Amidst all this party reviewing and inspiration board promoting, you probably had no idea I've been hanging on to a big secret for 5 months... I'm pregnant! It's our first child so needless to say it's been an exciting and overwhelming couple of months. We had our 20 week ultrasound screening on Monday and in addition to learning that everything is going smoothly so far, we found out that we're having a little girl! We're both thrilled, but oh my poor husband... he's going to be surrounded by women (including the cat and the dog). I knew you'd all be happy to share in my news, and now that I'm going to be a mommy you can feel free to impart all your worldly parenting wisdom my way.
In honor of the occasion, I thought it was appropriate to post a recipe for my favorite breakfast pastry: morning buns. They're incredibly time consuming and painstaking to make, but so deliciously worthwhile... sound about right?
It is best to make these over two days. Make the dough the first day (it can take about 8 hours), leave it in the refrigerator overnight and bake the buns in the morning. They absolutely must be eaten while they’re hot and fresh.
2 oz. (1/2 cup plus 4 1/2 tsp. Dry nonfat milk powder
2 1/3 cups cold water
2 1/2 lb. (8cups) unbleached flour
5 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 lb. (48 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 2-inch cubes,
2 Tbs. Unbleached flour (about)
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground clove
Proof the yeast by dissolving the dry yeast in a small amount of warm water, sugar and flour. Next, combine the yeast with the nonfat milk powder, water, flour and salt to form a lumpy under mixed dough. (Don’t over knead or the buns will be tough.)
Croissant dough needs to be kept cold. Cover a bowl with the dough in it and let it rise in the refrigerator for one to two hours, until it has doubled in size.
Next, add the flour to the softened butter by knead it into the butter. You must use the best unsalted butter. The better the butter, the less water it has in it.
Roll out the butter mixed with flour between two pieces of floured waxed paper. Form it into a 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator. The butter should be chilled to the consistency of modeling clay. If it’s too cold it will break into chunks and if it’s too warm, it will be absorbed too much into the dough.
When the dough and butter are evenly chilled, roll the chilled dough into an 18 x 12-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Unwrap the chilled butter and lay it on the upper two-thirds of the rolled dough. Fold the lower (unbuttered) third over the center third. Bring the upper third down over the center, as if you were folding a letter. Make it into an even rectangle.
Then turn the dough 90 degrees, so the short open ends are at 6 and 12 o’clock. Roll the dough until it doubles in length, rolling toward the open ends, not toward the folds. Fold in thirds again, as you would a letter. Rotate 90 degrees again, doubling in length and fold again. After the two turns, seal the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours. Then repeat the set of two turns again and follow by refrigerating overnight. The cold rest keeps the butter from melting and oozing into the dough. If the dough shrinks rather than expands and won’t roll out after one of its refrigerated periods, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes.
The dough can be frozen for future use at this point if you are now bored with the whole idea of making the buns. However, if you are up to it, take the dough out the next morning. It will be only slightly larger than when the turns were completed.
Roll out the finished dough, dust it with a mixture of the brown sugar and spices, roll it into a tight coil and cut into individual rounds. Put each round into a greased muffin tin and be sure each is firmly in contact with the bottom of the pan. (Otherwise the air in-between will burn the buns. Don’t let the dough get too warm as you are working it. Keep putting it in the refrigerator if necessary.
Now there is one more rising, this time in a warm spot. It should take about 45 minutes. It is ready when you poke your finger in the side of the pastry and the indentation remains.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. If the top starts to burn during baking, cover with foil. And put foil under the muffin tin to catch any drips.