Adapted from Tartine. This recipe is time consuming and requires a lot of resting and chilling, but it’s really not bad if you spread the tasks out over 2-3 days. Plan accordingly. Trust me, it’s worth it.
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 22 tablespoons (2 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cool but pliable
Filling and Assembly
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar , plus more for the pan and dusting finished buns
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange zest (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Make the Preferment
- Heat milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warm (80-90 degrees is ideal). Transfer to a medium bowl, then stir in yeast. Let sit for a minute, then mix in flour until smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 2-3 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Make the Dough
- Place the preferment in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add yeast and mix on medium speed for about 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides and hook as needed.
- Add half the milk, then continue mixing on medium speed until fully incorporated. Add the remaining milk along with the flour, sugar, salt, and melted butter, then mix on low speed until it forms a shaggy dough, about 3 minutes. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Turn the mixer back on low speed and mix until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 3-4 minutes, but not any longer. Overmixing will cause the dough to become tough. Cover and let rise until the volume increases by half, about 1-2 hours.
- Dust a large work surface with flour, then place dough on top. Press into a rectangle about two inches thick. Wrap in plastic, then refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
Laminate the Dough
- About an hour before you’re ready to laminate the dough, place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with a paddle attachment until smooth and slightly softened. The goal is for the butter to be pliable enough to spread, but still cool and relatively firm. If the butter is too soft, it will ooze out of the dough. Once the butter is at the proper consistency, transfer to piece of plastic and form into a rectangle. Cover and refrigerate if the house is warm, otherwise leave it at room temperature until ready.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll dough into a 20”x10” rectangle with the long side facing you.
- Using your fingers and/or an offset spatula to spread the butter over the left two thirds of the dough, leaving the right third bare. Spread the butter as evenly as possible and leave a 1/2 inch border around the edges.
- Fold the bare third (on the right) over the buttered center, then fold the remaining buttered side (on the left) over that, like a letter. Gently pinch the seams together to encase the butter.
- Turn the dough 1/4 of the way so that the long end is facing you again, then roll into another 20”x10” rectangle, being careful not to release any of the butter. Fold the rectangle into thirds the same way you did before, then wrap loosely in plastic wrap, transfer to a sheet pan and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Return the dough to the work surface, dusting with more flour if needed. Carefully roll out into another 20”x10” rectangle and fold into thirds one more time. Rewrap in plastic wrap, then transfer to the refrigerator for an additional 1-2 hours or overnight. The dough may also be frozen at this point for up to 3 months.
Assemble the Morning Buns
- Mix together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.
- Brush the insides of a 12-cup muffin tin lightly with butter, then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Swirl the pan around to coat all sides with sugar, then tap out the excess (reserve for finishing the buns). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and roll out to a 16” x 12” rectangle with the long side facing you. Brush the rectangle all over with the remaining melted butter, then sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the top.
- Starting with the long side facing you, carefully roll dough into a tight log, then pinch the seams together to seal. Transfer to the parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Remove log from the refrigerator, then use a sharp knife to cut into 12 even pieces. Start by cutting directly down the center, then cut each half in half, then each half into thirds.
- Place each piece into a muffin cup, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and let proof somewhere warm until puffed up, about 1 hour.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the muffin tin on a foil-lined sheet pan to catch any drippings, then transfer to the oven. Bake until deep golden brown, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Generously dust the tops with granulated sugar as soon as they come out of the oven. Let the buns sit in the pan for about 2-3 minutes, then gently remove them from the pan and let cool upside down on a wire rack.
- Serve warm. Buns are best enjoyed the day-of, but any leftovers can be frozen for later.