Sourdough Cinnamon Cheesecake Rolls

  • 2 cups sourdough culture, just post-proofing
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm (not hot!) water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • several cups all purpose flour
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, thoroughly softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar (preferably not white – we prefer a mix of brown and maple, but just brown will do)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Mix the following in a large bowl: culture, salt, 3T sugar, water, and oil. Add the cake flour, then add the all purpose flour 1 cup at a time, stirring until it is too stiff to mix by hand. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead in flour until the dough is smooth and elastic but still just a little sticky (oil your hands if necessary).

Flatten or roll the dough into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Spread the cream cheese over this, leaving a 1 inch margin on all sides.

Mix 3/4 cup sugar (we like to mix sugar types, such as demerara, maple, brown) and the cinnamon in a bowl. Reserve 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the mixture, and sprinkle the rest out over the cream cheese.

Roll up from a long side. Slice pieces off at 1 inch intervals with a sharp knife.

Spray a 10 inch cake pan with cooking spray, or butter it. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cinnamon-sugar mixture into the pan and tap the pan to spread it around a bit. Put the cinnamon rolls into the pan, allowing the sides to almost touch. (You don’t want to squish them together, but you don’t want to give them much lateral room in which to expand either.) Lightly spray the tops of the rolls with cooking spray, and sprinkle the last 2 tablespoons of cinnamon-sugar overtop.

Proof, covered, at 85 degrees for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Any warm kitchen will do. If it’s winter and your kitchen is cold, try putting the pan on top of a warm appliance. We put ours on top of our stove, which, being gas, has a pilot light underneath the top. (We also usually put a plate underneath to keep the dough from getting too hot, which will kill the culture.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the cake pan on a cookie sheet lined with foil, just in case any cinnamon-sugar stuff drips over the sides.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the rolls are just getting a little golden-brown around the edges. You may cook them a little more if you want, but I like my cinnamon rolls the way my grandmother always made them – a little soft and sticky. Place a large plate or platter over top of the pan and turn them both over, shaking until the rolls come out of the pan. You may wish to gently use a table-knife to loosen the edges of the rolls before you try to turn them out onto the plate.

Sourdough cinnamon rolls variation

Omit the cream cheese. Lightly spray the dough with oil spray instead. If you don’t care about fat and calories, spread with soft butter instead.

Sourdough spice rolls variation

Add 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom to the cinnamon-sugar mixture before sprinkling it on the cream cheese or lightly oiled (or buttered) dough.

Hazelnut sourdough rolls variation

Add 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract or oil to the cinnamon-sugar or spice-sugar mixture before sprinkling it on the cream cheese or lightly oiled (or buttered) dough.

A word on sourdough

If you’re interested in starting out with sourdoughs, there are two things you’ll need: a starter and something to put it in from King Arthur Flour, (just go to their Baker’s Catalog) and the book “World Sourdoughs from Antiquity” by Ed Wood. Really, there’s very little else you need (except a love of great bread), as the book has very thorough directions, and the KAF starter is the most kick-ass starter you’ll ever find. Oh, umm, a word of warning. If you make one of the bread machine loaves in the back of the cookbook using the KAF starter, even if your bread machine is rated for a two-pound loaf, only make the small loaf. The starter is so amazing that the large loaf might expand and smush itself to the lid of the bread machine, so that the top part of the loaf doesn’t cook all the way through. Oops!

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