Hey there food lovers! Its been a while. Life has been quite crazy here. We all have had quite an adjustment with baby girl, but things are finally getting back to normal. I have so many things to share with you from the last 8 weeks, so be on the look out for some new posts.
Today, I will talk morning buns, a treasure I discovered at the Tartine bakery in SF. The morning bun is similar to a cinnamon bun in that you roll it up with goodness inside, but different because it uses croissant dough, adds citrus and is tossed in sugar, after it gets caramelized while baking.
If you can’t get to The Mission District to enjoy this treat, fear not, you can make them at home! Be sure to get yourself the Tartine Bakery Cookbook for the croissant dough recipe and check out 7x7 for the morning bun recipe. When creating this masterpiece, give yourself at least 2 days for the total process. You could make everything in one day, but then you’d need to enjoy your fresh morning bun in the evening. It takes me at least two days to complete the process, but usually I stretch it to three.
I know what you are thinking, 3 days!?! Believe me its worth it. I will highlight a few of the steps and show a few pictures of the process here. The first thing that needs to be made is the preferment. This doughy, yeasty mixture is what allows the dough to rise. I always make the preferment the night before I make the dough because it needs 3-4 hours of rise time, or overnight in the refrigerator. It is easier to mix it and throw it in the fridge so you can start fresh in the morning with the croissant dough.
Once the preferment has risen, it is time to make the dough. This is the longest process as it needs about 4-6 hours of rise and rest time. The gluten, found in the flour, needs to rest so that the dough does not turn out tough and chewy. We are looking for flakey and buttery here. Speaking of butter, once you get through the waiting time, you’ll need to laminiate the dough. Lamination is a process where you paint your dough with butter then fold it and roll it out a few times. Please do not faint over how much butter is used. Without it, the dough will not have that delicious, peel apart, layer by layer quality that is ever so important to the integrity of a morning bun.
First, the dough is rolled into a long plaque. Then, use your hands to spread the butter over 2/3 of the plaque.
Next, fold the dough into thirds, as if folding a letter to place in an evelope, starting with the unbuttered end. Once folded, pinch the sides together, turn a quarter turn, roll out the dough again, and fold once more. After this is complete the dough needs to go in the fridge for about an hour and a half before making one final turn.
Once the final turn is made, the dough needs to be in the freezer for at least an hour. I leave the dough in the freezer until right before bed time, and then take it out and place in the fridge overnight to “thaw.” This way it will be ready for the morning.
In the morning, if you want to eat the buns around 10:00am, you will want to start around 7am. When you are ready to start, take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out to the specified dimensions, paint with melted unsalted butter, then fill with the morning bun mix, including, sugar, brown sugar, and orange zest. The orange zest is key!
Then comes the fun part. Roll the dough into a long tube, try to keep as much filling in as you can. Then, cut the dough into one inch rounds and place in a prepared muffin tin. By prepared I mean, rubbed with butter and coated with sugar. This helps the buns caramelize while baking. Once the buns are snuggly in the muffin tins, they need to rise for about 2 hours, or until twice the size. They puff up pretty good!
One of the most IMPORTANT parts of baking is to place these buns on a cookie sheet, otherwise you’ll get a nice little fire in your oven from butter drippings. Place these babies in the oven and bake 20-45 minutes. In my oven, they only take about 20 min, but the recipe says 45 min. Keep checking on them so they do not over bake. You want them to be a nice dark golden brown.
Congrats! You’ve done it! Dump these buns onto parchment paper to cool a little and then toss in some sugar prior to serving, then ENJOY!
When I eat my morning bun, I like to pull it apart a little, layer by layer to enjoy the delicate fluff that formed from the butter. This way you can get hints of all the ingredients, a bit of crunch from the sugar and caramelization, soft gooeyness from the sugar mix, and a refreshing burst of citrus from the orange zest. Best of all, I save the middle for last! Talk about buttery goodness. My mouth is watering as I write this paragraph. Yum! Please try this recipe, impress your friends, and most importantly, enjoy!