4 1/2 – 5 cups (590 – 660 grams) all-purpose flour
1 package (1/4 ounce) (7 grams) (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cold (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup (120 ml) raisins or currants (optional)
Step 1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (can use an electric hand mixer), combine 2 1/4 cups (295 grams) flour and the yeast.
Step 2. In a small saucepan, stirring constantly, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt just till warm (about 120 degrees F) (50 degrees C) and the butter is almost melted. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, with the mixer on low speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then beat this mixture on high speed for 3 minutes. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook (or knead by hand), and knead in as much of the remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups (295 – 365 grams) flour until you have a soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes), but not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours). Then gently punch the dough to release the air and let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a bowl stir together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender, or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly.
Roll the dough into a 12 inch (30 cm) square. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the rolled out dough and top with raisins (if desired). Lightly brush one end of the dough with a little half-and-half or light cream (to seal the edges of the rolls). Roll the dough to form a log, starting at the end opposite the edge you brushed with cream. (Do not roll the dough too tightly or the centers of the rolls will pop up during baking.) Slice the log into eight equal-sized pieces. Arrange rolls in a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch (33 x 23 x 5 cm) glass baking pan. Cover rolls loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise, at room temperature, until almost doubled (about one hour). (At this point you can refrigerate the Cinnamon Rolls overnight (up to 24 hours). Next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator, take off the plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.) Break any surface bubbles with a toothpick. Lightly brush rolls with half-and-half or light cream. Bake in a 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till light brown, and a toothpick inserted into one of the buns, comes out clean. Also, if you lightly tap on the top of the buns they should sound hollow. If necessary, to prevent over-browning, cover rolls loosely with foil the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Remove rolls from oven. Brush again with half-and-half or light cream. Cool 5 minutes and then invert onto a baking rack and re-invert onto a serving plate or platter. Can drizzle with the Powdered Sugar Glaze.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 8 rolls.