Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls


Why go through the trouble to make these yourself? Because this kind of power should be in the hands of the people, not just those working in mall food courts … and you know exactly what I’m talking about. As for the instructions, I know it looks like a lot, but I’ve broken it down into tiny steps for clarity. Read it all over once and it won’t seem so daunting … I promise.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 8
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FOR THE DOUGH
  1. 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  2. 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  3. 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  4. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  5. 1 teaspoon cold butter for lubricating baking dish
  6. 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  7. 15 ounces all-purpose flour divided into 10 ounces, 4 ounces and 1 ounce batches
  8. 1 package rapid rise yeast, approximately 1/4 ounce
  9. 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
FOR THE FILLING
  1. 8 ounces light brown sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground
  3. Pinch kosher salt
  4. 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE ICING
  1. 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  2. 3 tablespoons milk
  3. 5 1/2 ounces confectioners' sugar
FOR THE DOUGH
  1. Combine the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter and buttermilk in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk at medium speed.
  2. As the mixture comes together add 10 ounces of the flour, along with the yeast and salt and continue whisking until combined.
  3. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Add another 4 ounces of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. At this point the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour (one ounce at a time). Knead on low for another 5 minutes or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; and form dough into a smooth ball. Transfer to a large bowl that has been lightly lubed with the vegetable oil. Rotate the bowl so that the dough ball is evenly covered. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside until the dough doubles in volume, about 3 hours. (Exact times will vary depending on the temperature of the room and the temperature of the ingredients.)
FOR THE FILLING
  1. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
TO ASSEMBLE
  1. Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish with the cold butter.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently shape into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Then use a rolling pin to shape into 18 by 12-inch rectangle.
  3. Brush the dough with the the melted butter, leaving a 1-inch border along the top edge.
  4. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the dough, also avoiding the top border.
  5. Gently press the filling into the dough. (If you tend to have hot hands, you may want to cover the filling with a layer of plastic wrap first.)
  6. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough away from you into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness.
  7. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the cylinder into 2-inch rolls; yielding 8 pieces.
  8. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 16 hours.
TO BAKE
  1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. When the oven has reached 200 degrees F, turn it off and place the rolls in the turned-off oven. Let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.
  3. Without taking the rolls out of the oven, increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and let the rolls continue to bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F. Remove the rolls and let cool while you make the icing.
FOR THE ICING
  1. Whisk the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. In case there are leftovers, arrange them on a plate and cover thoroughly with plastic wrap for up to 3 days. To reheat, move to a small plate (I usually use a paper plate) and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Two rolls can be reheated this way, three may require a few seconds more. Four will ... let's face it, you're not going to have that many left over and you know it.
  2. To freeze: Individually wrap the rolls in plastic wrap and place them in a zip-top freezer-safe bag. When ready to eat, uncover and defrost on the counter for an hour. Then microwave for 30 seconds.
ALTON BROWN http://altonbrown.com/
Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

107 Comments

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  1. 1
    Rachel L Schmidt

    I made these for my friends, and they were a hit! Thank you for this recipe, Alton, I have been looking for a good Cinnamon roll recipe, and my search is over.

  2. 2
    Su L.

    I didnt follow recipe to the letter but still thought it was delicious. Buttermilk made it tender and it wasnt too sweet, which is always a good idea. This one’s a keeper. Easy and made a nice size batch. I actually let it rise the first time in the refridge overnight which worked out fine.

  3. 4
    JF

    Amazing flavor and texture. Closest thing you’ll find to the Cinnabon or Ikea (the fans will know) ones… but even better! It did necessitate way more than ”a little bit of flour” to make it un-sticky. I also substituted the buttermilk with plain yogourt as my buttermilk always end up going bad before I use it again in other recipes. Will definitely make those again!!

    • 5
      JF

      Forgot to add that I made these without a stand mixer and it worked very well. Used a regular mixer to begin with and as soon as the dough started forming, I transfered it on the counter and kneeded it with my hands. Turned out great!

  4. 6
    Brian

    Perfect recipe, I was the hero of Christmas! I’m a fatty, do I made a double batch of icing.

    Also, the base required about 20 oz of flour total to get the right consistency.

    Alton, this was all by weight correct?

  5. 7
    Toni Pittman

    THANK YOU ALTON BROWN!!! I’ve been wanting to make cinnamon rolls from scratch for Christmas morning for years – but never wanted to get up THAT early to make them. Plus I was a little scared of the whole yeast and kneading thing. Well no more! I used my dough hook for the first time (I’ve had it for 14 years) – and it WORKED!!!!
    Total success! I had a few hiccups – but they were my own doing. This recipe is no fail, and great for a yeast dough novice like me.
    But the really important thing is that they are delicious!!!!

  6. 8
    Jason

    I’m a big big AB fan: This was my first attempt at homemade cinnamon rolls. Thought I was screwing it up about 3-4 different times a long the way. Had to add 1 ounce of flower about 4-5 times to get the dough passed the sticky stage, I used homemade buttermilk because the store was out on Xmas eve, the rolls looked super tiny in the 13×9 dish, and a couple other technical errors on my part. The finished product was amazing. I would pay for these. One of the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had right out of the oven. This recipe will be a family tradition on holidays.

  7. 9
    Flo

    I made these with non dairy cream cheese and non dairy yogurt for the frosting. I zested some orange and squeezed some orange juice into the cream cheese mix. I also used non dairy yogurt and a little water in the dough instead of buttermilk. Without the orange I think that the frosting would have been too sweet. The orange really helped with that though, and it was completely non dairy! I think next time I’m going to put some orange zest into the dough too. I didn’t think the dough was too dense.

  8. 11
    Kerry

    How wet is this dough supposed to be? I continued to add flour, a spoonful at a time, until the dough formed a ball on the dough hook and cleared the sides/bottom. It ended up being a lot of flour (maybe 17-18 oz?). It’s doing its final proof in the oven right now, so we’ll know soon, I guess. But I have a hunch I made the dough too dry.

  9. 12
    Cheryl

    Can you go straight from asembling the rolls to Baking? Do you need the refrigerator step? If you skip the fridge step, do you lessen the proof time as they are already room temperature?

    • 13
      Cheryl

      Well we tried just rolling them and straight to the oven and they turned out perfect! I will reduce the sugar next time though. Way too sweet for me:)

  10. 14
    ChariS

    Anyone made these at high altitude? I usually add 2 tablespoons of extra flour in baking but wondered if anyone else had some thoughts. I’m at about 6,800 feet 😉

    • 15
      Beckye

      That’s about my same altitude. I just made them as the recipe said and my guys are saying to make sure I keep this recipe. I might have baked them a couple of minutes longer–the center is a bit doughy, but I kind of like them that way.

  11. 16
    MEg

    I have 7 kids. I doubled the recipe, made a comparable rectangle, rolled and cut twelve and shoved all that goodness into a 9×13 pan. Worked out beautifully. Thanks, Alton, you make our mornings in Idaho SWELL.

  12. 18
    Sean

    I am sorry to say that I am not a huge fan of buttermilk recipes. As a result, I probably will not use this recipe, for the dough. However, I appreciate the filling and icing recipes, and will definitely give those a try. I have my own dough recipe, which is based on an old Czech Crescent Roll that I use.
    Thank you AB! Keep up the great work!

  13. 19
    Jacquie

    Has anyone made this without a stand mixer? I don’t bake much, so it’s the one appliance missing from my kitchen. I’d love to try this recipe without it, though!

  14. 20
    Dawn Schmidt

    I made the dough the night before, put them in the oven the next morning for church, it was easy. Just follow the steps! Turned out beautiful! And, I WILL NEVER turn to store bought rolls again! Thank you, Alton! I’m a huge fan!

  15. 22
    Heather Wenzel

    I have made these now a half dozen times and ever time they are flawless and devoured quickly.
    Longer fridge time makes a better roll, in my experience. I have left them anywhere from 7-20 hours and liked the latter a lot more. I have a pretty cold fridge, so YMMV.

  16. 23
    Matt

    Am I doing something wrong? I keep trying to make these, and despite using plenty of butter to sop up the sugar and cinnamon, whenever I try to cut them, the whole thing just dribbles out the ends and it tries to fall apart.

  17. 26
    Lisa McVaugh

    Can these be made using Gluten Free flour? If so what would you suggest? Cinnamon rolls were a family tradition on Christmas morning and haven’t found the right recipe yet. Hoping you could help!

  18. 27
    Amanda Lyninger

    I made this with only the 10 oz of all purpose flour, and used cake flour for the rest of the flour. I asked my mom what flour would be good to use, because we have cake flour and oat flour, and she told me to use the cake flour. They came out great, and I want to make them again, since I bought more all-purpose flour. The dough rolled really strangely, and I didn’t cut them into the 2″ rolls, but I still made really great cinnamon rolls on Saturday.

  19. 29
    Georgia

    I made these last night and they were just perfect!
    I did use 2 extra ounces of flour on the last bit of dough making and finished it off by good ol’ traditional hand kneading. I used strained Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk (1:1 ratio, I always substitute buttermilk with yogurt because it’s so much healthier).

    The dough turned out just amazing, as I did what my mum always does for any kind of dough: wrap the bowl of dough up in a blanket like a baby and put it near a heater to “rest”.

    I felt the glaze was not enough for all eight rolls but very yummy, I am going to triple its amount next time.

    It does sound like hard work but it’s not really, and it’s totally worth it! Definitely a keeper.

  20. 30
    Tim

    I just made these with whole wheat flour. We’ll see what happens tomorrow when we bake them. I found that I needed a lot more flour to get the dough to stick in a ball. I also had a hard time getting my dough to rise. I think it’s because I keep my house cold (67°). I put the dough in a warm oven (~100°) for about an hour and that really sped things up.

    • 32
      Chris

      There’s really only a couple of reasons it wouldn’t rise. 1 your yeast is expired as in dead, 2 your keeping it too cool so the yeast can’t activate. Also make sure that you’re using rapid rise yeast not conventional yeast. Conventional yeasts require blooming in warm liquid, rapid rise doesn’t.

    • 33
      Paul Buesnel

      I have my house at 70deg but the dough would not rise. I covered bowl withva kitvhen towel placed it in a new clean black trash bag and put hair dryer at mouth of bag. Within 15min my dough had doubled in size

  21. 35
    Cory

    Really good. I made them into orange rolls by adding orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice. I was not a fan of the frosting so I used a normal cream cheese frosting with cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla (I replaced vanilla with orange juice). Really turned out good. This is the second time I have made them. The first time the bottoms were underdone So this time I cut into 10 pieces not 8 so they were smaller and I put foil on top for 20 of the 30 minute bake time. They turned out beautiful. Definitely will make again!

  22. 36
    Tara

    Really wanted to like these…but I’d give them a 4/10…not worth making again. I’m off to find the copycat Cinnabon recipe I made in years’ past…this dough was too eggy and dense…not light and stretchy like I wanted.

    • 38
      Sarah Cooper

      Not really. You could put them on the counter while the oven is heating to 200, but I didn’t the first time. I probably will this time, since they didn’t rise tremendously, but I doubt it will make a huge difference.

    • 40
      Sarah Cooper

      Yes! Much of the sugar ran out the bottoms and make an amazing toffee-ish mess, and didn’t seem to create any problems. (I added raisins, too, because I LOVE raisins and nuts in my rolls, which, I know is a sacrilege to some).

  23. 41
    Don Lehman

    Why did you use a volume measurement for the butter? I have made this for years using the food network version of the recipe. This time I used this one but didn’t notice the change in units. I had very buttery rolls since I used 6 oz of butter but it seemed to come out fine.

  24. 42
    JazzyMami

    Loved the rolls. Added walnuts and extra brown sugar to the filling. The dough is perfectly fluffy. Added more sugar to the icing. The best cinnamon rolls ever.

  25. 43
    Sonjathaut@yahoo Thaut

    This is the best recipe, I make these several times of year. If I were to double or triple this recipe, do I also double or triple the yeast?

    • 44
      danindenver

      Good question. The basic rule of thumb for yeast baking is to multiply all the ingredients except the yeast for 2x or 4x the yield. If you multiply the ingredients 8x, then you double the yeast. Your rising time may increase but that also happens with temperature variations.

  26. 45
    Crystal

    I made this for Christmas morning, so good! My family was shocked that this came out so beautifully! I didn’t have buttermilk, so I added a tablespoon of vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for about 5 minutes. It got nice and chunky, worked fine. It also didn’t want to raise at first, so I put he bowl in the oven with the light on, then it raised. One more thing: I didn’t have a scale on hand, so I added about 2 cups of flour to the initial mix, then 1 more cup plus a couple spoonfuls later, mixed the dough in the food processor with the blade attachment.

    I like that the recipe does not have too much butter or sugar, and I can feel good about eating it.

  27. 46
    Shawn

    Delicious and very easy to make. I ended up adding more flour than the recipe called for, about 17 oz total. That could be because my kids were helping me and their measurements might have been off a little bit. I’ve made various cinnamon rolls over the years and this is by far the easiest method and one of the most delicious!
    Thanks Alton.

  28. 47
    Annie

    Could I get a volume measurement for the egg yolks please?? No one categorizes egg size where I live…already I see I’ve added too much eggy liquid. Thanks.

  29. 49
    Tara

    Do you think I can make these two days in advance and let them sit in the refrigerator two days instead of one and then follow directions as stated?

  30. 50
    Hoosier

    Alton!! You are FABULOUS! But, you already know that. Please continue to let people know how very important it is to use a digital scale. I can’t believe people are still trying to calculate flour into cups, etc. Digital scales are inexpensive!! Our family can’t wait to see what you post next for a Christmas dessert.
    Merry Christmas, Alton.

  31. 51
    kathy

    Do you take them out of the refrigerate and put them directly into a 200 degree oven or do you let them get to room temperature then put in the oven?

    • 53
      Rita

      Since the icing isn’t cooked, using straight spirits would leave an alcohol smell to the icing. Not good eats. An extract would work better.

    • 54
      Andrew

      I think if you use a good smooth bourbon it would be great on the hot buns. I would however use half or maybe 1 tbsp bourbon and the rest milk.

  32. 56
    Radishgirl

    I made this recipe for relatives visiting for 2014 Christmas. It was the main dish for breakfast. Everyone loved these wonderful, sweet and sticky gems. They were easy to make. Thanks Alton!

  33. 57
    kim

    Just follow the recipe people…it works!
    I left the dough on the counter for the first rise about 10 hours (got called into work for longer than I thought) and it still worked! Since I’d started the process I figured I’d chance it and see what happened. The finished product was great! Nice cinnamon flavor and tender dough. I’m sure that if they were done properly they’d be even better. I should have removed the cinnamon rolls from the pan when they were still hot, they did stick a bit. Another great recipe from AB. Now I know what I’ll be making for Thanksgiving Morning for my family to enjoy while we’re preparing the meal. Thanks AB!

  34. 58
    James

    I noticed this recipe was slightly different than the foodnetwork recipe, (less flour, different proofing method) and I think the changes are an improvement. I did need to use closer to 17 oz of flour instead of 15, otherwise amazing recipe as usual. Thank you for this AB!

  35. 59
    Jessnick

    Flour part was confusing. Putting it in the fridge seems a little odd. But they’re in the oven as we speak, and we are hopeful!

    Will report back soon!

    • 60
      lwblack

      Putting the rolls in the fridge actually improves the flavor and gives a hint of sour dough taste. Plus it autolyzes the product. If you don’t know then look it up..

  36. 61
    Lori

    I’m sure this is good, but I won’t be making it. I’ve been making “overnight rolls” for several decades, and it does NOT need to be a precise process. Baking bread is an art. It changes because of temperature, humidity, and definitely altitude. It is much more art than science. Oh, and my full time, salaried profession is engineering.

  37. 66
    Emily

    Can anyone explain why he chose rapid-rise yeast instead of instant or active dry for a dough that has two rises, including one that is 8-16 hours long?

  38. 67
    Emily

    Only problem with making this recipe was that I didn’t own a kitchen scale to weigh my flour!! Be aware that most websites that convert oz. to cups is talking about fluid oz… 1 cup of all purpose flour will equal about 4 1/2 oz. Hopefully this helps anyone struggling without a kitchen scale! Another tip if you don’t own a kitchen scale is to watch the episode when baking- then you can see what the consistency of the dough should look like 🙂

    • 68
      BSteez

      Kitchen scales cost less than a dinner out. Seriously, just get one. Baking is about consistency, and you’ll never be consistant with cups. Volume is too variable with either compressable or granular ingredients.

  39. 70
    Chris R

    Dear sweet lord these are good. Gallifreyan sunset good. First kiss good. So so good. The recipe is masterfully written and laid out. Made me feel like I knew what I was doing.

    And again, the end product was SO GOOD. Tender, flaky dough. Filling that’s neither too sweet nor overpowering. Icing that doesn’t taste like pure sugar. GREATNESS.

    If you weigh all your ingredients and follow every word of this recipe, all will be well. So very well.

  40. 72
    Stef

    Any idea why the filling would end up on the bottom, instead of staying inside of the rolls? Hubby’s gift tasted really yummy this morning, despite that, but he was hoping to figure out what went wrong, as he really did roll the mixture in.

    • 73
      Melissa

      Stef, maybe your hubs didn’t pack the filling into the dough properly? I pressed mine into the dough so it would stick and made sure the dough is covered in the filling. I used to have the issue with alton’s recipe from the Good Eats book but I tried his V2.0 recipe and it came out perfect.

  41. 74
    Carolyn Ohlmann

    Can I do them gluten free? And is there an acceptable substitute for powdered sugar? (Allergic to corn…)

  42. 78
    terry riley

    Use thread to cut the dough…slide the thread under the ‘log’, cross the thread over the top cutting the perfect round… not smashing it… Great tip from my home ec teacher!

  43. 81
    Jess Muller

    I have been making this recipe of yours for years! It is an absolute favorite in our home 🙂 My girls know that if there is a holiday, there will be cinnamon rolls!

  44. 82
    Brandy

    What can I use for an egg replacer besides ground flaxseed? For example would avacados work? I know they contain a lot of lecithin. And what proportions would u suggest? My hisband is allergic to eggs most the time the ground flax seeds works fine but in recipes that use a large amount of eggs it usually doesn’t turn out.

  45. 84
    Caroline

    These are really clear instructions. Thank you! Can I really leave the frosted rolls out on the counter? I’ve always refrigerated cream cheese frosting, and tend to follow the 4-40-140 rule. Thank you for sharing. Great recipes are a treasure.

  46. 85
    Mary Alice

    Could this be made successfully with almond milk and vinegar or lemon juice for the buttermilk, and almond milk and “Better than Cream Cheese” for the icing for the milk-allergic among us? (Oh, how I miss milk!)

  47. 86
    displaced sooner

    Butter for lubricating the baking dish? Lightly lubed with vegetable oil? Very, very weird recipe, Alton. I’m going to stick with The Pioneer Woman’s fabulous recipe.

    • 87
      Meghan

      I do not understand what is so weird here. I agree that PW’s recipe is very good. She also instructs you to butter the pan before placing in the cut rolls. This means you can get the rolls out of the pan once baked – to me a rather important part!

      Her dough is almost more of a batter base than a traditional kneaded dough, so she does the first rise in the pot rather than transfer to an oiled bowl. But if you look at PW’s recipe for Cinnamon Bread, she will do the same thing of putting the dough into an oiled bowl and turning to coat. If the dough is exposed directly to air without the oil coating, then it will likely form a skin and not rise as well during the first proofing. This is nothing new or weird, people have done it for 100’s of years.

    • 88
      Andrea

      Any bread baker will lube the bowl with butter or oil for rising. There is nothing unusual about that. Same with butter for the baking pan. I would think it is weird not to as I bake breads quite often

      • 95
        Kitchen Fairy

        You are very wrong about 1 cup of flour weighing 6 ounces. 1 cup of ap flour weighs 4.25 ounces. King Arthur Flour’s website has a great weights chart that you can download. The reason for weighing flour is to get the correct amount. This is very important with yeast doughs. Not only that, but on a very humid day the flour will absorb more moisture and thus be heavier. If you weigh out your flour you don’t have to worry about humidity.

        • 96
          Richard T

          Hah! This is why the recipe shows weight measurements rather than cup measurements for the dry ingredients. If you pack the flour down, it could be 6oz. There was an example on Alton’s Facebook a while ago comparing two clear containers of a dry ingredient. The one that visually appeared to contain more ingredient — did not! The one that visually appeared to contain less was packed down more, hence, containing more of the dry ingredient. This is why you should really invest in a scale.

  48. 97
    jamie

    his reply: “Alton Brown: Timing, proofing and how to freeze”
    I personally couldnt get the prev recipe to RISE. Tried 5 times with different tweaks to no avail.
    I’ll give these a whirl

    • 98
      jamie

      Alton’s reply to me on FB about how this recipe is new and improved was this :
      “Timing, proofing and how to freeze”

  49. 99
    Michael

    I agree with AnnMarie. Something is wrong with these instructions, although I can still almost smell them in the oven.

  50. 100
    Gloria

    @annmarie: usually a recipe has you add a portion of the flour and then add up to the max amount based on your dough. You want it slightly sticky. Depending on your house’s humidity the dough might require the full amount or not. You also will use some for the board.

  51. 101
    Pau

    Alton, In case you have left overs arrange them on a plate and cover thoroughly with plastic wrap and then send it to my direction 😮 🙂 looks yummy!!

  52. 102
    AnnMarie

    the flour doesn’t make sense “add half (10 oz)” should be, I think, “add half of the 10 oz.” and when are the 4 oz and 1 oz used?

    Confused and I HAVE to make these for my husband!

    • 103
      Ellen

      I think the 4 oz is used if your dough is still too sticky after the last of the 10 oz is incorporated, just add it in a little at a time until you get the correct consistency. The one oz is for flouring the board and rolling pin. He is giving the total amount needed before you start the recipe and find out you need to go to the store.

    • 104
      Heidi

      AnnMarie, read it again, “2. As the mixture comes together add 10 ounces of the flour, along with the yeast and salt and continue whisking until combined.
      3. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Add another 4 ounces of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. At this point the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour (one ounce at a time). Knead on low for another 5 minutes or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.” so you add the 10 ounces with the yeast while using the whisk attachment. Then switch to the dough hood and add the other 4 oz. You will use the 1 oz only if it is too sticky after the kneading

    • 107
      Blake

      John, the only major difference i see vs. The original on Good Eats is the proofing method. Here he has you set them in a 200 degree oven to proof. In the original you sat the rolls in a cold over with a dish of boiling water to steam rise. I dont completely remember but i xont think the original did the 10-4-1 division of the flour either.

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