I first encountered cinnamon rolls when I was on a mission trip to Thailand in 1988. The American missionaries there bake this on a daily basis and as Singapore did not have such bakeries then, we fell in love with these.

I have tried many recipes, mostly using the traditional 3-proof style of baking. I have also done these in Yvonne Chen’s Tangzhong method. But this one…. suffice to say it is the best I have done, it is not only the softest, but also the fastest to make.

The new trend from China now is to make loaves of breads in one proof, and they are not only fast to make, they are soft as well. I took that recipe and re-crafted it for buns and specifically for cinnamon rolls.

The Theory of Soft Asian Buns

It is all about trapping the moisture in the dough. I have made this dough in the ratio of 2.5:3. 2.5 parts of liquid, and 3 parts of flour. In proving only one time, minimum loss of moisture is ensured. As you can see, this is pretty ambitious trying to incorporate almost equal amount of liquid and flour. Reminds me of those muffins…

The second is the kneading. Never add flour when kneading, and never be polite to the dough. Slap it hard against the table, and until it is as smooth as a baby’s bum. Make sure it passes the window pane test. This is crucial.

No matter what breads we want to make, the window pane test is crucial. I have seen my dad do that since I was a toddler, and wonder why people still don’t do it.

That’s all to it when it comes to soft buns!


One-proof Cinnamon Rolls

One-proof Cinnamon Rolls


Soft Bread

180g Bread Flour

90g Plain Flour

4g Instant Yeast

1/2 tsp Salt

25g Raw Sugar (or your favorite sugar)

1 egg

120g to 140g Milk

40g Unsalted Butter


30g Butter cut into small cubes of 0.2cm sides

3 Tbsp Raw Sugar (or your favorite sugar)

1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon


1 Tbsp Icing Sugar

1 Tbsp Milk


  1. Bring the milk to 37°C, dissolve the yeast into the milk and wait for 5 minutes before it activates. If it doesn't, try one more time. Throw out the yeast if it fails to activate a second time.
  2. Add the sugar, egg and the bread flour. Knead for 3 minutes.
  3. Add salt and plain flour and knead another 3 minutes.
  4. Add the butter and knead until it passes the window pane test. If you are making bread and don't know what window pane test is, suggest you google it. 🙂
  5. Roll out the bread into a 40cm x 40 cm square.
  6. Spread the butter, sugar evenly on the bread dough, sprinkle cinnamon over this.
  7. Swiss roll it up.
  8. Cut into 9 equal pieces.
  9. Heat oven to 205°C.
  10. Cover the dough and prove it until it doubles its size. I left it where the sun shines into our kitchen.
  11. It took about 30 minutes for my bread to prove to the desired size.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile make the icing, which is combining the sugar and milk together without using any heat.
  14. When bread is done, unmould and then drizzle topping over bread.
  15. Enjoy one before all of them disappear!