Who doesn't love a cinnamon bun, sticky bun, cinnamon roll, or cinnabon? Whatever you call them, these are just plain irresistable! I've been using this recipe for years and the results are always the same; not so much as a crumb left after 2 hours.

I did however, make one very small change to it, not with the ingredients but in the method. In all the years that I've been making bread,  I have read so much about the autolyse method, which involves leaving the flour and liquid mixture to rest for at least 30 minutes, prior to adding anything else, including salt and yeast. I have never tried it before though.

The results were quite eye opening. The dough was very pliant and "obedient", offering practically no resistance to my hands, going just where I wanted it to go, without shrinking back. Lovely.

This is especially invaluable where the dough requires more manipulation than would be the case for a straightforward, plain loaf, which would not need rolling out or rolling up and slicing. And, the rise was phenomenal! Look at the dizzying heights the rolls achieved!

I used to think my butter rolls were the last word in soft, fluffy bread heaven (manna as Jessie so beautifully described them) but now, those rolls which I thought could not be improved upon, may have to endure some tweaking In fact, all of my bread recipes may have to be upgraded...

My boys are always tickled by the uncanny resemblance of these rolls to the spiralling tops of garden snail shells. The outcome of the individual rolls depends upon how loosely or tightly the dough is rolled up so read the recipe method carefully, to achieve the desired result.

One of the secrets to a tender roll is to reduce the gluten content of the flour by replacing some of the bread flour with regular plain (all purpose) flour. Another handy trick is to add mashed potato to the recipe or, you could just let your flour and liquid mixture rest before adding anything else (autolyse method). Really, how easy is that?

I need to mention again the fact that cinnamon is a known yeast inhibitor because you may wonder why I'm seemingly contradicting myself by using a generous amount of it here. The trick when you want a pronounced flavour, is to leave the dough innocent of cinnamon but to instead, pump the filling with cinnamon so each bite is an explosion of sweetly warm spice flooding your mouth.

This way the cinnamon does not disturb the yeast inside the dough but coasts along happily on top of it, causing the yeast no grief. Everyone's happy ;)

4 hrs  Cook 25 mins Makes 15 rolls

350 g (3 1/2 level  teacups) bread flour
150 g (1 1/2 level teacups) plain or all purpose flour
350 ml (1 3/4 teacups) milk ( I used soy milk - lovely flavour and aroma)
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 level tsp sugar
3 Tbsp water
1 1/2 level tsp fine sea salt
4 Tbsp soft butter or 5 Tbsp light vegetable oil


100 g (2/3 teacup) soft butter
100 g (3/4 teacup) soft brown sugar
2 - 3 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 3 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional but recommended)


50 g (1/2 teacup lightly packed) icing or confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp water

In bowl of standmixer, combine flours and milk and mix on low speed (2) for about 2 minutes or just long enough to moisten all the flour and obtain a shaggy dough. Scrape down hook and bowl, cover bowl and leave dough to rest 20 - 30 minutes. This is the autolysing part.

While dough is mixing, combine yeast, sugar and water in a separate small bowl and stir and break up yeast with spoon until mixture is smooth and creamy and sugar and yeast have dissolved. Set aside for 20 minutes or so. Mixture should be foamy and slightly risen.

Add the salt and butter or oil to the dough in the mixer bowl and mix on speed 2 until salt and butter are incorporated (about 2 minutes). Pour in the yeast mixture and continue to mix (or knead) for 8 - 10 minutes.

Scrape dough out of bowl onto a lightly oiled clean surface and lightly grease hands. Grease inside of mixer bowl. Form dough into a neat and smooth ball and put seam side down into bowl. Cover and leave to rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until slightly more than doubled.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Turn dough out of bowl onto lightly oiled surface. Dough will deflate by itself, there's no need to "knock down". Gently stretch and pat into a more or less even rectangle of 40 cm (16 in) by 30 cm (12 in) and allow dough to rest briefly while you prepare filling.

Combine the filling ingredients in a roomy bowl and stir only until smooth and well combined. Spread mixture evenly over dough right up to the edges. Beginning at longer edge closer to you, roll up dough as for a Swiss (jelly) roll. If you like neat, flat spirals, roll loosely. If you like upward spiralling centres (like mine) which resemble snail shells, roll up more tightly.

Pinch seam to seal and roll until seam is down. Gently neaten roll so it is evenly thick from end to end, bearing in mind to keep roll loose if you want flat spirals. Slice with a sharp serrated knife, sharp scissors (my choice) or unused, unflavoured dental floss into 15 even slices.

Gently lift and arrange slices cut side up and close together, on baking tray. Cover tray loosely with a clean napkin or large sheet of plastic. Leave to proof until there are no longer spaces between the rolls and they have risen slightly above the rim of tray (about 30 minutes)

Preheat oven at 190 C (375 F) 10 minutes into proofing so oven has 20 minutes to warm up).

Bake rolls for 25 minutes or until golden. If your oven heats unevenly (mine does) gently turn tray around 15 minutes into baking. Remove from oven when done and transfer rolls to a cooling rack. When rolls are no longer warm, stir together icing ingredients and drizzle across rolls. Allow icing to set before pulling off rolls.

Regular Method

Combine flours, salt and sugar in mixer bowl and stir well.

Add (dry) instant yeast to flour mixture and stir through. Omit the 3 Tbsp water for dissolving yeast in autolyse method.

Pour in milk and mix on low speed for 3 minutes. Scrape dough down hook and book and cover bowl. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Add butter or oil to bowl and knead on low speed for 10 minutes. Scrape dough out onto lighly greased surface, lightly grease hands and inside of bowl. Form dough into a tight, smooth ball and put seam side down in bowl. Cover and leave to rest for 1 1/2 hours or until volume increases about 2 1/2 times.

Proceed according to recipe given for autolyse method, from here on.