Trial & Error – Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

by Coco | February 9, 2009 10:07 am

While good in theory my attempt at whole wheat cinnamon rolls just didn’t “pan out” as expected.  After my dismal attempt to make a healthier treat for my husband I have researched substituting whole wheat flour for the white all purpose flour in the original recipe.  So the fact that I learned lots of new information makes the exercise very useful and I feel less unhappy about ditching two dozen of these not-so-tasty morsels.

Unfortunately, they look a whole lot better than they tasted! The whole wheat flour made them VERY dense and heavy. They also didn’t rise very much while proofing. So here are the tips I learned about substituting whole wheat flour into a recipe.

  1. Use half white all purpose and half whole wheat.
  2. Sift the whole wheat flour at least once but twice if you have time as this will incorporate a lot more air into the recipe.  Also spoon the flour into the measuring cup instead of scooping.
  3. You may need to add a little more water to the recipe with whole wheat especially freshly ground since it can have quite different absorptive properties.
  4. One site suggested using 7/8 of a cup of whole wheat for every 1 cup  of white all purpose.

Ok, well those are some very good pointers and I will be making them again today using white all purpose.  One of the guys my hubby works with says my cinnamon rolls are the best he’s ever eaten… Bet he doesn’t feel that way when he tries one of the four whole wheat ones hubby took in today!  (He was being supportive of my baking and fearful that I might get discouraged and he risks living in a treat free house!!)

Here’s the recipe using the white all purpose, but you should be able to substitute safely now that we know a little more about using whole wheat… besides some things are just not meant to be healthy… Cinnamon rolls are a treat to be eaten in moderation, not an essential part of our daily diet.

Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 12 Large Rolls

1 pint Water, warm
2.5 pounds All-purpose flour
6 ounces Granulated sugar
1/2 ounce Active dry yeast
3/4 ounces Dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
5 ounces Whole butter, softened

3 ounces Whole butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground (I used way more cinnamon than this)
3 ounces Brown sugar
2 ounces Raisins (ewwww… I leave these out)

11 fluid ounces Powdered Sugar Glaze


1.    Combine all the dough ingredients in a large mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Knead the dough until it is smooth, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

2.    Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and ferment until doubled.

3.    Punch down the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Shape into a rectangle, approximately 18 inches × 30 inches (45 centimeters × 75 centimeters).

4.    To make the filling, spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough. Combine the cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins and sprinkle this mixture over the butter, covering the dough evenly.

5.    Starting with the longer side, roll the dough into a spiral. Cut into 12-pieces, each approximately 1-1/2 inches (3.7 centimeters) thick. Place the rolls close together, cut side up, on a paper-lined sheet pan and allow them to rise until doubled.

6.    Bake at 300°F (150°C) oven until golden brown and done, approximately 30 minutes.

7.    Cool slightly, then top with Powdered Sugar Glaze.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 pound Powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Lemon juice
1 fluid ounce Water, warm

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir to blend thoroughly and dissolve any lumps. Cover and store at room temperature.

(Source: On Baking – Labensky)

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