FOR THE TANGZHONG (FLOUR PASTE):
- 5 tablespoons (71g) water
- 5 tablespoons (71g) whole milk
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (28g) flour*
FOR THE DOUGH:
- all of the tangzhong (above)
- 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup (170g) whole milk, cold or cool room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups + 2 tablespoons (496g) flour*
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (21g) powdered milk (dry milk powder)
- 1 tablespoon (9g) instant yeast
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1/2 cup (114g) unsalted butter, very soft; partially melted
- 1 1/4 cups (250g) soft light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons (14g) cornstarch
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (13g) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
FOR THE FROSTING:
- 1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 oz (57g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (114g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon imitation vanilla flavoring)
- Pinch of salt
TO MAKE THE TANGZHONG (FLOUR PASTE):
- Combine the tangzhong ingredients; the water, milk and flour in a medium saucepan, and whisk together until no lumps remain.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens to a smooth, pudding-like consistency; 2 to 3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.
TO MAKE THE DOUGH:
- To the saucepan with the tangzhong (flour paste), whisk in the melted butter and milk until very smooth. Add in the eggs and whisk until fully incorporated. The liquid ingredients will cool off the hot tangzhong and the mixture should now feel lukewarm.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if kneading by hand) whisk together the flour, powdered milk, and yeast to combine. Pour in the flour paste/milk mixture.
- Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook and mix on low speed until all the flour is moistened and a shaggy dough comes together; 1 to 2 minutes. Let the dough rest, covered, for 20 minutes; this will give the flour a chance to absorb the liquid, making it easier to knead.
- After the 20 minutes, add the sugar and salt and mix on medium-low speed until a smooth, elastic and slightly sticky dough forms; about 10 minutes. The dough will be very sticky when mixing begins, but resist the urge to add more flour; the dough will absorb the excess moisture and come together nicely as the mixing progresses. After the 10 minutes of kneading, the dough should feel slightly sticky but not messy and should easily come together in a taut ball when handled with lightly oiled hands.
- Using lightly oiled hands, shape the dough into a ball, and transfer to a lightly greased large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place, until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Alternatively, you can let it rise slowly in the fridge overnight; my personal favorite method, as a cold dough is so much easier to work with. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt until well combined, Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use.
TO MAKE THE ROLLS:
- Gently deflate the risen dough, then turn out onto a pastry mat or very lightly floured counter. Pat, stretch and roll out the dough to form 16X18-inch rectangle with long edge nearest you.
- Evenly spread the partially melted butter all over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar filling over the butter, leaving 1-inch border along top edge; smooth the filling into an even layer with your hand, then gently press mixture into dough to adhere.
- Starting with long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder. Pinch the seam to seal the dough shut and roll cylinder seam side down. Mark gently with a knife to create 12 equal portions. For the cleanest cut, slice by holding a strand of dental floss underneath the cylinder, and cross ends of the floss over each other and pull. Slice cylinder into 12 portions (about 2 inches each) and transfer to a 15X13-inch rimmed baking sheet or 13X9-inch baking pan, that’s been greased with cooking spray.
- Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise until puffy and the rolls are touching one another; 40 to 50 minutes . In the last 15 minutes of rising, adjust oven rack to medium position and preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING:
- In a medium bowl (or food processor), using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until very smooth and creamy; about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer running, gradually add in the powdered sugar. Continue beating, until the sugar is fully incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy; about 2 more minutes.
- Add in the milk, lemon juice, vanilla and salt, and beat until well combined. Cover until needed.
TO BAKE THE ROLLS:
- Remove the plastic wrap from over the risen rolls and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil halfway through baking to avoid over browning. The rolls are done when the center of the dough registers around 190F on an instant read thermometer, or when a toothpick inserted in the center of the roll, should go in and out smoothly, meet no resistance and come out clean..
- Remove the rolls from the oven, and immediately spread the tops with the frosting; it’ll partially melt into the rolls. Serve warm. Store completely cooled rolls in an airtight container for a couple of days at room temperature.