Sourdough Cinnamon Buns

Use a sourdough starter to make these moreish cinnamon buns. It adds a contrasting tang to the classic sweet and sticky flavours. Top with a soft cheese icing, if you like.

Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 40 mins
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 9-12


For the dough
200g active white sourdough starter
350g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
50g wholemeal flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g golden caster sugar
200ml warm milk
1 egg
50g butter, softened, plus extra for the tin

For the filling
150g light brown sugar
125g butter, softened
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

For the topping
2 tbsp golden syrup
100g soft cheese
150g icing sugar
¼ tsp vanilla paste or extract


  1. Make sure your starter is active – it should be nice and bubbly. If it isn’t, feed it and wait until a tsp of the starter floats in warm water. 
  2. Tip all the ingredients for the dough, except the butter, into a bowl and mix with your hands to form a shaggy dough – make sure all the flour from around the bowl is mixed in. Leave the dough in the bowl, covered with a damp cloth, for 30 mins. 
  3. Work the butter into the dough with 1 tsp salt. Once fully combined, tip the dough onto a surface and knead gently for 5 mins until smooth and springy. Form the dough into a ball and sit back in the bowl. Cover and leave somewhere warm-ish for 3-4 hrs until the dough has just about doubled in size. 
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling by beating together the sugar, butter, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Set aside at room temperature to keep soft.
  5. Butter and line a square baking tin –  smaller tins (20 x 20cm) will hold nine buns, larger tins (25 x 25cm) will hold 12. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and roll it to a rectangle roughly 50 x 25cm. Spread the filling over the rectangle so it’s completely covered. Roll the dough along the long edge into a tight swiss-roll type sausage. Cut your dough into pieces and arrange them, spiral side-up, in the tin. Leave for 1 hr at room temperature, then cover and leave in the fridge overnight. 
  6. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cover the tin with foil and bake on a baking tray (this will stop any leaking mixture dripping into your oven) for 30 mins, then remove the foil and bake for 10-15 mins more to brown slightly. 
  7. Meanwhile, mix the golden syrup with 1 tbsp boiling water. As soon as buns come out of the oven, brush them generously with the syrup, then leave to cool a little. Lift the buns out of the tin while still warm and leave to cool on a wire rack. To make the icing, beat the soft cheese, sugar and vanilla until thick but drizzly. Drizzle over the buns when completely cool.

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