Sourdough Caramel Rolls with a Simple Caramel

Last Updated on June 23, 2024 by TheFarmChicken

Have you ever had a caramel roll? It is a definitely a northern state thing. I am so surprised by the amount of people that have never heard of them. They are so good! If you ever visit ND, you need to find one! Ooey and gooey, soft and tender, caramel rolls are one step above cinnamon rolls…I said it. Prove me wrong. 😉Caramel Rolls are also not to be mistaken as “sticky buns”. They are not the same. It’s hard to explain what a caramel roll is if you haven’t had one; unlike anything else really. Kind of like sourdough cinnamon rolls but covered and baked in caramel sauce instead of icing. It’s really best just to make them so you know! You will be glad you did! Below is everything you need to make these Sourdough Caramel Rolls with a Simple Caramel.

“I remember as a child sitting watching them make them.”
carmel roll on a plate

I grew up eating caramel rolls! My parents ran a café when they were first married and that is where the tradition started in our family. I remember as a child sitting watching them make them. They still have the same shallow metal pan that they used in the restaurant to make them. My husband also grew up eating them. When we were dating one of our favorite things to do together was bake and it carried into our married life and into making caramel rolls in our home!

Now we like to make them to share with family and friends either for holidays or church potluck. Perfect for Sunday mornings with company too or just because!

I found a roll dough recipe online a few years ago and loved it! It had such a soft and tender dough! Yum. So, that is the recipe we used up until now. The caramel has always been the recipe my parents used and is just right! At first, I was skeptical if you could make a good caramel roll with sourdough but the desire to have a delicious sourdough roll dough made me dig deeper and start trying to create my own new recipe.

When I started testing this recipe to come up with it the dough was tougher than I wanted but after changing some things around it was a success! I hope you enjoy! I plan to use this same dough for cinnamon rolls and date rolls so stay tuned.

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little kitchen helper
My Little Helper – Learning the ropes of the rolling pin

The Caramel Roll Dough

I hope you enjoy making this enriched dough as much as I do. It took a couple tries but I think I got it just right. It folds well, rolls well, bakes well and eats well. Make sure to start by feeding your starter 6-8 hours before you want to start making this recipe. You will start by mixing it up, stretch and folding, and resting overnight. The next day, you roll the soft dough and make it into rolls and put them in the delightful caramel sauce!

One reason I love this dough recipe for Caramel Rolls is that you do most of the work the day before, leaving the assembly and baking for the day that you get to enjoy them. Less work than getting up at 6 am to get them done in time. A great recipe for when you have overnight guests or brunch guests!

The Simple Caramel Sauce

This caramel sauce is so good that most people probably can’t believe it is so easy to make. So, for the extra work you put into the rolls you get to take it easy on the sauce.

How to make the delightful caramel sauce:
  1. Combine brown sugar and cream in bowl.
  2. Whisk until well combined and thick.
  3. Done! I told you it was easy!

Preforming an Envelope Fold for the Sourdough Roll Dough:

Called an envelope fold because it looks kind of like the back of an envelope while you are performing the fold. I wanted to explain it in more detail here because I left it fairly vague in the recipe.

  1. Take one side of the dough with both hands and stretch up, go as far as you can without ripping the dough. Do not rip the dough! Then fold it over.
  2. Next rotate to the next side and repeat. Doing this on all four sides.
  3. Once you have completed the folds flip over the dough, so the folds are on the bottom. You have completed an envelope fold!

Tips for Success when Making Homemade Caramel Rolls:

  • Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the caramel rolls. I have seen some people use dental floss but never have actually tried it that way.
  • You can use your hands to knead this dough after autolyse. I find the stand mixer does a great job but if you don’t have one don’t let that stop you!
  • Make sure to take butter out beforehand so you have soft butter to spread on the dough before it is rolled.
  • If the house is cooler, I will usually start the oven for a bit, turn it off and put the assembled rolls in there to proof for the hour. This just helps to get a nice rise on the dough in a warm place. MAKE SURE YOU TURN OFF THE OVEN. 🙂
  • Feed your starter at like 11:30 the day before you plan to serve/eat your caramel rolls. I like to have a more of a stiff starter and you can learn more about that with Agnes. You will mix up the dough 5-7 pm the day you fed your starter and will let it ferment in the fridge overnight. Assembling and baking the rolls the next day/morning.
caramel rolls on plates with green grass

The Recipe:

INGREDIENTS

Sourdough Roll Dough Ingredients
  • 300 g distilled water
  • 200 g active sourdough starter
  • 650 g bread flour
  • 20 g granulated sugar
  • 67 g shortening
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 10 g kosher salt
The Best Simple 2 Ingredient Caramel Sauce
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 ¾ cups brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a large bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment; mix the starter, sugar and 200g of the water together, on low speed, until combined. Set aside.
  • Next, take the 100g of remaining water, and shortening and heat in a small saucepan until the shortening is dissolved. Cool until no warmer than 85 degrees.
  • Once that mixture is cooled add to the bowl, the shortening/water, flour and mix with the dough hook attachment on low until dough just begins to form (1 minute). It should still be shaggy.
  • Autolyse (let rest) covered with a tea towel for 30 minutes.
  • Next add the egg and kosher salt to the bowl and knead/mix for 10 minutes on the lowest setting. Scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Then move to a shallow container such as the one pictured and do an envelope fold and flip over.
  • Let sit 30 minutes and preform a fold again. Let rest again for 30 minutes and do a fold. Let rest altogether for a total of 90 minutes doing a fold every 30 minutes.
  • After the 90 minutes do one last fold and place dough into a lightly greased bowl, turn to coat.
  • Set on counter covered with plastic wrap for 1 hour, this helps the dough rise some, then move to the fridge and proof overnight or 8-12 hours. This is the bulk fermentation.

The Next Day/ The Next Morning

Caramel Sauce
  • Place the cream and brown sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined – it should feel “thick”.
  • Next, pour into the bottom of the pan, a 9″ x 13″ pan. Set aside.
The Dough
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and transfer to a clean work surface that has been lightly floured.
  • Flatten the dough by hand and then roll the dough into a large rectangle. Roughly 18″ x 12″.
  • Once your dough is rolled out spread soft butter on the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar and a little bit of cinnamon.
  • Starting from the long side roll the dough tightly, working slowly till you reach the other side.
  • Next, take the other end of the dough (the top long edge) pull it up onto the roll and pinch it so that it stays together. Do this the entire length of the roll.
  • At this point you can cut the dough into 15 rolls. I use a sharp knife, but I have heard of people using dental floss.
  • Place them in the prepared 9″ x 13″ cake pan with the caramel sauce.
  • Let rise for 1 hour covered and in a warm spot.
  • About 15 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place risen rolls in oven and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for 32 minutes more. They should be golden brown.
  • At this point let your rolls cool in the pan on a cooling wire rack for about 10 minutes before flipping them onto a large cookie sheet.
  • Enjoy with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee!

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Sourdough Caramel Rolls with a Simple Delicious Caramel

A soft tender dough with a gooey caramel that is simple and refined with just 2 ingredients. A ND favorite!
Print Recipe
caramel rolls on plates with green grass

Ingredients

Sourdough Roll Dough

  • 300 g distilled water
  • 200 g active sourdough starter
  • 650 g bread flour
  • 20 g granulated sugar
  • 67 g shortening
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • 10 g kosher salt

The Best Simple 2 Ingredient Caramel Sauce

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 ¾ cups brown sugar

Instructions

  • In a large bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment. Mix the starter, sugar and 200g of the water together, on low speed, until combined. Set aside.
  • Next, take the 100g of remaining water, and shortening and heat in a small saucepan until the shortening is dissolved. Cool until no warmer than 85 degrees.
  • Once that mixture is cooled add to the bowl, the shortening/water, flour and mix with the dough hook attachment on low until dough just begins to form (1 minute). It should still be shaggy.
    Showing Shaggy Dough ready for Autolyse
  • Autolyse (let rest) covered with a tea towel for 30 minutes.
    Sourdough Autolysing
  • Next add the egg and kosher salt to the bowl and knead/mix for 10 minutes on the lowest setting. Scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Then move to a shallow container such as the one pictured and do an envelope fold and flip over.
    Dough in shallow container
  • Let sit 30 minutes and preform a fold again. Let rest again for 30 minutes and do a fold. Let rest altogether for a total of 90 minutes doing a fold every 30 minutes.
  • After the 90 minutes do one last fold and transfer to a lightly greased bowl, turn to coat.
  • Set on counter covered with plastic wrap for 1 hour, this help the dough rise some, than move to the fridge and proof overnight or 8-12 hours. This is the bulk fermentation.

The Next Day

    Caramel Sauce

    • Place the cream and brown sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined – it should feel "thick".
    • Next, pour into a 9" x 13" pan. Set aside.

    The Dough

    • Take the dough out of the fridge and transfer to a clean work surface that has been lightly floured.
      Roll dough in a bowl
    • Flatten the dough by hand and then roll the dough into a rectangle. Roughly 18" x 12".
      Rolling pin and rolled dough
    • Once your dough is rolled out spread soft butter on the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar and a little bit of cinnamon.
      Butter, brown sugar and cinnamon on rolls.
    • Starting from the long side roll the dough tightly, working slowly till you reach the other side.
      Starting to roll the roll dough
    • Next, take the other end of the dough pull it up onto the roll and pinch it so that it stays together. Do this the entire length of the roll.
      Dough rolled and pinched
    • At this point you can cut the dough into 15 rolls.
      Cut rolls from rolled roll dough
    • Place them in the prepared 9" x 13" pan with the caramel sauce.
    • Let rise for 1 hour covered and in a warm spot.
      caramel rolls proofing
    • About 15 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
    • Place risen rolls in oven and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for 32 minutes more. They should be golden brown.
    • At this point let your rolls cool in pan for about 10 minutes before flipping them onto a large cookie sheet.
    • Enjoy with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee!

    Notes

    Envelope Fold:
    1. Take one side of the dough with both hands and stretch up go as far as you can without ripping the dough. Do not rip the dough! Then fold it over.
    2. Next rotate to the next side and repeat. Doing this on all four sides.
    3. Once you have completed the folds flip over and you have completed an envelope fold!
    Servings: 15 Rolls

    Tell me below if you have made these Sourdough Caramel Rolls with a Simple Caramel, how you liked them and… if you liked them better than cinnamon rolls! ha! I’d love to answer any questions you have about the process too! Happy baking!

    Mariah | Thefarmchicken

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    6 Comments

    1. I can’t wait to try these (was going to make tomorrow but my cream was old). I didn’t realize caramel rolls were regional! I was shocked I wasn’t finding more recipes… then read this post. I’m in ND too so it’s just a normal treat! 😁
      I’m printing it out to try! Thanks!!

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