Morning Buns

To learn more, read "Morning Edition" in our National edition.

Recipe adapted from Chris Phelps and Zak Walters, Salt's Cure, West Hollywood, CA

Morning Buns
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Heartier than a croissant but less sticky-gooey than a cinnamon bun, the crackly, sugar-coated morning bun pulls apart into beautiful, chewy layers. The latest bun we tried and loved is at West Hollywood's Salt Cure. Make their morning bun with our exclusive recipe and read more!
Prep Time
Cook Time
extra-large morning buns
Total time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
  • 9 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus a pinch active dry yeast, divided
  • 2¼ cups warm water
  • 5 sticks (1¼ pounds) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus 1 stick (¼ pound) melted
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • Zest of 4 oranges
  • 5 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups whole milk, warmed
  1. In a large bowl stir together 4 cups of bread flour, the water and a pinch of yeast. Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the 5 sticks of room temperature butter and ½ cup of the all-purpose flour and cream on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat until smooth. Transfer half of the butter (10 ounces) to a large sheet of plastic wrap and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap. Use a rolling pin to lightly roll the butter into a 8-inch by 6-inch rectangle that is about ½-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining butter and 2 more sheets of plastic wrap.
  3. To the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour-water mixture, the remaining 5 cups of bread flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, warm milk and the remaining 1 tablespoon of yeast. Use a wooden spoon to combine the mixture until the ingredients are moistened. Set the bowl on the stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat the dough on medium speed until it is smooth (it will be loose). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface roll the dough to a 13-inch by 9-inch rectangle that is about 1-inch thick. Unwrap one of the butter rectangles and place it in the center of the dough (it won't completely cover the area of the dough). Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter. Repeat, rolling the dough to a 13-inch by 9-inch rectangle and giving it another business fold. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Repeat with the other piece of dough and the other butter rectangle. After 1 hour, repeat the folding with each piece of dough twice (so each piece of dough will get 4 business-letter-style folds). Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour (or overnight).
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, add the remaining 4 cups of the sugar and orange zest. Use your fingers to rub the mixture together until the sugar is fragrant and tinted.
  6. Set an extra-large cupcake tin, several oven-safe bowls, or several loaf pans on your work surface (you may need to bake off the morning buns in 2 batches depending on how many tins/bowls/loaf pans you have). Brush the interior of each vessel with some of the melted butter, then add 3 tablespoons of the orange sugar (if using a loaf pan which will fit 2 buns, use 6 tablespoons of sugar). Tilt the vessel to evenly coat the bottom and sides with sugar.
  7. Set a piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll it to a 15-inch by 9-inch rectangle. Spread 1 cup of the orange-sugar over the surface. Starting at the bottom, roll the dough up into a 15-inch long log. Divide the dough into 5 segments, each about 3-inches wide. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
  8. Set a dough segment into each cup/bowl/loaf pan, press down on it slightly, and place the vessels on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap, and set aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  9. Bake the rolls until the tops are golden-brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven and invert the rolls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Once the rolls are cool, dip them into the remaining orange-sugar before serving.
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