Preview: These soft and fluffy Tangzhong Cinnamon Rolls employ the Tangzhong technique and a bread machine to make a sweet roll that stays fresh longer.
Cinnamon rolls are like donuts. They taste best the day they are made. But sometimes, you want or need to make and bake them ahead of time.
Making Cinnamon Rolls with the Tangzhong technique (aka Japanese milk bread) and a bread machine is the answer to your dilemma.
No worries if you don’t have a bread machine. Directions for using a stand mixer or mixing by hand are included in the notes of the recipe.
To be clear. Nothing beats a fresh-out-of-the-oven cinnamon roll. But unless you have ten hungry kids waiting to devour them before the icing sets, these are wonderful for savoring all weekend.
Why oh-so-soft and moist cinnamon rolls are the BEST:
The shelf-life of these homemade Cinnamon Rolls mixed up in your bread machine is longer than most because the dough is mixed together using the Tangzhong technique.
This means they are appropriately ooey-gooey with a lighter, flakier, and more buttery texture. Counterbalance all that sweetness with the pungent but not overpowering flavor of cinnamon with the tiniest pinch of ground cloves.
What’s different about the method of mixing with the Tangzhong technique?
Begin by making a paste mixture using half of the milk and 3 tablespoons flour.
This variation is called the Tangzhong technique. I use the microwave for cooking the paste because it’s quick. However, you can heat the milk and flour mixture on the stove.
The Tangzhong method enables a higher ratio of liquid to flour.
Starting with the paste mixture made in #1 results in rolls that need less flour. I don’t completely understand the science, but it seems to work.
How to mix up cinnamon rolls with a bread machine:
When the dough cycle is complete, check to make sure dough has risen enough by testing with two fingers as described in pictures above.
Note to new bread machine users:
At first, the dough will be lumpy with a rough texture. After about 20 minutes of kneading, it should begin to look smoother and more elastic.
If too slack, add additional flour one tablespoon at a time. Likewise, if too dry, add more milk or cream, one tablespoon at a time. Allow the dough to absorb the one tablespoon of whatever you’ve added for a couple of minutes. Look at the dough again to recheck the appearance of your dough.
Checking on the dough is VERY IMPORTANT to your success with bread in general, but especially with a bread machine. Check out this post for more details.
How to roll out cinnamon rolls:
Nothing new here. This method is the traditional way to roll out cinnamon rolls.
Baker’s tip for rolling out the dough:
Cleaning up the counter after rolling out dough can be such a mess! Consequently, I use a silicone baking mat. The reason is that you can pick it up when you’re finished, shake it out in the trash or the sink, and throw it in the dishwasher. Yep! That easy.
Just one caveat: If you cut on it as I do, use a light hand so you don’t cut a hole in the mat. I know, I know. The manufacturer of these mats would not endorse this practice. Nevertheless, I’ve been doing it for many years, and the process has not harmed a single mat.
Q and A about making Cinnamon Rolls
Question: Why use a bread machine?
Answer: The bread machine is still my tool of choice for mixing up bread dough. In my experience, it’s the easiest and most fool-proof way to get the best product.
No bread machine? See alternate instructions for making these rolls with a stand mixer in the notes of the recipe below.
Question: Can I substitute regular yeast for the bread machine or instant yeast?
Answer: Yes. It no longer needs to be dissolved. Use the same amount listed. Be aware that sometimes it can be a little slower in rising. Be patient. It’ll get there.
Question: Can I mix these up the night before and bake the next morning?
Answer: Yes. After you make the dough into rolls and have arranged them in the pan, cover and refrigerate. You can also freeze them at this point. Either way, you must allow extra time for the rolls to come to room temperature and rise to almost double before baking them.
Question: Cinnamon rolls don’t hang around long at my house. Are they worth the trouble?
Answer: I think so. To me, these cinnamon rolls have a better texture and flavor than most.
However, we all have different tastes, standards, and priorities. If you want something really easy, try my original cinnamon roll recipe.
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