Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls: A Delicious Way to Reduce Food Waste

Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls: A Delicious Way to Reduce Food Waste

Sourdough discard is leftover starter after feeding your sourdough. It’s a mixture of flour and water that has been partially fermented. Many bakers keep sourdough discard to avoid wasting ingredients. This discard can add flavor and texture to various baked goods. It’s often slightly tangy due to the fermentation process.

Why Use Discard in Cinnamon Rolls?

Sourdough discard adds depth and complexity to cinnamon rolls. The tanginess from the discard balances the sweetness of the filling and glaze. Including discard in the dough results in a softer, fluffier texture. Cinnamon rolls made with discard often have a more nuanced flavor profile compared to traditional versions. This method reduces waste, making it an eco-friendly baking choice.

Key Ingredients for Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls

Essential Ingredients Overview

Creating delicious sourdough discard cinnamon rolls requires specific ingredients. Each component contributes to the overall flavor, texture, and quality. Key ingredients include:

  • Sourdough Discard: Provides tanginess and enhances texture. Starter should be active or recently fed for best results.
  • All-Purpose Flour: Ensures a balanced structure. High protein content aids gluten development.
  • Sugar: Sweetens dough and filling. Use granulated for dough and brown sugar for filling.
  • Butter: Adds richness. Use softened for dough and melted for filling.
  • Milk: Contributes to softness. Whole milk is preferred for its fat content.
  • Eggs: Bind ingredients and add moisture. Large eggs work best.
  • Cinnamon: The primary flavor in filling. Ground cinnamon provides the classic taste.
  • Salt: Balances sweetness. Enhances overall flavor profile.
  • Yeast: Aids in rising. Active or instant yeast yields the best results.

Choosing the Right Sourdough Discard

Selecting the appropriate sourdough discard impacts the final product. Active, recent discards contain more lively yeast and bacteria, contributing to better fermentation. Ensure your discard has no off smells or mold.

  • Age: Recent discards (from the past week) work best. Older discards might affect flavor and rise negatively.
  • Hydration Level: A 100% hydration discard (equal parts water and flour) integrates seamlessly. Adjust hydration if using thicker or thinner discard.
  • Sanitation: Ensure discard is free from contaminants. Clean equipment and discard usage ensures safe, delicious rolls.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls

Preparing the Dough

Combine the sourdough discard, all-purpose flour, sugar, melted butter, milk, beaten eggs, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for 5-7 minutes or knead by hand for about 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough feels too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Once kneaded, place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Adding Fillings and Rolling

After the dough has risen, transfer it to a floured surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 12×18 inches. Brush the rolled-out dough with melted butter, then evenly sprinkle a mixture of brown sugar and ground cinnamon across the surface. Starting from one of the long edges, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Use a sharp knife to cut the cylinder into 12 equal pieces, each about 1.5 inches thick.

Baking and Final Touches

Place the rolled pieces into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, ensuring they are evenly spaced. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for another 30-45 minutes until they look puffy. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C), then bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes or until they turn golden brown. While the rolls bake, prepare a simple frosting by mixing powdered sugar, softened cream cheese, vanilla extract, and milk until smooth. Once baked, let the rolls cool slightly before spreading the frosting generously on top. Serve warm and enjoy.

Tips for Perfect Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls

Dough Consistency

Ensure the dough feels soft but not sticky. Achieve this by gradually adding flour while mixing. The ideal dough should come away from the bowl’s sides, signaling it’s ready for kneading. Over-flouring leads to dry rolls, while under-flouring makes the dough too sticky to handle.

Fermentation Time

Allow the dough to ferment until it doubles in size. This usually takes 4-6 hours, depending on room temperature. Warmer environments speed up fermentation, while cooler conditions slow it down. A properly fermented dough offers better flavor and texture. If pressed for time, refrigerate the dough overnight for a slow ferment, enhancing flavor complexity.

Health Benefits of Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Rolls

Eating sourdough discard cinnamon rolls provides nutritional advantages. The fermentation process breaks down gluten, making the rolls easier to digest. Sourdough discard contains beneficial bacteria and yeast, aiding gut health and improving digestion.

These cinnamon rolls also have a lower glycemic index compared to traditional cinnamon rolls. This means they release sugars more slowly into your bloodstream, helping maintain stable blood sugar levels and avoiding spikes. You get to enjoy a sweet treat without the rapid increase in blood glucose.

The fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients. It enhances the absorption of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron, and B vitamins. Consuming these nutrients contributes to better overall health, supporting various body functions.

Including whole ingredients like real butter, milk, and eggs, the rolls offer essential nutrients. Butter provides fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Milk contributes calcium and vitamin D, which are vital for bone health. Eggs are an excellent source of high-quality protein and essential amino acids.

Making your cinnamon rolls at home allows you to control ingredient quality. You can choose organic ingredients or those free from preservatives and additives. This leads to a healthier final product with fewer artificial substances.

Sourdough discard cinnamon rolls are not only tasty but also provide multiple health benefits. They support your digestive health, help manage blood sugar, enhance nutrient absorption, and contribute essential nutrients. Enjoying these rolls lets you savor a delicious treat while promoting overall well-being.


Sourdough discard cinnamon rolls offer a delightful way to repurpose your leftover starter while indulging in a treat that’s both delicious and nutritious. By making these rolls at home you can enjoy the benefits of improved digestion and stable blood sugar levels. Plus you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what’s in your food. So roll up your sleeves and give this recipe a try. Your taste buds and your gut will thank you.

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