Hamburg’s version of cinnamon rolls: Franzbrötchen!

Leckere Franzbrötchen aus Hamburg aus einfachem Hefeteig

Moin, or hello my dear friends! Today I brought along a special treat from the city I live in: Franzbrötchen! That’s Hamburg’s version of a cinnamon roll. If you follow me on Facebook, you will have seen questions about this treat because I tried several recipes before I was happy. Franzbrötchen is the signature dish from Hamburg. I can guarantee you, wherever you go in Hamburg, you will smell cinnamon as soon as you come close to a bakery. They are sold everywhere and I would say the smell of cinnamon represents Hamburg very much. Franzbrötchen are a mix of croissants and cinnamon rolls. They have lots of cinnamon and brown sugar, which may caramelize a little in the baking process, yum!

Leckere Franzbrötchen aus Hamburg aus einfachem HefeteigNormally, these delicious rolls are made with puff pastry. This means that you first make a sweet yeast dough, roll it out and place a piece of butter inside, which was pressed down into a shape slightly smaller than the dough. Then you have to wrap the dough around it, fold it in special ways, roll it out again and repeat this process about three times. Sounds complicated? Yes, it is! And I didn’t want my Franzbrötchen to be that complicated. That’s why I decided for a sweet yeast dough instead. If you would like to try puff pastry, you are welcome to try my homemade croissants.

Leckere Franzbrötchen aus Hamburg aus einfachem HefeteigSo, as stated sweet yeast dough instead. Because all this layering of butter and dough and rolling and folding is just not worth the effort, in my opinion. But a good sweet yeast dough is just as good. So I tried this recipe (in German) but was not fully convinced yet. Because puff pastry has a higher content of  butter. So I decided to increase the amount of butter and threw in an egg for good measure.

And after adjusting the ratio several times, I finally landed on my Franzbrötchen. I took them to work and my colleagues ate them so quickly that I am happy to post the recipe here. They must be good, I take a lot of baked goods to work, my colleagues are already a little spoiled if I may say so. So these passed the test!

I love the buttery flavor, the fact that they are so soft and fluffy, cinnamon (!) and the brown sugar that caramelizes a bit, yum!!!

And just to recap, I am currently hosting a blog event. The idea is that you make something from scratch and invite somebody to a coffee. Please check here for further details. For sure these would be perfect for that occasion.

So let’s give the floor to these fluffy, soft, buttery, cinnamony Franzbrötchen!

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Credit: Adapted from herzelieb (in German)

Delicious Cinnamon Rolls from Hamburg

Serves: About 12-14, depending on size
Cooking Time: 25min preparation+ 1 1/2 hours of rising + 15min of baking time


  • Dough
  • 90 grams of butter
  • 210 milliliters of milk
  • 500 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active-dry yeast
  • 60 grams of white sugar
  • 2 TL of vanilla extract, see here how to make your own
  • 5 grams of salt
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 egg, size L

  • Filling
  • 65 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 100 grams of brown sugar (I like them better with brown sugar than white one)
  • 3 teaspoons of cinnamon



For the dough heat the milk with the butter until the butter is melted. Be sure to bring back to room temperature before adding other ingredients, otherwise the yeast may die if it is too hot. Pop in fridge for a few minutes if necessary.


Meanwhile put all other ingredients in a large bowl, add the cooled-off milk mix and knead on low for about ten minutes. This is also possible by hand. You are ready once you have an elastic dough and if it starts getting off the bowl easily. Try not to add too much flour, only if it still is sticky after ten minutes of kneading. If it feels hard, add a little of lukewarm water. It should be a soft and elastic dough. If you haven't taken out the butter for the filling yet, please do now.


Form into a ball and let rise for about 30-45min in a bowl covered with a damp kitchen towel. Punsh down wih your fist and let rise for another half hour.


Take out bowl and knead for 30 seconds, then roll out into a 40x60cm rectangle with a rolling pin. Take butter for the filling and smear onto rectangle. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.


Roll up legthwise and cut roll into twelve equal parts. Place a wooden handle on the middle horizontally and press down, see pictures above recipe for further instructions.


Place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, be sure to keep them apart from each other as they will grow in the oven. Cover again with kitchen towel and let rise for about 20 minutes.


Meanwhile preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Only bake one sheet at a time, the second batch will simply rise a little longer.


Taste best slightly cooled off on the same day. If any are left, keep in airtight container at room temperature.

Leckere Franzbrötchen aus Hamburg aus einfachem HefeteigIf you should ever come to Hamburg, you know what to ask for. And if you ask me real nice, I might make this recipe for you 😉

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  • Reply
    Sunday March 4th, 2018 at 06:15 PM

    Hallo liebe Jenny, ich bin leider erst jetzt auf deinen wunderbaren Beitrag zu meinem #teigliebelieblingsfrühstück gestoßen, aber freue mich dafür umso mehr! Hamburgs allgegenwärtiger Zimtduft trifft es glaub ich ziemlich auf den Punkt. Ich freue mich so, wenn ich bald wieder nach Hamburg komme und köstliche Franzbrötchen essen kann oder wie du schon sagst, ich back sie mir einfach selbst. Die liebe Jessica von hat ebenso leckere Franzbrötchen gezaubert, bei ihr gibt es sie aber mit Plunderteig. Ich liebe beide eure Varianten. Deine werde ich backen, wenn es mal etwas schneller gehen muss und Jessicas, wenn ich mehr Zeit finde. Danke dir meine Liebe und hab noch einen tollen Abend! Liebe Grüße, Anna

    • Reply
      Sunday March 4th, 2018 at 06:16 PM

      Das ist ja abgefahren, da werde ich bei Jessica gleich mal vorbeischauen!

  • Reply
    Alina von BakingLifeStories
    Friday March 23rd, 2018 at 11:00 AM

    Oh Wow – das sieht ganz wundervoll aus und ich liebe Zimt in jeder Art! Eigentlich sind Franzbrötchen ja ähnlich wie Zimtschnecken und denen bin ich ja sowieso völlig verfallen!

    Habe dich über den Gastbeitrag bei Julia entdeckt – schönen Blog hast du!!

    Viele Grüße


    • Reply
      Friday March 23rd, 2018 at 11:10 AM

      Liebe Alina, herzlichen Dank, das freut mich! Da kann ich dir als Zimtschneckenliebhaber nur empfehlen Franzbrötchen zu probieren. Schreib gern, wenn du sie machst.

  • Reply
    Katrin / soulsister meets friends
    Thursday July 12th, 2018 at 06:21 PM

    liebe Jenny,
    ach … 1000 Dank für deinen super leckeren Link bei meiner Blogparade #sonntagsglück. Ich liebe Franzbrötchen. Und weil ich gerade in Hamburg war und schon überlegt habe, endlich mal Franzbrötchen selbst zu machen, bist du “ratzfatz” mal eben mein LiebLINK der Woche auf Facebook geworden. Hab’ eine schöne Woche & schau’ mal wieder vorbei!

    • Reply
      Thursday July 12th, 2018 at 08:16 PM

      Im Ernst? Wow, danke! Meld dich, wenn du kommst, ich back dir gerne welche!!!

  • Reply
    Cassie Zwart
    Wednesday January 8th, 2020 at 07:27 PM

    This looks great. Is the butter salted or unsalted? I am assuming we should use European butter with higher fat content? Thank you.

    • Reply
      Wednesday January 8th, 2020 at 07:31 PM

      Hi Cassie, yes, use European butter and unsalted (you may add a generous pinch of salt). Hope this helps, let me know how they turned out!

      • Reply
        Cassie Zwart
        Wednesday January 8th, 2020 at 09:04 PM

        Thank you! One more
        Question, is 3 Tablespoons accurate for the filling? It seems like that would be a lot. Is it US Tablespoons? 🙂

        • Reply
          Wednesday January 8th, 2020 at 09:41 PM

          Cassie, thanks for catching this, I updated it to teaspoons!

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