These sourdough gingerbread rolls are out of this world delicious!
Seriously, they are like a really good sourdough cinnamon roll - only way better!
Combining everything you love about gingerbread - think ginger, cinnamon, molasses, nutmeg and cloves ... with the unmistakable tang of sourdough.
It's a match made in heaven!
And these rolls are just that! A little taste of heaven.
You could make them anytime, but they are absolutely perfect for Christmas.
The festive spices make them an absolute must make for you next Christmas get together.
Just like these fluffy cinnamon sourdough rolls, these sourdough gingerbread rolls would make the most lovely baked gift for your friends and neighbours, as would these sourdough gingerbread cookies or sourdough gingerbread muffins.
You'll loads of Christmas sourdough gifts to bake here if you're looking for more festive inspiration!
How To Make Sourdough Gingerbread Rolls
While this recipe does seem quite long, it really is quite easy.
You're basically making a dough, letting it rise, filling it with a spicy brown sugar butter and baking it. Then topping with the most delicious vanilla cream cheese frosting and a simple molasses glaze.
The hands on time is well worth the effort for these sourdough gingerbread rolls.
Here's how to make Sourdough Gingerbread Rolls:
- Add warm milk, sugar and molasses to the stand mixer bowl. Beat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Now add flour, sourdough starter, vanilla and egg to the bowl and knead to a rough dough. Allow this dough to rest for around 30 minutes.
- Knead in the butter and spices using your stand mixer.
- Now allow the dough to bulk ferment.
- When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle and spread with the spicy brown sugar butter filling.
- Roll into a log and cut into 12 rolls.
- Arrange the rolls in a cast iron skillet or baking tray and allow them get all nice and puffy. Line the skillet with baking paper to make it easier to lift the rolls out in one piece once baked.
- Egg wash and bake until golden and bubbling!
- Allow the rolls to cool before smothering them in cream cheese frosting and drizzling with molasses glaze!
Adding Spices to Sourdough
Cinnamon can hamper the fermentation of sourdough, so adding it to sourdough in large quantities can be problematic.
For this dough, I have kept the cinnamon and other spices in the dough to a minimum to give the sourdough starter a chance to work it's magic.
Being an enriched dough with added spices, it will take a little longer than a leaner dough to bulk ferment.
If you want to increase the amount of spice in the dough, I would suggest adding a little commercial yeast (3-4g) along with your sourdough starter to ensure that it rises.
You could also use yeast if you want to utilise your sourdough discard (add 100g of sourdough discard along with 7g of yeast).
Majority of these lovely festive spices are added to the filling. I find these spices are really well balanced but if you really love ginger and want them even more "gingerbready" feel free to increase the amount of ginger added.
I even crush up some gingerbread and sprinkle on the top of the frosting sometimes for a little crunch - this is my husband's favorite way to eat these gingerbread rolls!
Another lovely way to add even more wow factor to these rolls is to sprinkle some dark chocolate chips over the filling before you roll them up.
Tips & Tricks for The Best Sourdough Gingerbread Rolls
- Make sure that you're using a strong, happy sourdough starter. This will ensure that your dough rises and all the little yeastie beasties give you the softest risen dough.
- You don't have to use a stand mixer to make these, but I believe it makes it much easier to get the best dough. If kneading by hand, you'll need to really work that butter in to ensure the dough is silky and elastic - it should not be sticky at all.
- Warming the milk, sugar and molasses before you start will give your dough a nice kick start and ensure that the dough rises nicely. You want it room temp rather than fridge temp. I always heat to 37C.
- Make sure all other ingredients are room temperature before adding them. This will give your dough a nice consistency.
- Make sure you give yourself enough dough to roll up into a log. You want to roll the dough as tightly as you can to ensure that you get as many swirly gingerbread ribbons through the dough as you can.
- Use dental floss to cut the rolls. Seriously! It works! Use a ruler/dough scraper to measure where you want to cut each of the rolls and then pop the dental floss under the log and use it to cut through each roll for perfect cuts every single time! It will stop you squashing the delicate rolls by trying to cut them with a knife.
Don't try to use string - it won't work. The dental floss is coated making it able to easily cut through the dough with minimal resistance.
- Ensure that the dough is puffy and full before baking - if it isn't, you'll get under proofed, gummy rolls. Remember that the cinnamon will make the dough rise a bit slower so you'll need to be really patient for these ones!
Baking Timeline for Sourdough Gingerbread Rolls
You can tweak the baking timeline for these sourdough gingerbread rolls to suit you.
Like making sourdough bread, the process is quite flexible, as long as you allow the dough to bulk ferment at room temperature.
These rolls can be proofed at room temp (second rise) and then baked straight away without going in the fridge.
The fridge is just handy if you want to "pause" them and bake them at a later time.
With the timeline below, you could let them proof and bake them once they are puffy, eliminating the need for the fridge.
|7.00am||Mix and knead dough for sourdough gingerbread rolls.|
|8.00am||Cover dough and allow to bulk ferment.|
|7.30pm||Roll out dough, spread filling and roll. Cut into individual rolls and place into cast iron skillet.|
|8.30pm||Allow rolls to sit for around an hour before covering in plastic wrap and placing into fridge for the night.|
|8.00am||Take rolls out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature.|
|10.00am||Bake sourdough gingerbread rolls for 20 mins (make frosting & glaze while they're baking).|
|10.20am||Allow rolls to cool for around 30 minutes.|
|11.00am||Smother in vanilla frosting & maple glaze and enjoy!|
If you love this recipe for sourdough gingerbread rolls, you will enjoy these ideas:
- Sourdough Christmas Tree Garlic and Cheese Pull Apart Loaf
- Fluffy Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
- Sourdough Cinnamon Muffins or Sourdough Gingerbread Muffins
Sourdough Gingerbread Rolls
- Stand Mixer
- Rolling Pin
- Cast Iron Pan
- 500 g Bread Flour
- 100 g Sourdough Starter Fed and bubbly
- 200 g Milk Warm (37C)
- 10 g Salt
- 1 Egg (approx. 45g)
- 40 g Sugar Brown or caster/fine
- 40 g Molasses
- 50 g Butter Room Temp
- 5 g Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Powdered Ginger
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Ground Cloves
- ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
- Egg Wash 1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon of water
Cinnamon Butter Filling
- 100 g Butter Cold
- 100 g Dark Brown Sugar
- 50 g Molasses
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Ground Ginger
- ¼ tsp Ground Cloves
- ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
- 125 g Cream Cheese Block - not spreadable
- 25 g Butter Cold
- 100 g Powdered Sugar
- 5 g Vanilla Extract
- 1 pinch Salt
- 50 g Powdered Sugar
- 20 g Molasses
- 10 g Water Warm
To make the dough
- Warm the milk to around 37C. Add the warm milk, sugar and molasses to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix until the sugar has thoroughly dissolved.You can just warm the milk in the microwave before putting into your stand mixer bowl. You just don't want cold milk in your dough as it will take forever to rise!
- Now add your sourdough starter, egg, vanilla, salt and flour and use your stand mixer to knead into a rough dough. This shouldn't take too long (around 2 to 3 minutes). Leave the dough to rest in the stand mixer bowl for around 30 minutes.
- Add the butter and spices and knead into the dough until the dough is smooth and fairly elastic.
- Transfer to the dough to a bowl and allow to ferment. You want the dough to rise a little (around 30%) and feel soft to the touch. This needs to happen at room temp - not in the fridge.Cinnamon is known to slow fermentation down, so just give your dough a chance. Keeping it nice and warm definitely helps.
- Once the dough has finished bulk ferment, you will need to fill and shape the gingerbread rolls.
Rolling and Filling the Dough
- Before you roll out the dough you need to make the filling. Add brown sugar, molasses, spices and butter to a stand mixer and mix until it is thick and creamy. Set aside while you roll your dough.
- Turn the dough out on to the counter. It shouldn't be sticky and be easy the handle. Do not use flour when rolling out the dough.
- Gently roll the dough out into a rectangle. 60cm x 30cm is a good size to aim for. It doesn't have to be perfect, but the bigger you can get it, the more perfect cinnamon sugar swirls you will get.
- Spread the filling all over the dough, leaving a 10cm gap on one of the long edges. You need to leave a gap so that dough will stick to itself when you roll it.
- Once the filling is spread, roll the dough into a log, starting on the opposite long edge to the gap you've left.
- Roll the dough into a tight log, using the unfilled dough to seal the log. You can spray a little water on the part where the dough joins if you want to - but the dough should stick to itself without it.Lay the log out with the seam underneath.
- Cut the log into approximately 12 pieces (you can measure and divide by 12 if you want them to look even - or just go freehand if you're not too fussed). Using dental floss to cut them will help you keep their shape and give the cinnamon rolls a flat surface.
- Place the rolls into a baking tray or cast iron skillet. Face all the seams inwards so that they don't unravel. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, a baking tray or casserole dish is perfectly fine. They don't have to touch as they will once the dough is puffy.
- Cover the skillet containing the rolls with a tea towel or plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise. The dough is enriched, so it will take a little longer than normal (especially since we are dealing with sourdough).Once the dough is puffy, you can bake them straight away - or see baking timeline above to extend the second rise and hold them in the fridge overnight.
- Once the rolls are puffy and have taken up the room in the skillet, it's time to bake them. Preheat your oven to 180C/356F.
- Brush them with egg wash before placing into the oven (mix one egg and a teaspoon of water together and use a pastry brush to apply).
- Bake rolls for 20 minutes at 180C/356F. Keep an eye on them though as they will burn easily due to the sugar.
- Once they're finished baking, leave them to cool in the skillet for around 30 minutes before taking them out.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting & Molasses Glaze
- Add cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt to your stand mixer. Beat the frosting until it's thick and glossy. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- For the molasses glaze, combine powdered sugar, water and molasses and whisk until it forms a thick, glossy glaze.
- Once the rolls have cooled a little (I leave it about 30 minutes) smother them in the vanilla cream cheese frosting and then drizzle on the molasses glaze.