Master Sweet Dough Recipe for Yeast Breads

Learn how to make this master sweet dough recipe for yeast breads. This is a master sweet yeast dough recipe that can be used to make cinnamon rolls, raised doughnuts, soft dinner rolls, sticky buns, and much more! 

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Sweet Dough Master Recipe Overview

Skill Level: Intermediate | Techniques Used: Modified Straight Dough Method for Yeast Bread

This is a master recipe for sweet yeast dough that can be used for a variety of applications. This dough is used to make cinnamon rolls, yeast donuts, soft dinner rolls, braided loafs, Belgian liege waffles, and so much more.

A basic sweet yeast dough is an enriched dough, also known as a rich dough. This means that the dough is made with fat, sugar, and sometimes eggs, as opposed to lean doughs that do not have any fat present. The addition of fat to a yeast dough creates a bread that is soft and tender as opposed to crispy and chewy.

How to Make the Master Sweet Dough Recipe for Yeast Breads

This basic sweet yeast dough recipe uses the Modified Straight Dough Method, which is a method for mixing rich yeast dough. This method ensures even distribution of the fat and sugar present in the dough.

Step 1: Hydrate the Yeast

Dry yeast is in a dormant state, and the milk in the recipe will wake it up. The temperature of the milk should be around 110-115 F (43-46 C). The milk can be warmed on the stove or in the microwave. Just be sure that it is warm and not too hot because yeast begins to die at around 135 F (57 C).

To warm the milk in the microwave, heat the milk in short bursts and check the temperature along the way. It should take about 60-90 seconds to warm the milk in the microwave.

Once the milk is warm, sprinkle the dry yeast over the milk. The warm temperature will wake the yeast up and it will begin feeding on the sugars in the milk, becoming slightly foamy.

This is also a way to know that your yeast is alive or not. If nothing happens in this stage it is a pretty good indicator that your bread will not rise later.

Yeast being hydrated for the master sweet dough recipe

Step 2: Mix the Fat, Sugar, Salt, and Eggs

In the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted and cooled butter, sugar, and salt. After these ingredients are stirred together, add the eggs in one at a time, stirring to combine between each addition.

If you will be kneading this in the stand mixer, it is best to stir all of the ingredients together with a spoon and then move it to the mixer to knead it with the dough hook.

Step 3: Add the Liquid Yeast Mixture

Stir the milk/yeast mixture into the mixing bowl.

Step 4: Add the Flour

Stir in the flour until it is all hydrated.

Step 5: Knead

This dough can be kneaded by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer. If kneading by hand, lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for about 6-7 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. The dough will be quite sticky, but try to avoid adding too much extra flour into it. It will become less sticky as it is kneaded. A bench scraper can be helpful to use to scrape the dough up as you knead it to prevent it from sticking.

To knead the dough in the mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on medium/high speed for about 5 minutes. Stop and scrape down the bowl about halfway through. If the dough is pooling at the bottom of the bowl, add a bit more flour until it holds together in a dough ball.

 

Master sweet dough recipe being kneaded

Step 6: Fermentation

Turn dough out into a clean bowl, lightly spray it with oil, and cover with a towel or loosely with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm place to rise until double in size. Depending on how warm the kitchen is and if you used active dry or quick rise yeast, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes – 2 hours.

This process is called fermentation and is how the yeast dough gets its flavor. This process also continues to build the gluten structure.

Master sweet dough after fermentation

Step 7: Deflate the Dough and Shape

Once the dough has doubled in size, press down in the center of the dough and pull up on the edges to deflate the air out of it.

The dough is now ready to be shaped into cinnamon rolls, yeast rolls, or anything you want to use it for! This dough is enough for 12 cinnamon rolls, 12 dinner rolls, or 1 loaf of bread baked in a 9×5″ (13×23 cm) loaf pan.

Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

  • This dough is very soft and sticky to start. As the gluten structure builds, it will become more elastic and less sticky. Try to avoid adding too much extra flour in to begin with. Some may need to be added, but try to work through the stickiness by kneading.
  • While volume measurements are provided for in this recipe, it is worthwhile to invest in a kitchen scale to measure ingredients. Measuring with a scale is much more accurate and is very important for bread baking especially.
  • This dough can be refrigerated overnight and used the next day. After the dough is kneaded, cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator. Before using it, allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then deflate it and shape it.

Recipes Using Basic Sweet Yeast Dough

Master Sweet Dough Recipe for Yeast Breads

Yield: About 2 lbs of Dough
Prep Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
This is a master sweet dough recipe used for yeast breads. This dough results in yeast breads that are tender, fluffy, and slightly chewy and can be used to make cinnamon rolls, raised doughnuts, soft dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, and much more! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 fl oz, 237 ml) whole milk (lower fat milk can be substituted)
  • 1 package (0.25 oz, 7 gr, or 2 1/2 tsp) active dry or quick rise yeast
  • 1/4 cup (1.75 oz, 49 gr) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/2 TBSP, 2.6oz, 73gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 tsp (6 gr) Morton kosher salt or table salt (use 2 1/2 tsp if using Diamond kosher)
  • 4 cups (17oz, 476gr) all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Hydrate the Yeast: Warm the milk to about 110-115 F (43-46 C). This can be done on the stove top or in the microwave. It should take about 30-45 seconds in the microwave. Make sure the milk is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir it together.
  2. Combine the Fat & Sugar: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the cooled butter, sugar, and salt with a spoon or a rubber spatula.
  3. Add the Eggs: Stir in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Add the Milk/Yeast: Stir in the milk/yeast mixture.
  5. Add the Flour: Stir in the flour until it is all hydrated. The dough will be shaggy at this point.
  6. Knead: This dough can be kneaded by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer. If kneading by hand, lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for about 6-7 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. The dough will be very sticky to start, but will become less sticky as it is kneaded. If kneading in the stand mixer, knead at medium/high speed for about 5 minutes, stopping about halfway through to scrape the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Ferment: Lightly spray the dough with oil and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Let it ferment at room temperature until double in size. This will take about 30-45 minutes if you used quick rise yeast and 1-2 hours if active dry yeast was used. A warm spot will speed up the fermentation time.
  8. Punching: Deflate the air out of the dough by pressing down on it in the center and bringing the edges of the dough over the top. The dough can now be shaped into cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, a loaf, etc...

Notes

  • Note: This is enough dough to make 12 cinnamon rolls, 12 dinner rolls, or 1 loaf baked in a 9x5" (13x23 cm) loaf pan.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236


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48 comments on “Master Sweet Dough Recipe for Yeast Breads”

  1. Everyone needs a great basic sweet dough in their arsenal. You make it look so simple. Love!

  2. This is great. I’ve been learning a lot about yeast doughs recently, and now I bake all of our bread myself–but I love branching out! There are things here that I do because I once was told to, but it’s always good to know WHY.

  3. You’re like….so smart. I would enroll in your school and listen to you teach me science-y things related to baking! And then….eat the things that we make. Cuz I need motivation 😛

    LOVE this sweet roll dough recipe! pinning!

  4. What type of milk do you suggest using?

  5. What type of milk do you suggest using?

  6. Whole milk or 2% will both be fine.

  7. I’m in love with this recipe. Used it to make cinnamon rolls, after another recipe failed and the craving for it just wouldn’t go away. Do any cravings really? It was so easy and I love that you can create other things with it. Just one question; do you think I can freeze this dough, or should I just bake the rolls and then freeze the end product? I would love to just be able to pop a roll in the oven, whenever that craving passes by again, as I know it will 😀

  8. Hello: I was wondering if this dough can be frozen? If so; what are the suggestions, and how long can it be kept in the freezer, and directions on how to thaw, and how to work it after defrosting. Thank You!

    • Hi Lois,

      I have not had good luck with freezing yeast dough. It never tends to rise the same after frozen. I suspect that the yeast cells burst when going through the freezing process. I will try to do more research to find out how people do it successfully because I know it can be done.

      • Easy solution – use fresh compressed yeast (can be found in the refrigerated case at your grocer) versus instant yeast. Instant yeast does not do well with freezing.

  9. Betty: thank you for you reply: it’s much appreciated. This basic sweet dough recipe was, I think, easy to put together. It’s in the fridge for the overnight process. I’m am an amateur, so we’ll see how it goes. Can’t wait for morning!

    Thanks again!

  10. We have tried other recipes to make cinnamon rolls. Will this dough produce a light dough or still be bready? We are trying to make a dough like a product made by Sunbeam. They no longer put raisins in their cinnamon rolls and who wants that!!

  11. This has become my go-to recipe to make cinnamon rolls! I love it so much!

    • Great oveevirw!I’ve got a question though. As I understand all the files will be loaded at runtime when needed. Does that mean that a larger app could have too many server requests?

  12. Is this recipe here baked at 350° for about 35min if I’m looking to bake it as a loaf of plain sweet bread?

  13. Hi!
    How many grams are in a packahe of yeast?
    Thanks!

  14. If I want to freeze half should it be done after it has risen ? 

  15. I am using this recipe to make my own panettone recipe. So looking forward to trying it out. However am going to add some grated Lemon peel into it before it rises than add fruit before putting into bread pan.

  16. How do I make a basic white bread which is very soft and light

  17. What could I substitute regular flour to for KETO diet? I would love the glazed donuts. Hope you can help me.

    • Hi Jeanette, Unfortunately there really isn’t a good substitute for this dough specifically for the KETO diet. This recipe is developed for the use of wheat flour and will not work well with alternative flours. I would recommend looking for a KETO specific recipe.

  18. I’m so grateful with your amazing bakery tips. Thank you for all.
    Carlos Diaz

  19. This recipe made perfect sweet bread. It was soft,tender and oh so perfectly sweet! Easy! Easy! Easy! To make too! The first try I made cinnamon rolls and tonight I’m making a loaf of sweet bread to take to my mom (81) tomorrow and I know she will love it! This surpassed the quality of my go to recipe about a million miles Thank you!

    Rating: 4
  20. Hi! I tried this recipe and my bread rolls turned out great. I was wondering if it was ok to substitute 3 eggyolks for one of the eggs to make it a little richer?

  21. Easy recipe to follow 
    Thanks 

    Rating: 5
  22. Hi Baker Bettie, ihave just tried the dinner rolls and ohhh my goodness,they are delicious..am in South Africa and the town am in,I couldn’t get Dry yeast like the recipe recommended,I used instant dry yeast instead and it work!! I think the advantage is that b its fairly hot here.

    Thank you so much.

    Rating: 5
  23. what type and brand of flour ?

  24. Great recipe, second time I use it, no complication. First time we used it for doughnuts. Now we will bake Liege waffles tomorrow morning.

    Rating: 5
  25. I’ve been looking for a sweet pastry dough to use as the base for a cheesecake. Do you think this will work? I really don’t like Graham cracker crust and want an alternative.

  26. Hi there! Do you think I could roll our this dough to a rectangle, butter and sprinkle with a spice mixture, loosely jellyroll, and then lay it in a snaking shape on a baking tray and bake like that? Or will it completely lose the snake like shape?

  27. Hi there! I love all the details and explanations – thank you. I have an old family recipe for traditional cinnamon buns (“bulkas”) that we always ate to break the fast on Yom Kippur. I’ve always heated the butter, sugar, and milk together and proofed the yeast in warm water and added the (warm) wet ingredients to the flour.
    Your recipe seems like a better/easier technique, but I’m not sure if I can just put the same amounts for my recipe (and increase the milk instead of adding water). 
    I did try it once and so sadly I found little black specks in the dough and realized they were coming off the brand new aluminum mixing bowl I had bought from Restaurant Depot. But I was smart enough to still refrigerate it overnight just to see how the dough would turn out and it didn’t rise very much, so I’m wondering if technically the two recipes/methods are different for a reason. Thanks so much in advance for any input. Best, Orna

    • Hi Orna! The method you describe is an old method that works well but isn’t necessary for modern milk and yeast. Yeast no longer needs to be hydrated and milk no longer needs to be scalded. You can definitely use this method with a different recipe. If you refrigerated your dough immediately after mixing it is possible that the yeast was just greatly slowed down in the refrigerator and just needed more time to proof. Sometimes it’s helpful to start the proofing on the counter for a bit first. The method wouldn’t have changed your rise. Rather cold slows down fermentation so much it probably just needed more time or a warmer environment to get there. Hope that is helpful!

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