3/8 cup milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)
3/8 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional)*
3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
* The Vital Wheat Gluten helps the sweet bread dough rise better, be more elastic, and easier to roll out.
Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan; set aside.
After dough has risen, using your rolling pin, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15 x 24-inch rectangle.
1 tablespoon butter, melted or softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons firmly-packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, optional
Brush the softened butter over the top of the dough with a rubber spatula or a pastry. Sprinkle Cinnamon Filling over the butter on the prepared dough. Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal. Rolling the log too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake.
With a knife, lightly mark roll into 1 1/2-inch section. Slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss or heavy thread underneath. By bringing the ends of the floss up and criss-crossing them at the top of each mark, you can cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions. Place cut side up in prepared pan, flattening them slightly.
NOTE: At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight (I've actually made them two days in advance) or frozen for 1 month. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place if frozen. I have found that I have to take the unbaked frozen cinnamon rolls out of the freezer 10 to 12 hours before planning to bake. I just put the frozen cinnamon rolls (container and rolls) on my counter (not in the refrigerator) overnight for 10 to 12 hours.
If refrigerated, they can be either baked upon removing from the refrigerator or let come to a room temperature (I've done both ways). They do a slow rise overnight and it is not necessary to let them come to room temperature before baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The temperature should be between 190 and 200 degrees.
This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. Originally designed for professional users, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Spread frosting over the cinnamon rolls while still warm. Serve warm.
2 cups powdered (confectioners') sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons hot water
In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Add hot water gradually, stirring just enough to give it a thick spreading consistency.
Yields 12 cinnamon rolls.