I need a warm, carb-filled breakfast to brave these chilly winter mornings - the days of fresh fruit yogurt parfaits have long since past. Unfortunately, warm often means time consuming. I do not consider myself a particularly proactive person, but when it comes to having a warm breakfast, I get my ass in gear. Somewhat similar to english muffins, these breakfast buns (not to be confused with morning buns) are the perfect way to combat a cold weekday morning. I, like most people, do not have 3 hours to bake bread in the morning, but luckily, these freeze wonderfully and can be made over the weekend to cure your Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday morning blues (blues are not permitted on Fridays). Toast one with some peanut butter and you have a protein packed breakfast (well, sort of).
1. In a small saucepan, heat milk until it begins to bubble. Remove from heat and add butter. Allow to cool until lukewarm.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the flour, sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Mix until uniformly combined.
3. When the milk and butter mixture have cooled to lukewarm, empty the contents of the yeast packet into the saucepan. Stir until combined and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
4. In a container with a pour lip (large liquid measuring cup), lightly beat the eggs and vanilla. After the yeast mixture has sat, combine it with the egg mixture.
5. Add the wet ingredients (the yeast and egg mixture) to the dry ingredients on low speed. Allow the mixture to come together into a uniform dough.
6. Place dough into a large bowl that has been lightly greased with vegetable or canola oil. Flip the dough twice in the bowl so that the oil coats the outside of the dough (this prevents it from forming a "skin"). Allow the dough to rest in the bowl, covered with plastic wrap, for 90 minutes.
7. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly greased surface. Cut the dough into 10 uniform-sized pieces.
8. Shape the dough into tight balls. I recommend this video tutorial on shaping rolls. Space the rolls about 2" apart. Gently cover rolls with plastic wrap and allow to sit 40 minutes.
9. Place the dough rolls on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using the palm of your hand, flatten the rolls so they are approximately 4" in diameter and more bun-like. Space about 2" apart. (I have to use two baking sheets). Cover the buns with another piece of parchment paper and place a second baking sheet on top of them. This will allow them to keep their density and shape. Rest for an additional 45 minutes.
10. While the dough rests for the final time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
11. After they have finished resting, place in the preheated oven with the second baking sheet on top. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until both sides of the bun are golden brown and the inside is cooked through. Cool.