Whole Grain Sourdough Date Rolls

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These have been on my list since you posted on Instagram :slight_smile: The date filling seems a perfect match for the whole grain.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of the recipe, and how you vary it up : )

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Sorry, but science and medicine show that 4 TABLESPOONS of sugar per roll (a full quarter cup, not counting the sugar in the dates, which the body treats as any other sugar re:insulin) - is, frankly, dangerous. Cut the sugar by a full 50% and they will still be delicious, if not more so.

Ha!! Pot-kettle-black :slight_smile:

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This recipe is certainly a treat and not meant as an everyday staple. I do get a very different math calculation though…

The dough has 160g sugar, between the stiff starter and the final dough ingredients. Add to that the 65g brown sugar in the date paste. Now we’re at 225g.

1 cup sugar is 200g or 16 Tbsp sugar.

That makes 18 Tbsp sugar in 225g.

18/12= 1.5 Tbsp sugar per roll…yes, not including the dates.

Frosting is optional and definitely ups the sugar amount.

The fat and fiber in the recipe might slow the blood glucose increase (certainly slower than candy or soda).

You could try the 24 roll version for smaller serving size, and absolutely use less sugar if you prefer.

I think you are counting the “optional” cream cheese frosting which I will admit is more sugar and cream cheese, than I personally care to consume … but the rolls themselves with cream cheese drizzle or even a powered sugar/milk drizzle are certainly sweet … as you noted, dates have a lot of natural sugar … still a splurge sugar and fat wise, though … are not 1/4 cup of sugar each. It is the 3-4 cups of sugar in the optional frosting that is over the top for most of us.

I think it is a fair observation noting that with the optional frosting, the sugar content is extremely high.

Your comment has reminded me that I did end up with leftover cream cheese frosting, so I’ll scale that portion of recipe to more accurately reflect what was needed to slather the pan of buns (with no leftovers).

As made in its entirety, each bun holds well over a full 1/4 cup of sugar when you include the dates. That’s at least 12 teaspoons. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars daily for women - and only 4 teaspoons per day for children.

So just one of these alone can give a child THREE TIMES the maximum amount - and that’s assuming no other consumed added sugars that day from any source. Which in America is an impossibility, given that sugar is added to virtually every food on the supermarket shelf.

That’s not a “treat” - it’s sugar poisoning, and thinking of it as a “treat” is why we have runaway obesity, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease epidemics here.

Of course i can cut the sugar by at least half, thanks - but I posted so that other readers might understand how unhealthy this recipe is as written (sorry if that makes some uncomfortable), and to let them know they can still make a healthier, better tasting version of it.

Thank you for this recipe.
Have you tried shaping, refrigerating and then baking the next morning after bringing the rolls back up to room temperature? If so, would you proof before putting into the fridge or in the morning?

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Before I read this debate re the sugar content, I already decided to make this with less sugar. It is pretty well how I approach every recipe these days. First, I didn’t add any sugar to the date mixture. I added a few more medjool dates and that was sweet enough on its own. I regularly make a date mixture to sweeten oatmeal, and even a cup of coffee. It is sweet and high in fibre. The rest of the recipe was as suggested until I got to the frosting. I did the frosting using a half cup of xylitol* and a few drops of stevia. It was delicious! It was very much appreciated at a family gathering where they are used to me experimenting and making “green eggs & ham cake” (zucchini & walnut with cream cheese frosting) and basically any cake with vegetables, I will make. You get over the fructose part of the sugar problem by using dextrose, glucose, xylitol and stevia. Fructose is roughly half of all sucrose so I use stand ins to eliminate the fructose. There’s fructose in honey and maple syrup although it’s around 40% if you use good quality honey or maple syrup. Try not to buy cheap supermarket brands of either since you will be more likely to get adulterated product with corn syrup added, especially in the US (I’m in Australia). You are not likely to overeat anything with good quality flour and other components like dates, which are high in fibre. * try to buy xylitol made in Finland where it is made from birch bark. Most other xylitol is made in China from corn cobs. I’m not sure about xylitol made in the US. The approach I take is to avoid fructose. That is the part of sugar/sucrose that we humans are not adapted to stop eating. But we are adapted to stop eating fat and fibre once we’re full, so problem solved!
I will definitely make these again, they were so much nicer than regular cinnamon rolls and the quality of the bready dough was great since it was full flavoured from the better quality flour.

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I have done the overnight retard of the shaped rolls a few times. Unlike with yeast, I think enriched sourdough dough needs to spend some time at room temperature during the proof (or spend longer than overnight in the refrigerator). I don’t have a preference whether that room temp time is before or after the refrigeration. If you have a deadline on your morning bake, though, it is probably safer to leave the rolls out before refrigerating – get them at least halfway to done proofing – and then halt things in the refrigerator. I welcome other people’s insight as I tend to bake rolls same day.

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Thanks for your insights on substitutions. Glad you enjoyed the dough. Your zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting sounds delicious!

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I often do this with enriched dough and for this type of sweet roll. I have done various things and find the dough/rolls very forgiving.

My own non scientific mini test of cold to bake for sweet rolls :slight_smile:

I am a HUGE proponent of “bake from cold”, i.e. shaping refrigerating and baking next morning … from cold. It has so far not failed for me, but as I say in the above link … test with your dough in your house/oven/conditions and not before a big event.

I made these and my kids loved them

Glad to hear that!

I made these rolls on Monday and baked on Tuesday. I have used my starter many times, and it always performs well. However, this time the rolls did not rise like I was hoping, The rise was small, but they were delicious. My dough was a little wet, so that may have been the problem. After taking dough out of fridge in the morning I put them in my bread proofer so I could bake earlier. I did frost and shared these with my new neighbors. They loved them as did my husband and I. I did not find them overly sweet, but I agree the frosting can be cut back a bit. I will certainly be making these again, especially at the holidays when lots of family are here. Thank you so much for this recipe.

You’re welcome! I’m glad you and your husband enjoyed the rolls. I had a similar experience with the dough fermenting relatively slowly.

I made these a few weeks ago, and they were a big hit with my family. I loved the texture of the tasty dough, and it was very easy to work with. I love dates, but I’m thinking that the next time I make them, I may try making the fruit paste with dried apricots, seasoned with a little lemon juice. I may not be able to avoid adding any sugar to an apricot filling, but it still sounds good. Also, I made much less of the cream cheese frosting to top them, and we were satisfied with the flavor.
Thanks so much for a great recipe for a special treat!

Apricot filling sounds awesome. I’d love to hear how it goes. I think I’ll do strawberry-rhubarb soon – with this basic filling plus some clove (family tradition)