These Lemon Poppy Seed Rolls are good enough for print but too good to keep from you here on The Internet.
This recipe is one of the most popular recipes in Joy the Baker Magazine Winter 2021 which, as it so happens, is leaving newsstands this weekend. If you meant to snag one and haven’t gotten your mitts on a copy yet – last chance! – grab one online here! I put so much love into these magazines! I mean for them to live on your cookbook shelf forever as a little piece of my heart.
But THESE ROLLS tho! Think: cinnamon roll (-cinnamon) (+lemon zest) (+poppyseeds) plus/minus the square root of b(squared) minus 4ac divided by 2a.
Kidding on that last part. I’m just still looking for a reason to have learned the quadratic formula, you know?
These are OVERNIGHT rolls, meaning the shaped rolls rest overnight in the refrigerator before baking the following morning. You can skip this step if you need the rolls in a hurry, but I love the overnight option to develop the flavor of the yeasted dough and to let me sleep in while still flaunting an amazing morning pastry.
If you’d like to FREEZE the unbaked rolls, double wrap the shaped rolls and freeze for up to 1 month. The night before you’d like to bake, transfer the frozen rolls to the refrigerator to thaw. Allow the rolls the rest at room temperature to warm and rise as directed below before baking.
These rolls are also delicious with meyer lemon or orange zest instead of classic lemon.
Rate and comment this recipe if you’ve made it and leave any baking questions below! xoPrint
A sweet and citrusy warm and gooey breakfast roll. The dough rests in the refrigerator overnight for fresh pastries in the morning!
For the Dough:
- 1 cup whole milk, warmed to just warmer than body temperature about 105–110 degrees F.
- 1-package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 1/3 cups (574 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into large chunks
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature and beaten to combine
For the Filling:
- ½ cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Zest of two lemons (about 2 ½ tablespoons)
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
For the Glaze:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons, 56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Zest of two lemons (about 2 ½ tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- To make the dough, sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk. Add a pinch of sugar from the 1/3 cup sugar and allow the yeast to activate. After 5 minutes, the yeast mixture should be foamy and fluffy.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add remaining sugar, flour, poppy seeds, and salt. Stir with a spatula to combine. Add the butter chunks, beaten eggs and finally the yeasty milk mixture. Stir again with a spatula to combine into a shaggy dough.
- Place the mixer on medium speed and allow to knead for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and return to medium speed to knead for another 5 minutes. The dough should mostly come into a cohesive ball that gathers around the dough hook. The bottom of the dough may stick to the bowl. If the dough seems too sticky to do this, add a few more tablespoons of flour.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead my hand a few turns just to ensure the dough is smooth and bouncy. Lightly grease a bowl (you can absolutely use the bowl you mixed the dough in), place the dough in the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- To make the filling, in a small bowl combine lemon zest and sugar. Rub together with your fingers until evenly combined and fragrant.
- To make the glaze, place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Make sure that the cream cheese is very well softened and if not, microwave it for a few seconds to make sure it’s supremely softened. Use a spatula to spread the cream cheese around the bowl, making it super pliable. Add the softened butter and stir until no lumps from either the cream cheese or butter remain.
- Add the lemon zest, powdered sugar, poppy seeds, and salt and slowly work to combine. Drizzle in lemon juice and stir until smooth. Cover and set aside.
- When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and press gently. Use a rolling pin to roll into a 14×20-inch rectangle, with the longest side facing you.
- Spread with softened butter. Sprinkle generously with lemon sugar. Starting from the long side nearest you, roll into a tight coil ending seam side down. Slide a piece of plain dental floss under the middle of the dough and bring the ends of the floss up and around the log and pull together to cut the dough cleanly. Use the same technique to divide each half log into six equal pieces, about 1 ½-inches thick, for 12 rolls total. Arrange rolls in a lightly greased 9×13-inch baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove the rolls from the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature and proof slightly for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place a rack in the upper third or center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and puffed and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. While still warm, top with half of the glaze mixture. Allow to soak in. Cool the rolls even further, 15-20 minutes, and glaze once again. Serve warm and enjoy! Rolls are best the day they are made but last up to 3 days. For best results the day after baking, toast in a toaster oven before serving.
- To make these rolls without the overnight rest, shape the rolls, cover with plastic wrap and allow t0 rise for 30 minutes while the oven preheats. Proceed with baking as detailed above
- To freeze the rolls, double wrap the shaped rolls and freeze for up to 1 month. The night before you’d like to bake, transfer the frozen rolls to the refrigerator to thaw. Allow the rolls the rest at room temperature to warm and rise as directed below before baking.
Photos with Emily Ferretti for Joy The Baker Magazine