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Sourdough Orange Rolls

Sourdough orange rolls are a variation of my sourdough cinnamon rolls, minus the cinnamon. These sourdough sweet rolls are flavored with orange that is present in the dough, the filling and the icing. I became inspired to make these rolls after experimenting with so many other orange recipes this year, including my cranberry orange sourdough biscotti, my orange sourdough scones, and my sourdough orange cranberry muffins

This is a true sourdough recipe, meaning it is completely leavened by active sourdough starter and not active dry yeast. This means that the rise time will be much longer than a regular yeasted bread dough. 

sourdough orange rolls in a 9x13 inch baking pan with orange cream cheese glaze spread over the surface.

Why You Will Love These Sourdough Orange Roll Recipe

You will love the bright orange flavor combined with the subtle tang from the sourdough starter. These sourdough orange sweet rolls are made using a variation of a brioche dough. Brioche is typically made with eggs but I find that the eggs are unnecessary and the results are achieved with milk and butter alone. 

These rolls are also [relatively] easy to make. I prefer to skip the long first bulk ferment that many sourdough recipes have because I feel like it is an unnecessary step. Instead, I simply let the dough rest for 2 hours before rolling it out and filling it with the sweet roll filling. This gives us ample time for the second rise and the resulting rolls are nice and fluffy.  

How to use sourdough starter in baking

Most sourdough starters are 100% hydration. This means that you feed your starter equal parts water and flour by weight. You want your starter to be active, and ideally around its peak rise. The best way to achieve this is to feed it the night before baking. By the time you wake up the next morning, it should appear to have risen significantly and be nice and bubbly. 

Ingredients and Substitutions

As a note, this recipe requires fresh orange zest in every step. You will need about 3 oranges to achieve this amount. You can save the rest of the orange and eat the flesh afterward or as a side for these homemade orange rolls.

Dough

sourdough orange roll dough ingredients.
  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Orange zest
  • Sourdough starter
  • All Purpose flour

Filling

sourdough orange roll filling ingredients.
  • Butter: For the filling you want to make sure you use melted butter. We mix all of the filling ingredients together and this makes it easy to spread across the rolls. 
  • Orange zest
  • Brown sugar

Orange Cream Cheese Icing

sourdough orange glaze ingredients.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Orange juice: You can use store bought orange juice but I usually just freshly squeeze the oranges I use for zesting. 
  • Orange zest 
  • Butter: use softened butter to make the icing so it mixes easily and isn’t too hard on your mixer.

How To Make Sourdough Orange Rolls

Make the Dough 

Step 1: Melt the butter. Add the milk and give it a stir for about 15 seconds to slightly warm it.

Step 2: Add the brown sugar, salt, vanilla and orange zest. 

orange roll wet dough ingredients in small saucepan that has been melted and mixed.

Step 3: Stir mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment along with flour and sourdough starter until shaggy dough forms. Rest 30 minutes.

Step 4: Knead dough for 5-7 minutes. You should end up with a soft dough that is not very sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. 

sourdough orange roll dough in bowl of stand mixer with dough hook that has been kneaded.

Step 5: First proof for 2 hours. At this point, dough will not rise very much. This stage is really more of a rest stage than a bulk fermentation. It will make it easier to work with once you roll it out on your work surface and fill it with the orange filling. 

Roll Out the Dough

Step 1: Make the orange sticky bun filling in a small bowl.

orange roll filling mixed together in a small bowl with a fork.

Step 2: Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin. 

Step 3: Spread filling over the top of the dough.

range roll dough rolled into a large rectangle with orange sugar filling spread over the dough.

Step 4: Roll the cinnamon roll dough towards you along the long edge to create a long cylinder.

sourdough orange rolls being cut with dental floss.

Step 5: Cut the dough into 12 equal slices. You can do this with either unflavored dental floss or a sharp knife.

sourdough orange rolls in 9x13 inch baking dish before the second proof

Step 6: Transfer to lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish. 

Step 7: Second proof until fluffy and increased in size by 60%. Use your eyes to check for doneness rather than the clock. The rolls will take less time to rise if stored in a warm place, and longer if your environment is cold. Once fully proofed you can either bake or refrigerate overnight to bake the next day. 

Bake

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350F.

Step 2: Brush the top of the rolls with remaining 2 tablespoons milk. 

Step 3: Bake. The tops should appear lightly golden brown and the internal temperature should reach 195F.

orange cream cheese frosting in bowl with a wooden spoon scooping some out.

Step 4: Make the orange cream cheese frosting.

sourdough orange rolls with cream cheese icing in 9x13 inch baking pan.

Step 5: Spread the cream cheese orange glaze over the top. Serve warm.

How to Store

Store the rolls in an airtight container or in a baking pan covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

Variations

You can make orange cinnamon rolls by adding 1-1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon to the filling. 

I hope you enjoyed these sourdough homemade orange sweet rolls. If you enjoyed this recipe, I would greatly appreciate you leaving a review. You can also check out my other sourdough recipes:

Vegan Sourdough Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Sourdough Sticky Buns with Pecans

sourdough orange rolls in a 9x13 inch baking pan with orange cream cheese glaze spread over the surface.

Sourdough Orange Rolls

These sourdough orange rolls are brightly flavored sweet rolls that are naturally leavened with sourdough starter. They have a delightful tang that perfectly complements the sweet orange flavor.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Proof Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 40 minutes
Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 504 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the Dough

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 stick
  • cup whole milk or oat milk + 2 tablespoons for brushing the rolls before baking
  • ¼ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ tablespoon orange zest about zest from ½ an orange
  • teaspoon salt
  • cup sourdough starter active and bubbly
  • 4 cups flour

For the Filling

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest

For the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • ½ tablespoon orange zest
  • tablespoons orange juice
  • cup powdered sugar

Instructions
 

For the Dough

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the milk and stir for 15 seconds to slightly warm it. Remove from heat.
  • Add the brown sugar, vanilla, orange zest and salt and stir until smooth.
  • Add this mixture along with the flour and sourdough starter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the dough hook attachment to stir on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • After the rest time is up, knead the dough in the stand mixer on low speed for 5-7 minutes.. The dough should be coming together to form a somewhat smooth ball.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled medium-large sized bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to proof for 2 hours.

Roll and Fill the Rolls

  • In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.
  • Add the brown sugar and orange zest. Whisk until fully combined.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into an approximate 12×22 inch (30×55 cm) rectangle. Use your hands, if needed, to shape the corners into as sharp of corners as you can so the end rolls are uniform with the rest of the rolls.
  • Spread the orange filling evenly over the dough with a spoon.
  • Roll the long edge of the dough towards you somewhat loosely until you have rolled the dough into a long cylinder.. You don't want the dough to be rolled too tight or they will not adequately expand outward during the final proof.
  • Use unscented dental floss or a sharp kitchen knife to cut the rolls into 12 equal sized rolls. The easiest way to do this is to cut the large roll in half, then cut those halves in half again. This allows you to visually cut the four smaller pieces of dough into three equal sized rolls.
  • Place the rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Tip: place the end rolls upside down so the cut edge is facing up. Then, gently flatten the roll to the level of all the other rolls. This will help it appear similar to the other rolls once baked.
  • Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow them to rise until nearly doubled in size and are starting to touch each other. This can take anywhere from 6-12 hours so make sure you keep an eye on them and don't bake them before they have risen.
    Note: Once the rolls have fully proofed, you can either bake them or refrigerate overnight to bake the next day.

When Ready to Bake

  • Preheat oven to 350℉
  • Brush the rolls with remaining 2 tablespoons of milk.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. If you refrigerated the rolls prior to baking them, add an extra 5 minutes to the baking time. The rolls should reach an internal temperature of 195℉. I highly recommend testing the temperature for doneness as different altitudes and ovens can result in a variable baking time. Allow to cool 20 minutes before spreading with the icing.

To Make the Icing

  • Use a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium speed to cream together the softened butter and cream cheese. Add the orange zest, orange juice and powdered sugar, and continue to mix on low speed until fully combined and the icing is light and fluffy.
  • Use a spoon or rubber spatula to spread the icing over the surface of the rolls. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 504kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 6gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 369mgPotassium: 135mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 762IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Sourdough
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