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!
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the Eggs: Stir in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding the next.
- Add the Milk/Yeast: Stir in the milk/yeast mixture.
- Add the Flour: Stir in the flour until it is all hydrated. The dough will be shaggy at this point.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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...
- Note: This is enough dough to make 12 cinnamon rolls, 12 dinner rolls, or 1 loaf baked in a 9x5" (13x23 cm) loaf pan.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236