While visiting with family over the holiday, I knew that we were going to have an excuse for a delicious breakfast. No cereal or yogurt this morning! After sifting through ideas of baked French toast, numerous egg dishes..all of which sounded delicious...I finally decided to make a wonderful Morning Bun recipe. Growing up in the Bay Area, I am very familiar with the few local bakeries that produce Morning Buns, and remember the rare times when I could run by the bakery to get a hot bun and coffee on my way off to high school on a chilly morning.
This recipe, I adapted from The Kitchn, and while there are a lot of steps, it is not complicated and makes an impressive breakfast. I was lucky enough to cook these in a wood burning out door oven, which was so rustic and the rolls turned out perfectly! However, on my first attempt at this recipe, I left them in my oven too long and slightly charred them... I was trying to clean the house at the same time- thinking I was a completely capable super domestic goddess. Ha. Not so. After all my waiting for the dough to rise and then waiting for them to cook, I was SO disappointed.
Tip: Set the oven timer, and forget cleaning the house.
Below is the recipe adapted from The Kitchn
2 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup milk, warmed (not hot)
1 3/4 cups flour (divided into 3/4 cup and 1 cup)
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
1 large yolk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Stir the water and yeast together in a small mixing bowl until the yeast dissolves, then stir in the milk. Add just 3/4 cup of the flour and stir until it forms a smooth batter. Cover the bowl and let it sit for at least 20 minutes or up to 60 minutes. In this time, it should rise to twice its original size and you should see lots of little bubbles on the surface.
In a small bowl, combine the eggs, yolk, and almond extract. Stir this into the rising yeast mixture.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the remaining cup of flour, the sugar, and the salt. Pour the yeast-egg mixture into the flour and stir until it becomes a shaggy dough. Then knead this dough on medium-high speed until it comes together and becomes smooth, five minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and start adding the butter in blobs, waiting until the blob is nearly incorporated before adding the next. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Once all the butter has been added, increase the mixer speed back to medium-high and knead the dough for 10 minutes. I actually find that kneading by hand is actually more efficient than the dough hook. The dough should come together in a ball, look glossy and supple, and jiggle like a custard if you tap it with your spatula.
Turn the dough out into a clean bowl, cover, and let rise for about an hour and half, until doubled in size. Put dough in the refrigerator and let it rest overnight (or up to two days). It may rise a little more in the fridge before cooling completely down. You can punch the dough down if it looks like it will rise over the edge of the bowl.
The next morning, turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out to roughly 10" by 8," or 1/2" thick. Use more flour as needed if the dough is sticking to the work surface or your rolling pin. Brush the dough with melted butter, leaving an inch of un-buttered dough at the top (this will be the seam). Sprinkle the buttered areas with the sugar. Roll the dough up and pinch it closed at the seam.
Using a pastry cutter or a chef's knife, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Spray a muffin tin liberally with non-stick spray, including the wells and the surface of the tin. Nestle each roll into a well, pressing gently to make sure it settles in the bottom. Cover the tin and let the rolls rise for about an hour, until they're just starting to peak over the tops of the wells.
Fifteen minutes before baking (when the rolls are almost to the top of the tins), preheat the oven to 375°.
Uncover the rolls and bake them for 25-30 minutes. If the rolls turn golden brown about halfway through cooking, cover them lightly with foil to protect the edges from burning.
Let the rolls cool just until you can handle them. Melt the butter in a small bowl and combine the cinnamon and sugar in a second bowl. Using a little pasty brush or just a little spoon spread each roll with the melted butter and then sprinkle it with the cinnamon-sugar.