Rich, supple and exploding with flavor, brioche cinnamon rolls are a wonderfully decadent version of the beloved baked good that will keep everyone coming back for more. Soft, fluffy brioche comes together with buttery cinnamon sugar and a perfectly sweetened cream cheese frosting to create a cinnamon roll like no other. They’re a labor of love that require some advance planning, but the result is totally worth it!
Brioche cinnamon rolls are definitely a time commitment but are great for when you want to treat yourself and your friends. They’re perfect for special occasion brunches, slow holiday mornings with family, or any event that calls for an impressive sweet centerpiece. With a bit of technique and a little bit of patience, these cinnamon rolls are destined to become a staple in your elevated baked goods rotation.
You’ll want to start the dough the night before you plan on making cinnamon rolls, as one of the most crucial elements of this recipe is letting the dough go for an overnight rest in the fridge.
The long, cold proof gives the gluten plenty of time to relax so the dough is easier to handle. It also allows the dough to develop that delicious buttery and eggy flavor that makes brioche so iconic.
The other secret to making an outstanding brioche dough is using room-temperature butter and eggs, which blend more seamlessly into the dough.
To ensure the most supple brioche, you’ll add in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated before mixing in the next one. Similarly, the butter is added one tablespoon at a time. It’s very important not to rush this process so the dough stays soft.
What You Need to Make Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
The majority of the ingredients you’ll need for these cinnamon rolls are pantry staples, while the specialty items are bread flour, active dry yeast and cream cheese (for the frosting).
If you don’t have bread flour, all-purpose flour can be used in its place. If you’re using AP flour, reduce the amount to 3 ½ cups, and add flour 1 tablespoon at a time as needed if the dough is too wet.
If you’d prefer a buttercream frosting, feel free to substitute softened butter for the cream cheese.
- Bread Flour
- Whole Milk
- Active Dry Yeast
- Kosher Salt
- Granulated Sugar
- Butter-Room Temperature
- Eggs- Room Temperature
- Brown Sugar
- Ground Cinnamon
- Plain Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
This recipe comes together using a hand mixer fitted with the dough attachments, but if you have a stand-mixer feel free to use that instead.
It’s also recommended to use unscented dental floss to cut out the cinnamon rolls instead of a knife, as the floss cuts right through the dough without squishing the layers.
How To Make Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
Lightly grease a medium to large-sized mixing bowl with butter and set aside.
Heat milk to 100-105F, then stir in yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir to dissolve. Let the yeast activate for 10 minutes, or until the milk starts to froth and bubble.
While the yeast is proofing, start preparing the dough. In a large mixing bowl, mix together bread flour, the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Pour in the prepared milk and yeast mixture.
Using a hand-mixer fitted with the dough attachments, mix together the flour and milk on low speed until the milk is absorbed and a shaggy dough starts to form. The dough will look dry at this point, but the addition of eggs and flour will hydrate it.
Keep the mixer setting on low. Mixing constantly with the hand-mixer, add the eggs to the dough one at a time, waiting until each egg is fully incorporated before adding in the next egg.
Once the eggs are fully incorporated, increase the mixer setting to medium-low and add in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Make sure each tablespoon of butter is fully incorporated before adding in the next until all of the butter is added to the dough.
If at this point, the dough still looks dry, add in water 1 tablespoon at a time until hydrated.
Increase the mixing speed to medium. Knead the dough constantly at medium speed for 7-12 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, supple and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a clean, un-floured work surface and form into a tight ball.
Transfer the dough to the prepared mixing bowl. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and place the bowl in the fridge. Proof overnight. Set butter on the counter so it’s soft in the morning.
The next morning, combine brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
Remove the dough from the fridge and punch it down (it should be doubled in size). Flour a work surface and turn out the dough, then sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour. Roll the dough out into a ½-inch thick rectangle.
Spread the softened butter over the rectangle, covering the entire surface area but stopping just short of the edge. Generously coat the butter in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, using your hands to gently press the mixture into the butter so it adheres. You won’t use all of the cinnamon sugar, but use as much as you can before it starts to layer onto itself.
Carefully roll up the long edge of the rectangle, creating a moderately tight cylinder.
When you reach the opposite end of the dough, press lightly to seal the edges. If the ends of the dough are tapered, cut them off to even out the log.
Slide a long piece of unscented dental floss underneath the dough until you reach the middle of the log. Grip the floss on either side of the dough, then cross the floss ends and pull down to the counter. The floss should cut right through the dough.
Use the floss to cut out 9 rounds that are 1 ½ -2 inches thick.
Transfer each round to an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.
Cover the baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap or cover with an inverted pan, and place in a cold oven with the light on. Proof until the cinnamon rolls have doubled in size, about 1 hour.
When the cinnamon rolls are done proofing, remove the pan from the oven.
Heat the oven to 350F. While the oven is heating, make the frosting. In a small mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese, milk and powdered sugar until smooth and homogeneous. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Bake the cinnamon rolls, uncovered for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, separate and plate the cinnamon rolls. Drizzle each roll with the desired amount of frosting. Serve warm and enjoy!
What makes brioche different from regular bread?
Brioche is a bread that is enriched with butter, eggs, sugar and milk. This makes for bread that is richer, softer and sweeter than regular bread.
What is the difference between a cinnamon roll and a cinnamon bun?
Cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns are both yeasted baked goods, with a butter, cinnamon and sugar filling. However, cinnamon buns are traditionally served with nuts, while cinnamon rolls are not.
Does brioche dough have to proof overnight in the fridge?
No. While allowing brioche dough to rest overnight and cold proof helps develop flavor and rest the gluten, it’s not a requirement. If you’d rather not proof your brioche overnight, make the dough according to the steps, then let it proof on the counter for 2 hours. Follow the rest of the steps as written, including the second proof.
Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough
- 4 cups bread flour
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- ¾ cup butter room temperature
- 2 eggs room temperature
For the filling
- 5 tbsp butter room temperature
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
For the icing
- ½ cup plain cream cheese
- 3 tbsp milk*
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- Lightly grease a medium to large mixing bowl with butter and set aside.
- Heat the milk to 100-105F and mix in the yeast; add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and stir to dissolve then let the yeast activate for 10 minutes or until bubbly and frothy.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, salt and remaining sugar.
- Pour in the milk and yeast mixture, then using a hand-mixer (or stand-mixer) fitted with the dough attachment, mix on low speed until the milk is absorbed and a shaggy dough starts to form.
- Keep the mixer on low speed and add the eggs to the dough one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding in the next.
- Once the eggs are fully incorporated, increase the mixing speed to medium-low and add in the butter one tablespoon at a time, making sure each tablespoon is fully incorporated before adding in the next.
- Once all of the butter is incorporated, increase the mixing speed to medium, and knead the dough for 7-12 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, supple and pulling away from the edges of the bowl (if the dough is too dry add 1 tablespoon of water at a time as needed).
- Turn the dough out onto a clean, un-floured work surface and shape into a tight ball, then transfer to the prepared mixing bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Transfer the dough to the fridge and let proof overnight.
- Set the butter on the kitchen counter so it’s soft in the morning.
- The next morning, combine the cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Remove the dough from the fridge (it should be doubled in size), and punch down the dough, then turn it out onto a floured work surface.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour, then roll out the dough into a ½ inch thick rectangle.
- Spread the butter across the entire surface area of the dough, stopping just short of the edges.
- Generously sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the butter and gently press the mixture into the butter so it adheres-take care not to add too much filling.
- Carefully roll up the long edge of the rectangle creating a moderately tight cylinder, and seal the edges when they meet; cut off the tapered ends so the dough log is even.
- Slide a piece of unscented dental floss underneath the log until you reach the center, then grip the floss on either side of the dough.
- Cross the floss ends, then pull down to the counter creating a clean cut, then using the same motion cut out 9 rounds that are 1½ - 2 inches thick.
- Transfer the rounds to an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish, and cover with plastic wrap or an inverted sheet pan.
- Transfer the cinnamon roll dish to a cold oven with the light turned on and let proof for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- While the cinnamon rolls are proofing, make the frosting.
- In a small bowl combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk and whisk until smooth- store in the fridge until ready to use.
- When the dough is proofed, remove the cinnamon rolls from the cold oven, then heat the oven to 350F.
- Bake cinnamon rolls, uncovered, in the 350F oven for 15 minutes, then rotate 180 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Use a serrated knife to separate the cinnamon rolls, then plate and top with the desired amount of frosting.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
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