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This is a question about the science of baking. What factors contribute to the softness and moistness of the Cinnabon® brand cinnamon rolls? Particularly, I'm interested in:

  1. The type of flour to use (e.g. cake, AP, bread, etc.)
  2. The amount of water and other liquids (i.e. the effects of hydration)
  3. Leaveners
  4. Cooking temperature and time
  5. Additives
  6. Process/technique
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I'm not sure whether you meant cinnamon rolls. If so: These are made of yeast-leavened dough which is quite soft. (Yeast-leavened dough is also part of toast, pizza, bagels, some kinds of donuts etc.)
In addition, it's a kind of not-so-fine puff pastry (Danish pastry): Between two layers of dough there is a layer of solid fat (like butter). I think that the fat will make the yeast-leavened dough "extra" moist.

To make a simple yeast-leavened dough you need water, (plain wheat) flour, salt and yeast. Some other pastries require sugar, fat (e.g. butter), replace water with milk, et cetera ...
The flour needs to have gluten otherwise the dough cannot hold the tiny air bubbles that the yeast produces and the dough won't be able to rise. Plain wheat flour suits perfectly for this purpose. But it has a disadvantage: If you store the pastry wrongly, the pastry will be frumpy. (1)

Just pick a nice receipe of cinnamon rolls and you'll see :D

If you want to know more about cooking and stuff: "Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food" by Jeff Potter (O'Reilly & Associates). Seems to be a nice book for geeks :D

(1) Source: "Kochen für Geeks" - somehow I could not find the chapter about yeast in the English pendant.

  • Would bread flour, due to its higher protein content, mean softer and moister buns? Does more fat mean moister and softer buns, too (i.e. should I be looking for milk and butter with the highest fat content?)? How about hydration levels - how does that affect things? – CookingNewbie Aug 3 '14 at 22:31
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    I never used bread flour and never have seen this in my region. I think, yes, you are right. Sometimes there could be malt (food for yeast) in bread flour, the dough will rise better. You could use sugar instead. There is always a trade-off between some (useful and not useful) characteristics of the ingredients. If you use only gluten instead of AP flour you probably get something soft and moist but also something gummy. Bread flour will make the dough rise better but the pastry will also be more chewy. The more fat in the bun the moister it will be but fat also inhibits the yeast grow. – Ching Chong Aug 4 '14 at 8:05
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    Hydration: I never really varied the hydration significantly levels. But I am very certain that a low hydration level withdraws the yeast's basic survival needs and does not provide enough water to gluten to stick. And too much water: it is harder to process. That's why there are no yeast "risen" cookies (disregarding zwieback). – Ching Chong Aug 4 '14 at 8:16
  • @CookingNewbie bread flour means less soft, more rubbery bread. – rumtscho Sep 4 '14 at 22:19
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Cinnabon is a recipe I found on allrecipes.com. It includes a recipe for the yeast dough to be made in a bread maker. Milk and egg in the dough make it soft. The huge amount of cinnamon and the brown sugar/butter filling also stay soft. Cinnabon is trade name for a company.

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To bake anything where I am located I have to use King Arthur all purpose flour.Everything turns out soft and the way I want it.Different flour in different regions makes a big difference.

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    While using the right flour will certainly help, there's a lot more to it than that. You can make all kinds of bread, not just soft, with all-purpose flour. – Cascabel Aug 5 '14 at 20:34

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