Baked a batch of cinnamon rolls and they came out too dense? What went wrong? Find out what you can do to make sure next time they are both light and fluffy instead. Read through all of our tips for cinnamon rolls success, including a tip on how to keep yeast from going bad.
You have gone through the trouble to make your very own homemade cinnamon rolls, only to end up with rolls that are dense. Your dreams of light and fluffy cinnamon rolls are smashed.
Even worse it's Christmas day! No!
If there is your experience, we are here to help. Let us show you how to make sure your cinnamon rolls are never too dense again.
❔ Why are They Dense?
The reason your cinnamon rolls are too dense is because they did not rise enough. This could be for two reasons
- Your yeast didn't work
- You added too much or not enough flour
You may end up with too much flour from rolling the dough out. You want to make sure to use as little flour as you can when rolling out the cinnamon rolls.
A more likely culprit of too much or too little flour comes right at the beginning. If you are using a recipe that uses cups to measure the flour, I would suggest using a recipe that does it by weight. You would be surprised how 1 cup of flour varies depending on how you scoop it and the brand of flour.
Excessive flour makes it so your yeast won't give the dough enough lift. Or if the dough is too sticky thus not enough flour, it will rise in the oven and then fall as it doesn't have the structure needed to hold air.
However it could also be the yeast itself. How fresh is it? You can test a little bit of yeast in a cup of warm, not hot water. It should start to bubble up and smell like yeast after 5-10 minutes . If it doesn't, then your yeast is bad.
With a breakfast as important as Christmas breakfast you might want to stick with using fresh yeast you just opened. Once you open a package of yeast it's best to keep in cold. You can put in the fridge or freezer, especially if it's a large package like this one.
❕ How to Make Light & Fluffy Rolls
If you have followed the tips above you will avoid dense cinnamon rolls. But if you want the most light and fluffy rolls you ever put in your mouth, you need to follow these instructions. I wish I had come up with this technique myself but I have to give credit to Sarah Kieffer from the Vanilla Bean Blog. She went viral in 2019 with her pan banging cookies and when I saw she had a recipe with a different technique for cinnamon rolls I had to try it myself.
Her technique for cinnamon rolls involves a "pull & fold" technique during a 2 hour rise time. You pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. This is repeated 6-8 times, until all the dough has been folding back over itself. This process is repeated every 30 minutes for a total of 4 "pull & folds".
What this does is help create linear pockets of air to help lift the dough. This is similar to what is done in sourdough bread recipes.
I can tell you it makes all the difference in the world and is worth all the work. After making the dough Christmas Eve and getting the rolls all cut out, we put the pan in the of fridge overnight. Then when morning came it was no work at all to put them in the oven. They were so fluffy it was hard to believe.
RELATED - Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast Ideas
Feel free to adapt your cinnamon roll recipes to use this method. Wherever in your recipe you get to the rising stage, follow the "pull & fold" technique as we said above for 2 hours. I can't say enough that you say it was worth it too!
🙋 More Questions Answered
How are more answers to your most frequently asked cinnamon roll questions:
- How to Roll Out Cinnamon Rolls in a Small Space
- What to Make When You Don't Have Time for Cinnamon Rolls
🧇 Make These for Breakfast
Here is some more breakfast inspiration from the blog.