By definition, a sweet roll is any yeast-leavened bread that is sweet and may contain spices, nuts, fruit, and are often topped with a glaze or icing. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of types of sweet rolls out there but in this article, we’re only going to focus on the ones that are commonly found in Texas. The other names for sweet rolls are sweet breads (not to be confused with sweetbreads), pan dulce, buns, or coffee bread. Some of the more common Texan sweet rolls are cinnamon rolls, brioche buns, coffee cakes, honey buns, hot cross buns, Kolaches.
Sweet Roll Trivia
- The most popular sweet roll is the cinnamon roll.
- Philadelphia-style cinnamon rolls have been around since the 18th century. This roll contains honey, sugar, raisins, and you guessed it, cinnamon!
- One of the most famous sweet Rolls in Texas is a sweet dinner roll made by Texas Roadhouse.
- These sweet rolls are so popular that if you search for Texas sweet rolls online, 95% of the results are for home-made versions of the bread.
Sweet Roll Buying Guide
One look at the supermarket bread section and you can see endless varieties of sweet rolls. From cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, rolls stuffed will all sorts of fillings, and so on. We can’t really recommend anything that’s baked and displayed on store shelves simply because of the number of preservatives and additives they add to keep the bread fresh on the shelves. If you really want fresh sweet rolls, then you can go to any artisan bakery or farmers’ market and you can get sweet rolls that are infinitely better than what you can find on shelves.
Sweet Roll Production & Farming in Texas
In Texas, there are two sweet rolls that are on the mouths of everyone. Cinnamon Rolls and Sweet Dinner rolls. For the cinnamon rolls, there are a number of artisan bakers that make their sweet rolls and cinnamon rolls available through ordering online and through farmers’ markets. These bakers use only the finest ingredients for their rolls and may add local fruits and nuts to add a unique twist to the standard cinnamon roll.
For the dinner rolls, these are usually given free when dining at different restaurants. Sometimes, people dine in these establishments just to enjoy the free dinner rolls. Don’t ask us why, that’s just the way people are.
What do these sweet rolls have in common? It’s the one thing that makes freshly baked bread superior to supermarket bread, and that is their being freshly baked. Freshly baked bread doesn’t need any additives for them to be fluffy and tasty, that’s just how they are straight from the oven.
Preservatives, Additives, and Chemicals:
We’ve taken one of the most popular dinner rolls from our local supermarket and identified some of the ingredients that aren’t present in locally baked sweet rolls.
- Enriched Bleached Flour – This is flour that has been bleached to strip it down to its basic components, and then nutrients are added back through another chemical process.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – When they say sweet rolls, they really mean sweet. This cheap sweetener has been linked to many diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
- Dough Conditioners – Ever wondered how sweet rolls on store shelves stay so soft even after a week while freshly baked sweet rolls start to stiffen up after a couple of hours? Well, here’s your answer.
- Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate – This is supposed to be non-toxic and used to keep the product fresh as the day it was baked.
- Mono- and diglycerides – These are emulsifiers added to keep the oil and the solids from separating.
- Calcium Peroxide – This improves the texture of the baked food. While generally recommended as safe to eat, this can irritate the skin and burn the eyes in its raw form.
- Calcium Iodate – This maintains the protein bonds and speeds u the rising of the dough. This accelerates the production of the bread as opposed to letting it rise naturally.
- Calcium Propionate – This is a preservative to prevent the product from spoiling. While this is generally regarded as safe but it may cause side effects such as headaches and migraines. One study has also shown propionate to increased production of insulin in the human body.
- Caramel Colors, Natural Colors, Artificial Colors – These are generally harmless, but they’re useless as well. They’re only added for visual appeal.
Do you really want to eat sweet rolls with all of those added chemicals?
Supermarket sweet rolls are usually packed in single-use plastic bags. Sweet rolls in bakeries and from artisan bakers are usually displayed on racks and are usually packed in brown paper bags upon purchase.
Enjoying Sweet Rolls
As with any other bread, sweet rolls are at their best when they’re warm from the oven.
Depending on the filling, sweet rolls can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen (as long as they’re tightly wrapped) for up to a month. To enjoy them, just pop them in the oven for a few minutes to warm them through and enjoy!
Make Your Own Sweet Rolls:
Since everyone has their own favorite sweet dinner rolls, we’re sharing ours as well!
Yeast, 11 grams (one packet)
Unsalted Butter, 88 grams or 6 tablespoons
Sugar, 75 grams
Salt, 5 grams
Large Egg, 1 piece
All-purpose flour, 450g
Unsalted butter (for brushing)
Ingredients for Cinnamon Honey Butter Baste:
Softened Unsalted Butter, 55 grams
Powdered Sugar/Confectioner’s Sugar, 15 grams
Ground Cinnamon, 3 grams
Combine warm water and yeast, let stand for five minutes until yeast activates.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine milk, butter, sugar, salt, and microwave mixture for about one minute. Stir until mixed.
Place the warmed mixture into the yeast and water mixture. Add the egg to the mix and whisk in. (Make sure that the mixture isn’t hot as not to cook the egg)
Add the flour to the liquid mix and combine. Knead for 3-4 minutes and cover to let rise for a couple of hours or until the volume has doubled.
Punch down the dough and roll into a rectangle about an inch thick. Cut the dough into squares.
Spray a cookie pan or sheet pan with oil or butter. Arrange dough squares and leave about an inch of space in between. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes. While waiting, preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until browned. Brush with melted butter.
While the buns are baking, combine the cinnamon honey butter baste ingredients together.
Allow the rolls to cool for a minute or two, baste with the mixture and serve!