The BEST Small Batch Cinnamon Apple Roll, 100% better than store-bought. It’s soft, fluffy and with a nice cinnamon and apple flavor topped with creamy Cream Cheese Frosting, heaven in every bite.
I used to have a love hate relationship with Cinnamon Rolls, ok maybe more of hate than love. I don’t hate the taste of it, just to be clear. My problem was I cannot seem to get it right. I made it 3 times, and one time out of desperation I even used a ready to bake cinnamon dough and still it did not turnout right. Actually, it’s more of a disaster than not just turning right. It was tough and gummy, totally something I wouldn’t be offering anyone. Those experiences made me decide that I have to stay away from Cinnamon Rolls, forever! Well, that’s just me being frustrated. I gave it a try again, but I made a Strawberry and Orange Sweet Rolls instead, and guess what? They both turned out fantastic, wait till I share it. You will be drooling just looking how beautiful and delicious they are.
Those two encouraged me to try and do Cinnamon Rolls again, and so I did. As soon as I came back from my long weekend vacation, the first thing I did was to get the ingredients ready. Being away from my kitchen even for 2 just days made me missed baking so much. Baking is one activity that I truly miss whenever I am away.
So, I gather up the ingredients and started making this Cinnamon Apple Sweet Roll, just perfect for Fall. I’m always excited when I do any baking activity, but for some reason, I was very excited with this Cinnamon Apple Roll, I have the feeling that day was the day that I was going to get it right, or I should say perfect. And, I was absolutely correct. This recipe turned out even better than expected. Let me tell you why.
- Texture – the bread texture is super soft and fluff, but not too airy.
- Taste – the bread itself have a nice sweetness in it, that I made sure by adding 2 tbsp more of sugar to make it a sweet bread.
- The Dough – So soft and very manageable. It’s so easy to roll and cut. Is slightly sticky but soft, it’s just so beautiful to work on.
- Small Batch – it’s a small batch recipe, and for me that’s a plus especially for me who leaves alone. It small batch of 4, but it’s till good for sharing between 2-4 people.
- Ease to Make – the dough only needs 1 hour and 10 minutes total rest period. First 30 minutes and second 40 minutes, and that’s short for a yeast bread. Plus 30 minutes baking time.
I am at lost for worst when I started pulling it apart to taste it. Can I use “ultra soft” to describe a bread texture? Because it’s really so soft, I’m so in love with Cinnamon Apple Roll. The apple filling was so good with the bread and the cream cheese frosting, it’s so creamy. I would say the BEST Cinnamon Roll ever. Make, it to believe because these gorgeous roll is more than just beauty, super delicious too.
Important Reminder for The Filling
I used my Homemade Cinnamon Apple Filling for this bread. The most important thing to remember about the filling is that it should be completely cold and excess syrup removed. It is advisable to make the filling ahead of time even up to 1 week ahead or at least 1 day before. Store it in the refrigerator to allow the sauce to thicken. Using a warm or just cooled apple filing will make the rolling a challenge and will make the dough wet and sticky. Remove all the syrup (if any) and use only the pieces of diced apples.
The Cream Cheese Frosting
I used cream cheese frosting for this one. Do not add any liquid (water or milk), the consistency will loosen as soon as you stir in the confectioners sugar. You can increase or decrease the sugar depending on how sweet you like it. When spreading it, make sure the bread has cooled down so as not to melt the frosting.
Tips for a Successful Soft Homemade Bread
- Check Yeast Expiry a Date – you might be wondering how come the bread did not rise when you followed exactly the recipe. Well, first thing first, make sure the yeast is not yet expired.
- Liquid Temperature – Yeast grows in temperature between 110 – 115F, so it is important to have the water that you are using to “proof” it in this range. If you go lower or higher, the yeast might not proof properly. That means the bread will not rise as much, resulting to a flat and tough bread. If you do not have kitchen thermometer, microwave the water (from the faucet) about 15 – 20 seconds. Feel it with your fingers, it sound be lukewarm not hot.
- Amount of Yeast – Just because you want a tall fully bread doesn’t mean you have to put as much yeast in the mixture. Sometimes if you add too much, it will have a tendency to collapse. Just imagine putting more air than what is needed in a balloon, the balloon will explode. The same case with bread.
- Right Type of Yeast – We’ve discussed the 3 types of yeast above. Make sure to use the right one for your recipe, and make necessary adjustments if you want to swap one from another.
- Flour Measurement is not exact all the time, but with only minimal difference. Sometimes it could be plus 2 – 4 tbsp more, this is why I always set aside about 1/4 cup in case I need to add more. If you measure the liquid properly, and still the dough turn out dry, then it could be that the flour moisture is either dryer than usual. Dry flour requires more liquid, and lighter flour requires less liquid. This could depend on the brand of the flour and the age of the flour, and of course flour could vary from country to country. The nearer the flour gets to expiry date, the more that it gets dryer. If you are like me who doesn’t monitor the expiry date, then you just have to feel the dough if it needs additional flour. You want it to be still soft and moist but not too sticky. Moist but enough to form the dough into a ball. My test is a bowl with clean side, while the dough still slightly stick at the bottom. This gives a soft dough.
- Rest Period – Yeast bread needs time to rise. There are bread that uses less yeast but requires more rest time, the likes of No Knead Bread or Artisan Bread which usually require 8- 16 hours rest period to get the volume and to develop the flavor. There are 1 hour bread like my Rosemary Dinner Rolls which used this same bread dough. Resting the dough is imperative to allow the gluten to relax and to allow the dough to rise. A well rested dough will rise better, will created pockets or air, and will make a light and soft bread. Remember, 2 rest period. First at least 1 hour and another 1 hour for the second rest period. It’s worth the wait, promise.
Why is My Dough Too Wet or Too Dry?
Don’t get frustrated if your dough did not turn out immediately as what you see in the photo or video. Most likely It is not because you did not follow the recipe. When it comes to bread making, the amount of flour and liquid is not always 100% precise. This is way often times you will encounter recipes that says, if your dough is dry, add a bit more liquid. If your dough is too wet, add a little bit more flour. This instructions are not meant to confuse you, they are meant to guide you on how to adjust as you work through your dough. The reason for this is that although the measurement of water and flour are specified in the recipe, it still could slightly vary depending on many factors. For instance, all-purpose flour could very from country to country, or even from brand to brand. Don’t be surprise if you find that some brand tends to require a bit more liquid as the others. On top of this, the amount of liquid is also affected by the state of your flour. How old is the flour that you are using? Older flour nearing expiry tends to be drier and this requires more liquid. Bread making requires patience, and practice. Once you learn how to feel the right texture of the dough, everything will be quick and easy. You can instantly tell if you need to add more water or flour to get the dough in right state.
4 Methods To Make This Dough
There are 4 ways that you can choose from in how you make this bread. Choose whichever works for you.
- Stand Mixer – This is what I always use when I make this dough. It’s the fastest and easiest method and less manual handling. This is the step outlined below in the instruction.
- Hand Mixer – Use dough attachment as regular hook attachment will not work. The thick and heavy dough will jam a regular hook attachment. Also, it’s going to be too heavy for the hook attachment to mix the dough.
- Manually – If you don’t have any electronic baking equipment for making the dough, you can do it manually. Simply follow the same instructions, do the mixing in a large bowl and transfer in counter top and knead manually. It will take a lot of arm exercise, but I’m telling you, it’s worth it.
That’s about it. Let me show house how I made the BEST Cinnamon Apple Sweet Roll. Let’s get started!
- 1/4 cup milk any percentage (warm 110F)
- 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp granulated sugar (Divided: 1/2 tsp for yeast, and 3 tbsp for the dry ingredients mixture)
- 1 tbsp flavorless oil (I used Canola)
- 1 large egg – room temperature
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Cinnamon Apple Filling (completely cooled and extra syrup drained)
- 2 tbsp softened cream cheese
- 6 tbsp confectioners sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Note: There will be more than enough frosting, you can cut it into half measurement if you do not like to use much.
- Make the Filling: Check my Homemade Cinnamon Apple Filling recipe for details. Set aside and let cool completely. It is best to do this ahead of time, at least 1 day ahead and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Activate Yeast: Microwave milk for 20- 25 seconds until lukewarm but NOT hot. Feel the milk to make sure it is not too hot as hot milk will kill the yeast and the bread will not rise properly. Transfer milk in bowl of stand mixer (Refer to discussion above for other Methods of making this) and add 1/2 tsp of the granulated sugar and stir. Add the yeast and let rest for 10 minutes until mixture is foamy. If the mixture did not become foamy, either the yeast is old or the milk is too hot or cold. Redo it again as this is a very important step.
- Add Wet Ingredients: Set mixer with paddle attachment and mix in remaining sugar (3 tbsp), beaten egg, and oil on low-speed, just to mix every thing together.
- Add Dry Ingredients: Add salt and flour and mix on low-speed until combined, then switch to a dough hook attachment. Allow mixture to knead on medium-low speed until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed, about 8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until the dough starts to form, dough should be slightly sticky, soft but not too dry. If too much flour is added, the roll will be dense and heavy. A good measure of correct texture is a clean mixing bowl.
- First Rest Period: Remove the dough and form into a ball. Transfer into a greased bowl (I used oil spray) and cover bowl with plastic wrap or warm towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes in a warm place.
- TIP: To help the dough rise faster, leave the covered dough OUTSIDE the pre-heated 350F oven. The top of the oven hot surface will give the dough the heat it needed to rise properly. Alternatively, you can also pre-heat the oven to 110F then turn it off and put the covered dough inside.
- Shape and Fill: Generously sprinkle flour on the counter where you are going to work on your dough. Sprinkle some flour on your hands too for easy handling of dough. Take the dough out from the bowl and lightly push the dough down with the heel of the palm of your hands. Knead and flatten the dough into 8-inch x 19-inch size (it doesn’t have to be exact). The goal is to have an 8-inch log when you roll it, the longer you can make it the more layer you will have. Spread the CCinnamon Apple Filling on top of the dough and make sure to remove excess liquid, you only need the apple chunks, the less liquid the better as liquid will make the bread soggy.
- Roll and Cut: Roll starting from the short side (8-inch side) then shape into log about 8-inch long. Use your palm to press the ends of the dough towards the center until you get the 8-inch log size. Cut into 4 (2-inch each piece).
- Arrange in Baking Pan: Line a 5×5-inch square pan with parchment paper. Leave an overhang on the side to allow easy removal later. Arrange each piece in the pan leaving allowances on all sides. Alternatively, you can also bake this in cookie sheet, arrange the dough close together or far from each other if you want an individual roll.
- 2nd Rest Period: Cover and let rest in a warm place for 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F during last 10 minutes of dough rising. After 40 minutes, the dough will be puff-up like this (assuming the yeast was proofed properly in Step 2). You see how the gaps in between disappear? That’s because of the dough rising making the bread puff-up.
- Bake at 350F for 30 minutes until top turns brown. Take out of the oven and let cool before spreading frosting on top.
- Make the Frosting: In a small bowl, mix softened cream cheese, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract or cinnamon. Keep mixing until smooth and no more lumps. There will be more than enough frosting, you can cut it into half measurement if you do not like to use much.
- Serve: Spread frosting on top of slightly cooled bread.
Other Fall Favorites:
- Cinnamon Glazed Apple Turnover (VIDEO)
- Baked Apple with Walnuts
- Mini Caramel Apple Tarts
- Homemade Apple Filling (VIDEO)
- Caramel Apple Crumb Bars
- 12 Fall Soup To Keep You Warm
- Apple Streusel Muffin (VIDEO)
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