt and hot water in a large bowl.  Mix until the butter melts (or just melt the butter and add it). Let this mixture sit a while until cooled.  

Step 2:
In a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the 1/2 cup of warm water, let seat for 5 minutes to proof (it will start to bubble).  Then, add the yeast mixture to the first mixture.  

Step 3:
Now add the eggs and 2 or 3 cups of WHEAT flour (depending on the ratio that you choose) to the mixture. Let this sit for 15-30 min covered in warm place. This gives the Whole Wheat time to absorb moisture now instead of later. It will look and become bubbly.

Note - if you are just doing All White just add 2 cups flour and then continue with the rest of instructions.

Step 4:
After it set for 15-30 min, add the rest of the all- purpose flour 1 cup at a time until soft dough is formed. I use a kitchen aid, so I just mix it up still it starts to come away from sides. At this point if the dough continues to be too wet add more white flour. With the whole wheat dough you want it very slightly sticky compared to all white. Then knead the dough by hand just until smooth and elastic.

Step 5:
Place in a lightly floured bowl and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size in warm place. At this point, you may place all the dough or half of the dough in the refrigerator to keep for up to 7 days. (More on this below.)

Step 6:
When the dough has risen, punch the dough down, divide it in half (if you are not storing half of it in the fridge) and roll it out into a 12 x 18 rectangle. Spread with 1/2 the butter, then the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Add your additional fillings. If using berries take care not to add too much because the extra moisture will affect baking time and too much will leave cinnamon roll too gooey.  

Step 7:
Roll up the dough tightly, then cut into 12-18 slices and place in a parchment paper lined 9 x 13 pan. Do the same for the other half of the dough or put all a baking sheet. Let the rolls rise about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven, bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (the ones with berries will take a couple minutes longer). Do the pull center test on a center cinnamon roll to test for doneness. 
How to test to see if done. Take a knife and gently pull up the center of one cinnamon roll in the middle. If it come up and breaks (like above) then done. If it stretches and looks like dough still, add more baking time. 
Step 8:
Let cool 10 min then frost and serve. (When I made last theses cinnamon rolls lasted 5 days after baking and where still gooey and delicious. I got 20 rolls and there is only 2 of us home. We delivered some and had cinnamon rolls for treats for those five days.)
See how I overlapped the parchment paper.
Makes for an easier clean up. 
I want to make these again
by just writing this post.
Leftover Whipped Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting.
From past wedding cupcakes. 

Spread on when rolls are still warm
so frosting can spread evenly and thinly. 

Husband Approves!!

Steps for refrigerating dough:

- Place the dough in the fridge immediately after making it (do not let it rise) and allow it to rest up to 7 days.  Make sure the bowl is sealed tight with two layers of plastic wrap.  While it is in the fridge it will rise, but not very much.

- After the 7 days (or sooner) remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out.  Follow all directions after the dough rise for an hour

- Other option is to prepare them the night before and place on baking sheet and refrigerate overnight. Let them come to room temperature (30ish minutes) before baking.

-The raising process continues in fridge, but at a much slower rate.

Leave your questions or experiences in the comments. Enjoy!!!!


  1. These look amazing... How long do they take start to finish?

    1. prep 15 min
      first rise 15-30 min
      Mixing and kneading 10 min
      Second rise 60 min
      Making cinnamon rolls 7 min
      third rise 30
      baking 20-25 min
      cooling 10 min
      frosting 3 min

      total time for Whole Wheat 2hr 50 to 3 hr 10 min

      Total time for All White 2hr 20 to 2hr 40min

      This is an estimate. First time making it will be a little longer with reading and rereading recipe and how organized your are.