Morning Buns


Years ago I dated a girl who lived in Venice, Ca and one morning she offered to run and get coffee and pastries for breakfast. Little did I know, my life would be changed in just a few short minutes. She returned with the most incredible pastry I’ve ever eaten! We called it a cinnamon roll…It was a huge misshapen hunk of deliciousness. The dough was crusty on the outside covered in white sugar. On the inside was more sugar and cinnamon and buttery goodness! THE BEST! I woke up a few weeks ago missing not that relationship but THAT ROLL! So, after searching online for cinnamon rolls and getting nowhere I stumbled upon my long lost LOVE…The MORNING BUN!

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As far as I can surmise the morning bun was invented in the midwest, Madison, Wisconsin I’m told and it migrated West. This was the 90’s when I tried it. It’s pretty much a West coast thing now, because on the East coast if you ask for a morning bun nobody’s gonna know what your talking about. They’re going to correct you and give you this…

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Not the same at all. In an East coast cinnamon roll, the dough is soft and it has nuts and frosting on it, think “Cinnabon”. The morning roll is made with Croissant dough. Now, I’m not a big baker but I was determined to make this. First, I had to make a good croissant dough. That required me to make puff pastry. I’ve never made puff pastry in my life! I’m not going to bore you with a long tutorial on making puff pastry. I’m not an expert and there are a millions of other places you can get that info from. But, I will walk you through my little journey. I settled on making a “rustic” puff pastry…As you can see below, it was extremely rustic. First of all, to make your own puff pastry takes a while, a very long while…

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I started folding and proofing…

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And folding and proofing, and..

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You get the point. When I was done with my puff pastry…A DAY LATER, I gave it its final proofing and  I put in a zip-lock bag in my fridge. Meanwhile I mixed my brown sugar and cinnamon and white sugar and cinnamon combos and set them aside.

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I brushed my egg mixture on the dough and spread the brown sugar and cinnamon combo on it.

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I rolled the dough and sliced my buns. Before I put the buns in the baking tins, I buttered them and added a nice bit of my cinnamon and sugar mixture in the bottom of each tin. You do this because you want the bottoms of the buns to be nice and sticky on the bottoms like this.

DSC02342*QUICK NOTE: When you remove the buns from the oven get them out of the tins when they’re cool enough to handle but still warm so they don’t stick in the tins. I covered them and proofed them one last time for 45 minutes.

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Then I popped them in the oven. You should keep an eye on them as they bake and based on your oven you’ll know when they’re ready. After the buns cool down roll them in the white sugar and cinnamon combo and you are good to go.

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Making the puff pastry took me all day long. After I made my pastry, I put it the fridge and went to sleep. I got up at 4 AM the next day, so I could put them in the oven and have them piping hot by the time my daughter woke up for school. She LOVED them! I took the rest to the writers room and gave them to my cast telling everyone who would listen just how long it took me to make them…

MORNING BUNS

(based loosely…very loosely on Tartine’s recipe)

CROISSANT DOUGH (SERVINGS 24)

  • 4 1⁄4
 cup warm water
  • 1 1⁄3
 tablespoons dry active yeast
  • 2 1⁄2
 tablespoons sugar
  • 1⁄2
 cup powdered milk
  • 1 1⁄3
 tablespoons salt
  • 9 1⁄3
cups unbleached white flour, plus cup divided
  • 1 
lb unsalted butter
  • 1 
teaspoon beaten egg
  • 1⁄3
 cup water
  • 1 
lb light brown sugar
  • 2 1⁄2 
teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 
lb sugar
  • 2 1⁄4 
tablespoons cinnamon
  • 
Butter, for greasing muffin tins

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a 5-quart mixer. Let yeast become activated and foam, then add the milk solids, salt and 9 1/3 cups flour. Mix with dough hook until flour is just incorporated. Avoid over mixing as that causes rapid toughening of dough. Place dough mixture in airtight container with room for rising, and refrigerate at 38 to 40 degrees for 12 to 24 hours, punching down occasionally if dough rises too much.
  • Rolling butter into dough: Place 1 pound unsalted (or lightly salted) butter into 5-quart mixer. Mix with paddle dough hook, gradually adding remaining 1/2 cup flour. Mix until butter is moderately soft but not creamy in texture. Too soft butter will not layer properly in dough.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and turn out onto well-floured surface. Spread dough with hands into a 6×8 rectangle. Shape soft butter into 3-by-4 inch rectangle. Place butter in middle of dough. Envelope butter with dough, bringing dough from sides into middle without overlapping; then dough from top and bottom into middle, again without overlapping. Press envelope of dough down evenly with hands, preserving rectangular shape.
  • Set aside to rest 15 to 20 minutes. (Refrigerate the dough during the first rest period if butter is very soft.).
  • Turn envelope of dough and butter onto its “belly” with seams down. Using a large rolling pin, roll rectangle of dough down to 3/8 to 1/2-inch thickness. Fold in thirds.
  • Turn the dough 90 degrees and place seam down on your rolling surface to rest 15 to 20 minutes more. Finally roll dough down again to 3/8 to 1/2-inch thickness. Fold in thirds. Place in a large plastic bag, carefully preserving its folded shape. Refrigerate 12 to 14 hours, again at 38 to 40 degrees.
  • Roll croissant dough into rectangle 12 inches wide and 1/8-inch thick. Relax by lifting with hands and let it contract on table surface. Length of dough determines the number of morning buns ultimately cut.
  • Wet exposed surface lightly with mixture of egg and water (proportions are roughly 1 egg per 1 quart water).
  • Spread brown sugar and cinnamon mixture (in proportions of 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon to 1 pound brown sugar) over entire surface of dough.
  • Note: Too much moisture from either water or melting brown sugar can overwhelm the dough during the baking process. Water mixture is only to help sugar and cinnamon adhere to dough. The butter in the dough will melt into the sugar.
  • Crimp long edge of dough closest to you as you begin to roll this dough up like a jelly roll into a tube. After having rolled your tube of dough, cut off slices 2 inches wide or to stand above your well-greased large muffin pans by 1/4 – 1/2 inch when placing them in cut side down.
  • Bake immediately or refrigerate overnight before baking. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 50 minutes or until puffed and dark brown. Check for doneness in center of buns. They should spring back. (It is possible to invert buns onto flat tray and finish the last few minutes of baking upside down.).
  • Let buns cool in pan a few minutes. Garnish buns by rolling them in white sugar and cinnamon in proportions of 1 pound granulated sugar to 2 1/4 tablespoons of cinnamon.
  • Serve warm, within 4 hours, or freeze immediately to serve warm later. Makes 24 Morning Buns.

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