I like to split making these over two days – I make the dough and refrigerate it overnight for it’s first rise. The cold dough is easier to roll out and the slow rise results in a better flavour. You can do it all on the same day if you prefer though.
To make the tangzhong, place the flour in a saucepan and gradually whisk in the milk to avoid lumps.
Place the pan over a medium/low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened to a paste/pudding-like consistency (think wallpaper paste…).
Scrape the tangzhong into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and pour the rest of the cold milk on top. This will cool the tangzhong down so that it doesn’t kill the yeast.
Add the sugar, salt and flour and finally the yeast. Stir until it forms a rough dough then set the stand mixer to a medium speed and mix until the dough is smooth and stretchy, this can take about 10 minutes.
Add the softened vegan butter and knead for about another 5 minutes until it is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth, elastic and no longer feels greasy. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
The dough should still be soft and sticky, but it should pull away from the sides of the bowl cleanly. If it seems too wet then you can knead in a little extra flour, a tablespoon at a time. Be careful though, this is meant to be a soft dough and adding too much extra flour will make the cinnamon rolls dry.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and place in the fridge to rise overnight, or in a warm spot for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
For the filling, mix together the light brown soft sugar, cinnamon, cornflour (cornstarch) and salt in a bowl and set aside.
The following day (or once the dough has doubled in size at room temperature), knock back the dough and give it a brief 30 second knead to knock out the air bubbles.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to an approx 30 x 45 cm / 12 x 18 inch rectangle. Try and keep it rectangular rather than oval so that your cinnamon rolls end up more evenly sized.
Spread the soft vegan butter evenly over the surface, leaving about a 1cm border around the edge. If the butter is too cold it will be hard to spread without distorting the dough so make sure that it is really soft, but not melted. I use my hands to spread it over the dough.
Scatter over the cinnamon sugar mixture and press it down gently. You can do this with your hands or a rolling pin.
Roll the dough up from one of the long sides into a sausage. Slice the roll into 9 even pieces (or 12).
The best way to get a clean cut is to place a piece of unflavoured dental floss under the sausage where you want to make the cut, cross the ends of the floss over each other and pull. Otherwise you can use a very sharp knife to slice it.
Arrange the rolls in a 23cm/9in square cake tin lined with baking parchment (or a 20 x 30 cm / 8 x 12 in one if you are making 12 rolls).
Cover loosely and set aside to rise for about 45-60 minutes until they are nice and puffy. If you press one gently the dough should spring back slowly. If it springs back quickly then they need a little bit longer. While they are rising preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4.
Once the buns have risen, bake for 30-35 minutes (more like 20-25 minutes if you are making 12 rather than 9 rolls), until the internal temperature reaches 90°C/194°F on a probe thermometer.* Cover them loosely with tin foil partway through baking if the tops start to colour too much.
Leave the cinnamon rolls to cool in the tin. To make the glaze, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the melted butter, vanilla and milk to form a thick but pourable glaze. You can add a drop more milk if needed.
Drizzle the glaze over the rolls and serve. Best eaten on the day they are baked.