Coming to you live with a lovely recipe for vegan sweet dough, aka vegan enriched dough! We’re so thrilled to share this vegan sweet dough recipe with you all as it’s been nearly a year in the making.
Sweet dough is a versatile dough that can be used for a variety of applications– when you’re after a super soft yeasted treat, whether savory or sweet! This sweet dough is the basis for vegan cinnamon rolls, vegan donut holes and vegan fried donuts, vegan cheesy garlic dinner rolls, vegan slider buns, and vegan cardamom buns!
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Ingredients For Vegan Enriched Dough
Vegan enriched dough does have a few more ingredients than lean dough (a lean dough is flour, water, salt, yeast dough). Don’t let the added ingredients intimidate you, the process is nearly the same as making a lean dough!
Flour: This recipe uses all-purpose flour as a general, all-purpose sweet dough. For baked goods that you’d like some ‘chew’ to, bread flour is a common replacement for AP flour. As is the case with cinnamon rolls- yes, we want soft and tender cinny rolls, but also chewy! This is where bread flour tweaks the texture just right.
Yeast: Instant Yeast or Active Dry Yeast can both be used here! The packets or from the jar. We don’t recommend using RapidRise yeast as enriched doughs are better with a slow 1st rise and usually always require a second rise after shaping.
Milk: Milk is used in place of water in this dough. We recommend a higher-fat non-dairy milk like cashew, soy, or coconut but any non-dairy milk will work.
Oil: Traditional sweet and enriched doughs usually have eggs which provide fat, rise, and structure. We’ll add 1 tablespoon of oil to this recipe to help add fat. The added fat helps to soften the dough!
Butter: Vegan butter sticks are the preferred vegan butter. As always, we recommend Trader Joe’s or Miyoko’s sticks as they are the least greasy. Other vegan butter sticks will work, but you may need to add a tablespoon or 2 more flour. We don’t recommend the spreadable vegan butter sold in tubs.
Salt: Both sweet and savory recipes benefit from proper salt levels. A fine salt will blend better into the dough versus a coarse, flake, or kosher salt.
While you can make this recipe without a stand mixer, our preferred method is with a stand mixer and a dough hook. There is a bit of kneading and it’s much easier to work the butter in using a mixer.
Step 1: Activate the yeast. Add 2 teaspoons of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to warmed milk (about 110*) and mix gently to incorporate. Set aside for about 5 minutes until frothy and thickened. (I usually do this in the bowl of my mixer with the dough hook.
Step 2: Make the base dough. Once the yeast is frothy, add oil, sugar, and salt. Mix a few times to incorporate. Add half of the flour and mix until mostly absorbed by the liquid ingredients then add the remaining flour. Mix until just combined.
Tip: At this point, the dough should be sticky, but cohesive. The dough may stick a bit to the bottom of the mixing bowl as it goes but with minimal sticking on the sides. If the dough is overly sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.
Step 3: Add butter. Slice butter into 1/2″ thick slices, and add 1-2 slices at a time with the mixer running on low speed until all slices of butter have been added.
Step 4: Knead the dough. Once all butter has been added, knead the dough on medium speed for 4-5 minutes. The dough may be sticky at first but after kneading will become more smooth. Even after kneading the dough will still be stickier than a regular dough (lean dough).
1st Rise / Bulk Rise
Once the dough is kneaded, the first rise begins! For this recipe, we recommend an overnight rise in the fridge. Cover the dough in the mixing bowl (or other bowl) tightly with plastic wrap. We prefer to use a large bowl with a lid to proof it- no plastic wrap or oiling the dough is needed! (The 4.5qt size in this set) Place in the fridge overnight or up to 2 days!
To use the same day, you can do a room temperature 1st rise. This will take 1.5-2 hours, depending on ambient temperature and humidity in your kitchen. What you’re after is the dough doubling in size and resisting a finger poke.
Tip: For the ‘same day’ rise, leave the dough to rise in the oven with the light on but the oven turned off. This prevents drafty, cool air from slowing down the process and gives a touch of warmth from the oven light.
For the finger poke, if you think the dough has sufficiently risen, poke it with your finger and see if it springs right back up, if it does it needs to rise a bit longer. If after poking it, it holds the sunken-in position and slowlyyy fills back up- it’s ready to go!
After the first rise, the dough should be refrigerated for at least 3 hours before shaping. This cold helps solidify the butter, making the dough less sticky and easier to work with.
Shaping & Second Rise
Remove dough from the fridge, punch down, and shape as your recipe details. Again, enriched dough is much easier to work with when it is chilled. It’s normal for enriched or sweet dough to be sticky at room temp.
If you are making a recipe that requires more intricate cutting, folding, and shaping the dough may warm up. If at any time the dough becomes too soft or sticky to work with you can always place the dough back in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to firm up again.
After shaping the dough, leave it to rise for another 30-60 minutes to rise a bit more before baking. During shaping the dough gets deflated and this second rise helps the dough to rise evenly and equally.
The yeast will give a final burst of lift when your dough hits the hot oven and this second rise helps ensure small bubbles throughout your goods.
Tip: As is sometimes recommended for lean doughs to rise in a warmed oven to 150*, we do not recommend this for enriched or sweet doughs. Due to the high amount of butter in the dough, the dough can begin leaching butter if the second rise takes place in too warm of an environment. This leads to butter pooling below the goods and essentially ‘frying’ the bottoms.
Use & Storage
As vegan sweet dough is a soft, tender dough that has added milk and butter, it can be more delicate to work with. Sweet and enriched doughs are easiest to work with or shape when they are chilled and straight from the refrigerator.
If using cold sweet dough, you should be able to cut and shape the dough with a very minimal dusting of flour. Using a small flour dredger like this is perfect and helps prevent adding too much flour to the work surface.
This sweet dough recipe is fridge and freezer-friendly, people! An overnight slow rise in the fridge is ideal for this dough– then simply wake up and shape, rise, and bake!
This dough can be stored in the fridge for 2 days for best results. You can freeze the dough as well.
To freeze the dough: After the dough has completed the first rise, punch it down and wrap it well with plastic wrap. Place in a plastic bag in the freezer and use within a month.
Vegan Sweet Dough FAQs
What is enriched dough vs. dough (lean dough)? A typical dough of simply flour, water, yeast, and salt is considered a ‘dough’ or lean dough. An enriched dough usually contains milk in place of water, as well as added butter or oil, and sugar. Enriched dough is used in applications where a rich and tender texture is desired.
What is the difference between sweet dough and enriched dough? All sweet doughs are enriched doughs, not all enriched doughs are sweet doughs. A sweet dough has added sugar (sugar, honey, or maple syrup) whereas an enriched dough may or may not contain sugar.
What is enriched dough used for? Enriched doughs are used in recipes where the desired result has a soft, melt-in-your-mouth quality. Enriched dough is used for cinnamon rolls, sweet rolls, dinner rolls, babka, challah, donuts & donut holes, burger buns, brioche, and hot cross buns.
Is enriched dough yeasted? Enriched dough is a yeasted dough, the same as lean dough. Enriched dough does take longer to rise in most cases as the yeast have to work through heavier ingredients vs. just flour and water in a lean dough.
Why is enriched dough more tender than regular dough? Enriched dough is more tender due to the milk instead of water, and added butter, oil, and/or sugar; a standard lean dough typically only has flour, water, and salt. All these ingredients soften the dough and its structure primarily by lessening gluten development.
Do you have to activate the yeast? This step is optional as commercially sold yeast is reliable and does not require activation- it can be mixed right into the dough. Yeasted dough is more to work through. We like to activate the yeast to help kickstart things and ensure fermentation takes off!Print
Vegan sweet dough is a fabulous base recipe to master if you enjoy homemade breakfast pastries, rolls, buns, and more treats- sweet or savory! This is a vegan enriched dough recipe to use again and again!
Activate the yeast:
- 1.5 cups warm milk, about 100* (Coconut, cashew, or soy preferred but any non-dairy will work)
- 2.25 teaspoons yeast (1 packet is 2.25 teaspoons, this works fine)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Remaining Dough Ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons fine salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (520g)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, sliced into 1/2″ sections (removed from the fridge as you begin the recipe)
- Wake up your yeast. Combine 2.25 teaspoons yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1.5 cups warm plant milk in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Leave for 5 minutes until frothy and slightly thickened.
- Make the base dough. After the yeast is frothy and thickened, add the 1 tablespoon oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 cup sugar. Mix a few times to combine. Then add 2 cups of the flour and mix to combine. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and mix to form the dough.
- The dough should be cohesive at this point, it may stick a bit at the bottom as it mixes- that’s ok. If sticking a lot or on the sides of the bowl add 1 tablespoon more flour at a time and mix for 30-60 seconds before adding another tablespoon.
- Add the butter. With the mixer running and the dough hook still attached, add 1-2 sliced butter pieces at a time and give the mixer a few seconds to get them moving, then add 1-2 more until all butter has been added.
- Knead the dough. Knead the dough on medium speed for 4 minutes. The dough should be smooth and very cohesive after kneading but will still be a bit tacky, this is fine. As the dough chills, the butter will solidify and become less sticky.
- Ferment / 1st rise. Cover the mixing bowl and dough with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight for a slow first rise. The dough will be ready to use in 8-10 hours.
- To use the dough faster, you can do the 1st rise at room temp. Cover the dough with plastic and leave at room temp to rise for 1.5-2 hours, until doubled in size. When the first rise is complete, place it in the fridge for 3 hours to chill, or the dough will be very sticky to shape and work with.
- Shape & 2nd rise. Remove the dough from the fridge and punch down to release the air. Shape as the recipe details and leave to rise once more at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, until evenly puffed.
- Bake as directed. Most baked goods using an enriched dough have the best texture if left to cool for 8-10 minutes before cutting or consuming as they will firm up.
We recommend rising the dough inside of the oven with the oven turned off, but the light on if you are doing a short 1st rise.
For best results use a firm vegan butter stick like Trader Joe’s or Miyoko’s. Any vegan butter stick may be used- more greasy sticks like country crock or melt may require the addition of 1-2 tablespoons flour. Do not use vegan spreadable butter, the kind sold in a plastic tub.
Sweet Dough is easiest to work with after it has been thoroughly chilled in the fridge. If the dough softens to room temperature it may become sticky from the added butter.
Either Active dry or instant yeast may be used interchangeably. We don’t recommend RapidRise yeast.
The dough can be left in the fridge for 2 nights.
To freeze the dough, let 1st rise complete, then punch the dough down and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place inside a plastic bag in the freezer and use within a month.
A small flour dredger is perfect for very lightly flouring the work surface. A large bowl with a lid (the 4.5q one in this set) is my preferred method for overnight rise in the fridge- no plastic wrap or oil needed!
Using Trader Joe’s vegan butter, this recipe yields about 1000kg of dough. The final measurement may differ based on what type of oil, butter, and sugar you use but will be near 1000kg.
The weights of various all-purpose flours are different by brand– for this site, 1 cup of flour weighs 130g.
Keywords: Vegan Enriched Dough, Vegan Sweet Dough