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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Morning Buns

By now many of you are familiar with Morning Buns--somewhat incorrectly named because this baker tends to enjoy them with her cup of afternoon tea or even for supper.
Morning Buns getting their sugar coating

What are they? you ask. In generalities they are cinnamon rolls made with croissant dough and a touch of orange zest added to the filling. Sounding good yet? They are not your average Cinnabun, although those are delicious in their own right. They are flakey and slightly crispy and the filling cooks down into an orange-cinnamon-sugar syrup which coats the bottom of the bun and caramelizes.

For this creation I have two sources to thank: Tartine and Julia Child. I first tried a morning bun at Tartine in San Francisco, and thought to myself "I need to learn how to make these." I found Tartine's recipe which called for croissant dough, butter and the filling. After several batches, I came up with a variation of their ratios which suited my taste (I believe I have told many of you that I make that which I crave). I still had to figure out croissant dough though.

This is where Julia Child came to the rescue. Page 100 in volume 1 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking details the first recipe I tried. For a novice bread maker, looking at a recipe which takes 12 hours to make seemed a little daunting, but I don't think my first attempt was too bad if you were just expecting a dinner roll. The basic  steps are as follows:
        1)Make dough.
        2)Let it rise, and punch down, let chill
        3)Perform the beurrage (butter layering technique involving a heavy rolling pin and REALLY cold butter)
        4)Fold the dough like an envelope, and roll it out again and chill, Repeat 3-5 times
        5)Ready for use as croissants, pigs in a blanket or Morning buns

The Folding of the dough is what makes it so special. In essence what is happening is that you are tripling the number of layers of butter for every fold you make. Each time the layers between the butter and dough are getting smaller and more wafer thin like. After so many folds you have a dough which will make delicate layers.

Because of Julia's guidance I have created the recipe I use today

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