You know how I bang on about recreating foodie delights? Well step up for the best recreation I’ve ever made! Morning buns are a delicious treat that are said to have originated in San Francisco’s bakery Tartine. They’re basically a croissant/cinnamon bun/muffin combo that is so so delicious. I haven’t yet made my way to San Francisco (though its definitely on the bucket list!), but I have been to the glorious Hoxton Bakehouse in Winchester where I tried their citrus morning bun. I just knew I needed to try and make my own, as it was delicious and the flavour combos are limitless! Also I live in London which is sadly too far away for a quick morning bun fix.
Tell me more!
Morning buns are perfect for a brunch, (though the dough needs to be started the night before). What I love about croissant dough is that as scary and impressive as it sounds, it really isn’t too much work to create. Most of the time is actually spent chilling the dough in the fridge. I do have a few pointers that have helped me though;
- If you can, buy french butter (I usually use President). French butter (and to be honest, most European butters) are drier, which means they have a higher butterfat percentage. This means less water in your butter, which gives your pastries more flavour and better flakiness!
- Rather than hammering a solid block of butter with a rolling pin for a good ten minutes (which most cookbooks seem to advise!?!). Instead, make an envelope out of baking paper and spread your softened butter inside in a thin layer. You can then place this in the fridge to chill and when it comes to adding the butter to the dough, its as simple as placing it on top.
- As with most doughs, remember that you are the boss. You created this beautiful thing, so when you’re doing your turns move it with precise and swift actions.
So what goes inside a morning bun?
Well, apparently I’m obsessed with earl grey at the moment (case in point, last week’s Vegan Tea & Toast Truffles), so these buns are filled with a sugar, earl grey and orange zest mix. I used the innards of earl grey teabags, (loose-leaf tea would be easier if you have it!) and I zested two fairly large oranges. The flavours come across so well, and goes PERFECTLY with a cup of tea.
To create the morning bun shape, you roll the dough out into a large rectangle, sprinkle over the sugar mix and roll it up as if you were going to make a cinnamon roll. I cut the roll into 12 pieces, and then popped these into a muffin tray. This helps the buns to keep their shape, and means the outside is caramelised to perfection.
Technically you don’t need to roll them in sugar after they’ve been baked, but I really think it adds to their look. And obviously makes them even more delicious! The buns are best served warm from the oven, so they’re perfect to feed a crowd at the breakfast table.
Give me the buns!
I have however tested how well they last over a few days (research obviously…!), and though they still taste great kept in tupperware. They are even better refreshed in the oven for 10 minutes. You can also freeze them. So if there’s only two of you at home (like in my household!) you’re not overwhelmed with buns. Though being overwhelmed with morning buns doesn’t sound like the worst thing…
These are caramelised and a little chewy on the outside. Bursting with flavour. Tender, pillowy and soft on the inside. I had two in a row the day I made them and I am not ashamed in the slightest. I really hope you give these a go, and fall in love with morning buns like I have!
On with the recipe:
Earl Grey Citrus Morning Buns
- 250 g plain flour
- 250 g strong white bread flour
- 7 g active dry yeast
- 50 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 250 ml full fat milk
- 1 egg
- 250 g unsalted butter room temperature (President if possible)
- 120 g butter melted but at room temperature
- 200 g golden caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- zest of 2 large oranges
- tea leaves from 4 Earl Grey teabags
- 1 medium egg
- For the dough: Place the flours into a large bowl. In a large jug, whisk together the yeast, sugar, salt, milk and egg. Then in a steady stream while mixing with your hand, pour the liquid mixture into the flours. Continue mixing/kneading until you have a smooth but sticky dough. Cover the bowl and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, using baking paper, fold to create an ‘envelope’ approx. 35x20cm. Then spread the softened butter on in a thin layer. Wrap the envelope and place into the fridge to chill.
- Roll the chilled pastry, on a lightly floured work surface, into a large rectangle (approx. 55x30cm), with the short edge facing you. Then place the chilled butter over the bottom two thirds of the dough. Fold the top third of the dough (without any butter) down onto the middle third. Then fold the bottom third up on top of this. Roll the pastry out again into a large rectangle (again, short end facing you) and fold like before. This is your first turn. Wrap the dough, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat the turning process another two times, then leave in the fridge overnight to rest.
- For the filling: The next morning, melt the butter. Then in a small bowl, mix the sugar, salt, orange zest and tea leaves together. Using a pastry brush spread a thin layer of butter in the muffin tins, and a sprinkling of the sugar mix (approx. 1tsp across 4 muffin tin holes). Then set aside.
- Roll the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, to approx. 60x40cm. Neaten up the edges with a knife to ensure your rectangle has straight edges. Then using a pastry brush, spread over the remaining melted butter. Then scatter the sugar mix (leaving 25g to the side) over the butter, ensuring its an even layer. Then gently press the sugar mix into the dough so it sticks.
- From the long edge, start rolling the dough up tightly until you have one long roll. Cut this into 12 even sections, and place each into a muffin tin hole. Cover loosely, and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Then beat the egg in a small bowl, and using a pastry brush, glaze the tops of each bun. Place in the oven for 40 minutes, turning the tins round half way through, until they are fairly dark golden brown. Tip the buns out onto a wire rack immediately (run a blunt knife around the edges if they get stuck) and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
- Place the remaining sugar mix into a baking tray, then roll the hot buns in the sugar to coat.