First, let me start out by addressing that yes I am a nutritionist posting a cinnamon bun recipe. There’s this misconception that nutritionists eat perfectly all the time, and while that may be true for some, it is not how I live my life. While I try to focus on mostly whole foods, I love a good treat. Plus, who doesn’t love a cinnamon bun? They are a favourite, but don’t get made too often around here. I generally reserve them for christmas morning because they feel like a special occasion sort of thing, especially given the often long rise time. Plus, let’s face it. They’re not the healthiest, and a batch generally makes way more than my husband and I need to eat.
There are a million different cinnamon bun recipes out there, but I really wanted to make a sourdough version inspired by some of my favourite less healthy versions. This recipe has all the benefits of long fermented grains and a few healthier swaps, though they are still indulgent cinnamon rolls we all love. Topped off with a maple cream cheese glaze.. what’s not to love.
This recipe does take a little bit of pre-planning just given the fact we’re using sourdough starter to rise instead of storebought yeast. About 12-24 hours before you’re planning to have these babies ready, you’ll want to get started to allow the grains to soak, allowing the physic acid to begin to breakdown allowing for better digestibility.
Start out by combining the sourdough starter, water, melted grass-fed butter or coconut oil, maple syrup, and flour. A stand mixer works great for this, but you can use your hands just as well. Form the dough into a rough ball and cover with a tea towel, and set somewhere warm for up to 24 hours.
After your dough has been fermenting, mix in the eggs, baking powder, and salt. The dough will be a bit wet and sticky, don’t fear, that’s exactly what you’re after for a soft and chewy bun. Set your dough aside, and get to work on the brown butter cinnamon sugar mixture. In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, add your butter. Stir as it melts and keep a close eye on it to avoid burning. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut or brown sugar and cinnamon. Once the butter is browned, add to the sugar mixture.
Generously flour your work surface to avoid any sticking of the dough. Add your dough, and flour the top of the dough ball as well. I like to heavily flour the rolling pin as well. Begin to roll the dough into a 14×9″ rectangle. Spread the brown butter cinnamon sugar mixture over top the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch on the long side to seal the dough once rolled. Next, you’ll sprinkle on your raisins if you’re choosing to use them. Personally, I think raisins in cinnamon buns is a bit of a tragedy, but my husband requested them and I kindly obliged this time. Press the sugar mixture into the dough. Slowly roll the dough length wise, keeping the dough tightly together. Now, this may be controversial, but once rolled I like to trim the edges as they’re often uneven and lacking that good sugary filling. Toss it in the compost or ignore this step completely. Using a sharp knife, sawing back and forth, cut the dough in half, and then cut each of those halves in half again. Cut each of those four pieces into 3 equal portions, for 12 buns total.
Next, get your baking dish of choice ready. I’m partial to using a cast iron pan, because nothing cooks quite like them. A 9×13″ baking dish will work just fine. I like to line my dish with parchment to avoid a sugary mess and make for easy clean up. Tip – crumple the parchment up before setting it in your pan. This helps to keep it in place. Because we have no need for a full batch of cinnamon buns when it is just the two of us, I like to freeze half. I set half the buns in my parchment lined cast iron, and then prepped the others in a freezer safe baking dish. Set the rolls aside somewhere warm to rise for an hour to an hour and a half. If you’re freezing them, I like to let them rise with the ones I am baking before moving them to the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 350. Set out your cream cheese and allow it to begin to soften at this point. Bake the cinnamon buns for 25 minutes until risen and lightly golden.
While the buns are cooling, beat together the cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl. Once the cinnamon buns have cooled slightly, spread the frosting mixture over top and enjoy warm with a hot cup of coffee.
Brown Butter Sourdough Cinnamon Buns
A slightly healthier twist on rich, buttery sourdough cinnamon rolls. Free of refined sugar, using real food ingredients and traditional preparation of grains for an easier to digest sweet treat.
- 1/2 cup melted grass-fed butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup grass-fed butter
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- 1/3 cup cream cheese
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Step 1 Using a stand mixer on medium speed, or your hands, combine the 1/2 cup of melted grass-fed butter, water, sourdough starter, and maple syrup. Stir in the flour. Form the dough into a rough ball and cover the bowl. Set the dough aside somewhere warm for 12-24 hours to let the grains soak, reducing the phytic acid content, making them more easily digestible.
- Step 2 After the dough has soaked, stir in the eggs, baking powder, and salt. The dough will be wet and sticky. Set aside.
- Step 3 In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt 1/2 a cup of grass-fed butter. Watch carefully and stir for a few minutes, letting the butter brown without burning. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut sugar and cinnamon. Mix in the browned butter.
- Step 4 Heavily flour your work surface and add the dough. Flour the top of the dough as well as your rolling pin. Roll the dough out into a 14×9” rectangle.
- Step 5 Spread the brown butter cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough, leaving about a 1/2 inch on one edge of the long side to allow the dough to seal well. Sprinkle raisins over top if using, and press the sugar mixture into the dough.
- Step 6 Slowly and tightly roll the dough from the long side.
- Step 7 Trim the ends of the dough and discard. Cut the dough in half, and then cut each half in half again.
- Step 8 Cut each of the 4 logs of dough evenly into thirds.
- Step 9 Arrange dough in a parchment lined large cast iron frying pan or 9×13” baking dish. Cover with a dish towel and set aside somewhere warm for an hour to an hour and a half to rise. Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for 25 minutes until golden.
- Step 10 Remove the cream cheese from the fridge to begin to soften. When the buns are out of the oven and cooling, whip together the cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
- Step 11 Spread glaze over top of the cinnamon buns.
- Step 12 Serve warm.