I know people crazy about cinnamon roll, but have you ever tried vanilla roll? My vanilla roll recipe is having a soft and fluffy texture with the most delicious vanilla flavor, my favorite comfort food! 'In my view, there is no need to glaze them, they are incredible moist inside out for days, they will be gone quicker though. There is a thin caramelized crust on the bottom which gives them an extra layer of texture, they can´t get any more perfect. Making vanilla roll from scratch is super easy and you will only need a few ingredients to bake them!
There is nothing like the smell of freshly baked vanilla roll! If you like cinnamon roll, you will love the vanilla version of it!
First let’s start with some important notes regarding the ingredients of vanilla roll recipe
- read the recipe carefully
- avoid using substitutes unless aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavours
- measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale
- Yeast: I am using dry yeast in this recipe, instant dry yeast to be exact. My instant dry yeast pack says that its 7 g yeast equals to 25 g fresh yeast. I used half of the bag which is 3,5 g (approx. 1 tablespoon) and would equal to 12,5 fresh yeast. Please check your local brand and calculate your need accordingly
- Milk: Use room temperature whole milk
- Granulated Sugar: Standard, all purpose granulated or white sugar is perfectly fine in this recipe, nothing fancy. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Egg: Room temperature as always, yolk only
- Flour: Cinnamon roll and vanilla roll are effectively sweet breads. Make sure to use high protein content bread flour which contains more gluten and helps to achieve that lovely airy and chewy texture everyone loves in rolls. Worst case scenario, if you really can´t find bread flour, go with AP. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients
- Lemon zest: Using lemon zest is my favourite flavouring to spice up my recipes, it makes the desserts wonderfully flavourful and aromatic and it goes super well with vanilla. Make sure you use organic lemon (or one which has no chemicals on the skin) and only grate the yellow part of the skin, but not the white
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. In this recipe butter needs to be at room temperature which technically means soft enough to be able to incorporate it with the rest of the dough but not too soft or runny so avoid last minute microwaving
- Vanilla bean paste: Vanilla is THE heart of making vanilla roll not surprisingly! Please please avoid using artificial vanilla. There are several great brands for fine, pure vanilla, I use Nielsen massey which I love and really recommend. I use vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract which has lovely vanilla bits in there too
Now let’s continue with some further important notes regarding the technique of making vanilla roll recipe
1. Working with yeast
I know a lot of people afraid of handling yeast, please don´t be one of those people! It is super easy, especially with dry yeast, it should be no surprises. Having said that, make sure you test a few dry yeast brands and once you find the one just stick to it. The process is easy: heat half of the milk until luke warm, mix half of the sugar in there and then sprinkle yeast on top and wait 10 minutes until yeast starts to foam. Key here that your milk is warm enough (luke warm) but not too hot. If yeast does not start foaming, chances are very low that the dough will rise so I recommend to start over again.
2. Kneading the dough
Cinnamon roll and vanilla roll are basically sweet kind of breads therefore the process of making them is similar to bread making which involves kneading.
Once yeast foamy, place all the wet ingredients (the yeasty mixture, egg, rest of the milk) into the bowl of your Stand mixer then after mixing for a minute add the dry ingredients (flour, rest of the sugar, lemon zest, salt) and start kneading with the help of the dough hook. First it will look a bit messy but after a few minutes the dough will start to come together then add butter in very small portions piece by piece while the mixture is on. Very important that butter is on room temperature and soft but not too soft and liquid which would make it impossible to mix that into the dough. Butter might not get mixed in immediately but keep your Stand mixer on an eventually it will all come together. After this point you will have to knead the dough for another approx. 10 minutes on medium high speed up until the dough is is super shiny, elastic and you achieve the gluten window! Please do not change the recipe and add a little bit of this and a little bit of that, the dough will come together in the process of kneading and does not require anything additional.
3. Rising the dough
This is a relatively fast rise recipe 2x1 h, really nothing painful. First you will have to rise the dough straight after kneading. Place the dough into a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place the bowl around your warmest part of the your house. You should see the dough doubling in an hour. There will be a second rise after filling the rolls, in the pan you will be baking, this one should take also around an hour. Look at these beauties!
4. Filling and rolling up the dough
The filling can´t be easier, mixture of room temperature butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste, however there are 2 tips in here I would like to share with you to make it a clean, neat process. Have you ever had a disastrous cutting experience while making cinnamon rolls with the filling going all around the place? Never again! Tip no.1. The butter needs to be soft enough to be able to spread it over the dough however make sure that it is not too soft which would make it super messy to roll up. Tip no.2. Before cutting, place the rolled dough into the freezer for 5 minutes, which is enough time for the butter to harden so you will get an easier, cleaner cut. I know some people use dental floss(?) to cut their rolls however while moving the rolls into the pan you can still get difficult time with a warm, soft dough and filling so I recommend to use the freezer tip instead.
+1 Pro tip to achieve rolls which stay moist for days (not that they would last that long)
If you made sweets breads before you know that they tend to firm up for next day. Well, not this recipe! Secret? There is a moisturizing stage involved during baking, concretely I pour warm milk and sugar mixture onto the rolls around ¾ of the baking time which gets soaked into the rolls giving them moist for days. You must try this!
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Now let´s see the recipe of this vanilla roll!
- 60 g Unsalted butter room temperature
- 60 g Granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla bean paste
- ½ Egg
- 75 g Whole milk warm
- 10 g Granulated sugar
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Start with mixing half of the sugar with half of the lukewarm milk then sprinkling dry yeast on top. In 10 minute yeast should foam
- Place the yeast mixture into your Stand mixer with the kneading hook on then mix it together with egg yolk and rest of the milk for about a minute
- Mix in dry ingredients; flour, rest of the sugar, lemon zest, salt and start kneading until dough comes together
- Slowly add in butter piece by piece and knead for another 10 minutes on medium high speed until dough becomes elastic and shiny
- Move the dough into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise approx. 2x
- Roll up the dough and place it into the freezer for 5 minutes for an easier, neater cut. Butter baking pan in the meantime
- Cut 10x rolls (3cm each) and place them into the baking pan leaving some space in between them. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rest for a second rise which should take another hour
- Pre-heat oven to 180C / 356 F and after applying a very thin egg wash on the rolls bake them for 45 minutes. Prepare the "drizzle" by mixing warm milk and sugar and at 45 minutes pour the sweet milk mixture over the almost baked rolls. Make sure you work as quickly as possible in a few seconds so that neither the rolls, nor the oven cools down
- Put the rolls back to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes until top golden brown and bottom caramelizes a bit