Sourdough Cinnamon-Raisin Rolls

IMG_0850ghvhI live in California’s raisin country.  If one drives out of town during the hot, dry days at the end of summer, row after row of grapes drying on mats can be seen in between the long stretches of grape vines.  I guess you could say I know where my food comes from!

20200116_213643(All links open a new page, so you won’t lose your spot when you look around!  Get information on gardening and cultural traditions, recipes, stories, and more!)

Most of the time our raisin consumption comes from eating them straight out of the bag from the store.  Sometimes I get lucky and have just enough grapes from my vines that I can dry some of my own.  No matter the source, raisins add just the right hint of sweetness to both savory meals and tasty desserts.

20200116_213736And then there’s breakfast.  You know, that one meal that so many of us skip over and regret doing so later on.  The usual excuse is that breakfast takes too long to make on a morning when we’re trying to make it out the door on time before we get totally trapped in rush hour traffic.  (Fun fact: my daily morning commute takes me past the office headquarters of one of the largest raisin producing companies in the world, Sun-Maid!)

20200116_214006So here’s a solution: make something that you can grab on the go or even have time to sit down with (and not in a car).  Something that satisfies, nourishes, and starts your day off right.  Something easy enough to prepare a large amount of in advance that there’s no more excuses.  Raisins are always in season, and these sourdough rolls are just sweetened enough to taste, but no where near enough to weigh you down at a time you need it least.


Sourdough Cinnamon-Raisin Rolls Recipe

  • Difficulty: easier than figuring out another excuse for not eating breakfast
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This recipe is a modified version of my Whole Wheat & Olive Oil Sourdough bread.  This means that it is a one rise recipe, and it’s quite alright to let it rise overnight and bake them the next morning.  Less work for you!


  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup “fed” starter (I have two starter recipes: the old-fashioned way, and a “cheater’s” version)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm milk (between 100 and 110 F)
  • 1/4 cup butter (salted or plain), melted (this is 1 stick, 1/4 pound, or 8 Tbsp.)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups raisins


In a bowl, mix together the first four ingredients and whisk together.  Measure the flours by whisking them first and then gently scooping it into the measuring cup.  Set the bowl aside.

In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together.  Add the flour mixture in and knead together.  This can be done either by hand or with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Knead for several minutes.  The dough may be a little on the soft side, but this is okay.

Generously oil enough muffin pans for either 24 or 36 rolls (depending on how large you want them to be).  If you don’t have that many pans, you could also form your rolls and set them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  They will flatten out some, but will still taste just fine!

Use a scale to weigh out the dough, then divide that by 24 or 36 (this is much easier if you use a metric scale).  The number you get will be roughly how big you should make each roll.  Using the scale helps to ensure your rolls are uniform in size so that they will bake evenly.  Place each ball into a muffin cup and turn them in the cup to grease the dough all around.  Cover the dough lightly with a clean towel.

You can allow the dough to rise in a couple of ways.  If you want to bake them sooner, place them in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (this may still take a few hours).  An oven with the light on is a good option.  Otherwise, you can set the rolls aside someplace overnight to rise.

When the rolls are ready to be baked, preheat the oven to 425 F (make sure the rolls are not in the oven while it is heating).  Remove the towel and place in the oven on a rack in the middle.  You can bake the pans separately if there is not room for them in your oven all at once.  Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until dark golden brown and baked all the way through.

Once the pans are removed from the oven, allow the rolls to rest in the pan for 5 minutes.  Then loosen the rolls and set them on a rack to cool completely.  The rolls can be stored in the freezer for longer keeping, just be sure to wrap them well to keep them from drying out, and to defrost them first before serving.  I like to pop them into the microwave for a few seconds before eating and slather a nice blop of cream cheese on them, but you’re free to do whatever suits your fancy!  Enjoy!

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