Joen’s Cinnamon Rolls

These are the most delicious cinnamon rolls in the world. I found this recipe in the A World of Breads book by Dolores Casella, printed in 1966, the year I was married. I have been backing these cinnamon rolls since before I had children—and that’s a long time! These are one of the most-asked-for eats that I make. They are an all-day activity, but well worth the time and effort. I make them for the Christmas holidays and a couple of other times during the year.


1 cup hot potatoes, mashed (e.g. Yukon Gold potatoes)
1 cup hot potato water
1 cup scalded milk (2% or whole)
7-9 (or more) cups flour   (depends on dampness of the weather)
2 packages yeast
1 cup soft butter (2 cubes or sticks; 8 oz)
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 large eggs


Roll Filling:  a half cube (or less) of softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon
(optional: raisins)

Roll Icing:  box of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tsp vanilla, cream or
whole milk


1.  Combine the mashed potatoes and 1 cup flour in a large mixing bowl. Blend gently. Once blended, slowly add potato water and scalded milk. Beat this mixture until thoroughly blended. Let cool until lukewarm.

2.  Stir yeast into the mixture. Cover the bowl and let this batter rise until light and airy. Stir it down with a wooden spoon.

3.   In a smaller mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar; add the salt and eggs. Beat mixture until thorough blended. Gently mix into the potato mixture. Once mixed, add the remaining flour, a little at time.

Note:  How much flour needed depends on the weather. I have used up to 12 cups of flour in the winter. I have a Kitchen Aid mixer and I mix in most of the flour with the mixer, changing to the dough hook when enough flour has been added. Usually the mixer will not accommodate all the flour I need for this recipe, so eventually I have to move the dough to a floured bread board and continue kneading by hand. I knead until the dough is light and spongy and is not sticky. I am careful not to over-flour. Once the dough needs no more flour, but does need to be kneaded further, I use barely any flour on the board. I knead the dough at least 10-12 minutes—now usually a combination of machine and hand kneading.

4.  Butter a very large mixing bowl. Place the kneaded dough in it. Roll the dough around in the bowl; then turn it upside down in the bowl to get butter on all sections of the dough. Cover the bowl with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm area until double. This usually takes about 1 ½ – 2 hours, depending on the warmth of the room.

5.  Once dough has doubled, punch it down. Divide the dough into 2-3 mounds. Place these on the side of a lightly floured board. Place one mound in the middle of the board. Roll the dough into a long, narrow rectangle (perhaps 8” wide—give or take). With a knife, spread softened butter on top of the dough. Then spread brown sugar and cinnamon thickly over the buttered dough (add raisins, if you wish).

6.  As with a jelly roll, roll the long edge of the rectangle across the width of the rectangle. Cut the roll into about 1 ½” slices. Place these slices, cut side down, in a well buttered large metal pan (with sides). The slices should be just touching each other. Repeat this process with each dough mound. Cover the pan with a tea towel. Let the rolls rise until about double (approximately 45-60 minutes)
7.  Preheat oven to 375°.  Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes—until done.  Do not over-bake. If the rolls are beginning to brown on top, place a sheet of foil on top.

8.  As the cinnamon rolls are baking, make the icing. Blend the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. Then add a little bit at a time the milk/cream—-enough for spreading consistency.

9.  Place the pan of baked cinnamon rolls on a cooling rack. Spread the icing onto the rolls while the rolls are quite warm.