German Cinnamon Rolls (Zimtschnecken)

These cinnamon rolls – called Zimtschnecken in Germany – are certainly work-intensive and require a lot of patience, but the result makes it all worthwhile. They are soft, fluffy and slightly sticky, with an intense, yet not overwhelming, cinnamon flavor and an amazing apricot glaze. Prepare these delicious rolls for a lazy weekend breakfast with your family or a brunch with friends.

Here is a suggested timeline if you want to have the cinnamon rolls freshly baked on your Sunday breakfast table:

  • prepare the dough and the filling (steps 1 and 2 ) early, on Saturday and let the dough rest all day long.
  • In the evening, continue with steps 3 through 7 and let the cinnamon rolls mature in the baking tray overnight.
  • On Sunday morning, brush the risen rolls with melted butter, sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar, bake and glaze.
Enjoy your authentic, homemade German Zimtschnecken.

These cinnamon rolls taste best, when freshly baked and still warm. However, they can be stored for up to 3 days, covered tightly with plastic food wrap, and served warmed up briefly in a microwave.

German Cinnamon Rolls (Zimtschnecken)

Recipe by Anna BembryCourse: Breakfast, BrunchCuisine: GermanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

10

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Baking time

35

minutes
Resting time

24

hours

Authentic German cinnamon rolls; soft, fluffy and slightly sticky, with a intense cinnamon flavor and a simple apricot glaze.

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 525 g / 18.5 oz all-purpose wheat flour

  • 315 g / 11.1 oz whole milk

  • 10 g / 0.4 oz salt

  • a hazelnut-sized ball of fresh baker’s yeast

  • 40 g / 1.4 oz soft butter

  • 50 g / 1.8 oz sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • Filling
  • ca. 250 g / 8.8 oz soft butter

  • ca. 200 g / 7.1 oz sugar

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • Glaze
  • Apricot preserves

  • Additionally
  • extra butter for buttering the baking tray and brushing the cinnamon rolls

Method

  • Prepare the dough: Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add butter and egg. From the milk set aside about 3 – 4 tablespoons and dissolve the yeast in it. Add the rest of the milk to the flour mixture. Finally, add the dissolved yeast. Using a stand or hand mixer, fitted with hooks, knead the dough until it is smooth, elastic and slightly sticky. Cover the dough airtight with a lid or aluminum foil. The surface of the dough should not get dry. Set the dough aside to rest and mature for 12 hours at room temperature (at least 72°F / 23 °C).
  • Prepare the filling: In a mixing bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon until both ingredients are well combined. Save about 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar for later. Add butter to the remaining cinnamon sugar and briefly knead by hand. Set aside at room temperature to keep it easy to spread.
  • After 12 hours of resting, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured workspace and, using a rolling pin, roll it out into a rectangle about 40 x 80 cm (16 x 31 in).
  • Spread the butter – cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly on top of the rolled out dough.
  • Now, tightly roll up the dough, starting with the long side.
  • With a sharp knife cut the dough roll into 10 – 12 even slices, each about 3 – 4 cm (1.2 x 1.6 in) thick. Place the slices, cut side up, in a buttered casserole dish or a deep baking tray. Leave about 1 cm (0.4 in) of space between the slices.
  • Cover the baking tray tightly with plastic food wrap and set aside for 12 hours to mature.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a microwave and brush with it the risen cinnamon rolls. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar, you prepared and saved in step 2.
  • Bake 30 – 35 minutes.
  • Prepare the glaze: In a saucepan, heat up 3 – 4 tablespoons of apricot preserves, pass it through a fine mesh strainer, squeezing all remaining fruit chunks through with a spoon and immediately brush with it the warm cinnamon rolls.

Notes

  • Instead of an apricot glaze, you can also brush the freshly baked and still hot cinnamon rolls with melted butter and sprinkle them with sugar.
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