easy laminated nutella morning buns

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LONG, LIKE WAIST-DEEP

GANDALF GONE WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

LATELY, I’ve been running into the same remark that brings attention to something I would not have otherwise noticed.  Not on my naturally rustic… understated beauty, nor my deeply reflective overstated fashion.  But, people have been saying to me that they didn’t realize – shit, even I didn’t realize – that my hair has grown, ungovernably… looooong.  Yes, yes they are loooong.  Not prince-bait-golden-Rapenzul long, or mysterious-darkness-of-the-night-Pantene-commercial long, but like, waist-deep-Gandalf-gone-Where-The-Wild-Things-Are long.  Staring at my almost-fire-hazardous self in the mirror, I have come to the unlikely yet true explanation for such disregard …

Simply, I don’t have time for hair-salon.

Madness!  What have I – a mid-30 unemployed female who doesn’t believe in happiness before 1 PM because that’s evidently sleep-deprived illusions – any excuses to look like a historical ruin?  Upon the horrid awakening, I was forced into re-examining, what exactly, consumed my otherwise abundant span of the day.  Then, I realized they are all utterly meaningless, yet indispensable, segments of tasks.

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For example, I alone, am in charge of managing a complicated network of online shopping-carts, lame as you may judge, but the mistakes in which can result in catastrophic, redundant ownership of two grey-knit cardigans.  Then, I spend a savaging amount of time and patience failing at uploading my daily files onto any number of Cloud systems, kind of like… trying to send your kids to oversea boarding-schools to avoid local contaminations.  Shrugs~ you try living in a shit-hole.  Then at any given recess, over the past 3 years really, I have been plotting a dangerous yet flawless scheme to cheat my way through the written-exam of Beijing’s driver’s license (facetime in the front-pocket, bluetooth hidden in the ear-hole, live-fed intels from the central-command-station…), the need for which has become increasingly dire by the day, to take my immobile clan onto a much-needed road trip.  Then in general, of course, … reading Pinterest-articles… eating canned sardines…

See now, justifiably, my day is split up by many crucial meaninglessness.  Some, can even end up being an underwhelming waste of time.  But sometimes… sometimes, things happen that makes Gandalf-hair-days all worth while.  Sometimes, I’m too busy, because I’m making laminated Nutella morning buns.

Wait.  That’s not entirely accurate.  Sometimes I’m too busy because I’m making EASY laminated Nutella morning buns.  Because I don’t need to spend a word, selling you either “Nutella”, “morning”, or “buns”.  The focus, is on “easy laminated”.

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It helps to clarify that if you were a creature of speed who marvels more at efficiencies, such as this blueberry oatmeal cookies or microwavable decadence, you probably won’t fancy such non-sense even with my strongest endorsement.  But if you consider yourself, reasonably, to fall right between the lazies and the crazies, in the fertile fruit-bearing land where surprises and glories come as a result of reasonable efforts, then there’s nothing more exhilarating than knowing that – you can shortcut your way through a butter-laminated dough.  Yes, the road to pastry-hell is paved with good intentions… to simplify.  I mean simply-just is often dangerous.  Simply-just gives you brick-hard cakes and heart-crushing flat biscuits.  Simply-just LIES.  But, I assure you, this discovery is a rare face-pinching exception.  In simply just two folding-effort with just one chilling at the end, you can miraculously achieve these lavish layers of yeasted dough and butter in a fraction of time.

The best thing about this is, if it could get any “best-er” as it is, that you could spend 3 hours the night before and let these proof in the the fridge overnight, then in the next morning, a 15 ~ 20 minutes in a preheated oven, is not a bad rally to restore my lack of faith in morning-happiness.  Hey, I could believe it more if you tell me that everybody, on one level or the other, looks a bit Gandalf-ish in the morning…  Right?

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Makes: 8 ~ 7 buns

I’ve made this dough a number of times and amaze at how well it works every time.  And this time the laminating gets even EASIER, because the recipe is halved and more manageable!  It’s quite fool-proof if you just keep to a few points as that I’ve mentioned before, which I’ll repeat again:

The butter and the dough should have an equal softness/density for the layering to execute perfectly.  Meaning, they should both behave, or spread similarly when pressure is applied (the rolling).  So room-temperature dough with semi-soften butter, can create layers almost as efficiently as cold dough and cold butter (which is what’s been generally practiced, only that it takes a gazillion-times longer).  Another thing is, don’t go crazy trying to create 100 layers within a relatively thin dough!  Over a certain threshold, you’ll just be forcing the butter to merge with the dough and you’ll have yourself some… brioche!  I think a good, down-to-earth 25~30 layers is well enough for a down-home morning bun.

This dough isn’t really a croissant dough.  It uses much less butter, and therefore more “bread-y” and less hollow. But I’m wondering if it could yield a copycat – gaaasps – cronut.  Maybe one day after I’ve actually tried one…

* In this particular recipe, 1 cup = 250 ml.


Ingredients: adapted from speed-folding peanut sugar buns

  • The dough:
    • Starter dough:
      • 1 cup (135 grams) of bread flour
      • 1/8 tsp of instant dry yeast
      • 1/2 cup (132 grams) of warm water, 110~115ºF/45ºC
    • 1 cup + 2 tbsp (160 grams) of bread flour
    • 1/4 cup (43 grams) of dark brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp (12 grams) of natural cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp of instant dry yeast
    • 1/4 tsp of salt
    • 1/3 cup (80 grams) of warm whole milk, 110~115ºF/45ºC
  • Butter dough:
    • 10 tbsp (141 grams) of unsalted butter, cold
    • 3 tbsp (24 grams) of flour
  • Nutella spread, softened at room-temperature

To prepare the dough:  Make the starter-dough.  Combine 1 cup of bread flour and 1/8 tsp of instant dry yeast in a bowl.  Microwave 1/2 cup of water on high for approx 30 seconds (it should be very warm but doesn’t burn your finger), then mix with the flour/yeast-mixture until a craggy dough forms.  Set aside for 30 min.

Meanwhile, mash the cold butter and 3 tbsp of flour together in another bowl, until very smoothly and evenly combined.  Set aside at room-temperature (or in the fridge if your room is very warm).

Add the starter-dough, the rest of the bread flour, dark brown sugar, natural cocoa powder, instant dry yeast and salt in a stand-mixer bowl with dough-hook attachment.  Microwave the whole milk on high for approx 30 seconds (again, very warm but doesn’t burn your finger), then add to the bowl as well.  Start mixing on low speed until a cohesive dough forms, then increase to medium-high speed and knead for 6 ~ 8 min, until the dough is shiny and elastic.  The dough should be quite sticky, but pulls away from the bowl while the machine is running.  * You can also knead the dough with your hands inside a large bowl.

Dust the working surface with flour, then transfer the dough on top.  Roll the dough into a long, 3 1/2″ x 18″ sheet (12 cm x 60 cm).  Try to get it as straight-edged as possible, then trim off the round/irregular ends if you must.  Then scatter the butter-dough in dollops, evenly over the top, then smooth it out into a thin layer with your fingers.  Wash your hands, then fold the dough 5 times from one end to the other, at about every 3″ segment.  Pinch the two opening-sides together and make sure it sticks tightly together, then turn the dough 90 degrees.  Poke a few very small holes for the air inside to escape (this makes the rolling much easier), then roll again into a long, 3 1/2″ x 15″ (12 cm x 50 cm) sheet.  If the dough springs back, gently hold down one end with one hand, and roll it out with the other hand (see photo).  Now, fold the dough 4 times from one end to the other, again at about every 3″ segment.

That’s it.  You’ll have, more-or-less, a rectangular brick of laminated dough.  Place the dough on a sheet-tray and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill for 2 hours.

After chilling, transfer the dough onto a lightly dusted surface, then roll into a 6″ x 12″ (20 cm x 40 cm) sheet.  Spread a generous layer of softened Nutella (must be soft!) over the top, then scroll it length-wise into a long roll.  Trim off the irregular ends if you must (I did), then with a serrated knife, cut into 7 ~ 8 segments about 1 1/2″ wide.  Place each small rolls into large muffin-baking-molds, cover with plastic wrap and let proof for 1.5 to 2 hour at a warm place, until expanded about 70~80% (not fully doubled).  Or you can let it proof in the fridge overnight, for a true lazy “morning” buns.

To bake the rolls:  Preheat the oven at 400ºF/200ºC.  Bake the rolls for 15 ~ 20 min until puffed and browned.

Serve warm!!

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36 Comments

  • Bahaha, I love long hair!!! Let those locks flow free <3 and O. MG THESE BUNS. I'm still afraid of any laminated dough, but you're coaxing me into trying it…… especially with this GRAPHIC, which is beyond incredible. And, obviously, these gorgeous Nutella beauties. YUM.

  • Could these buns be anymore perfect?! I think not! I love your technique for the dough and it has save me many times. Mostly when I am in need of buttery, flaky bread but lack the dexterity of a full lamination (aka. all the time)
    I could not agree with you more on the happiness ONLY occurring after 1pm. Everyone who wants me to wake up is making me join in their misery.

  • join the club of rustic hair! ain’t nobody got time for a salon when there are buns to be made. i couldn’t believe my eyes when i saw the words “easy” and “laminated” together, but here we are. these photos and that diagram are epic.

  • Once upon a time, I had long mermaid hair too, so I totally feel ya on the hair woes. That being said, I chopped it all off and am now faced with the predicament of how not to look like a little boy when I try to tie it back. Regarding these beautiful “easy” laminated nutella morning buns, I’m obsessed. They are so so beautiful and that diagram makes me actually want to attempt them. Thanks for being so thorough and making this seem approachable!

  • There are so many better things to do with time than hair….Once mine got long enough my laziness returned with a vengeance and now my mane permanently resides in all manner of bun. I MUST make these rolls. They look SO good!!!

  • got long hair and i just don’t care! hands-up i look a bit gandalf-ish in the morning (minus the beard). this dough looks amazing! and love, love, love your graphic – really breaks it down :)

  • I had that sort of long hair – until the day after my last law class – when I suddenly, regretfully – decided to cut it off. *sigh* Maybe we’re just never happy with what we’ve got.

    On the other hand, I think I’d be happy with a Nutella morning bun. These look great.

  • OMG Mandy you are manic, I love it. Thank you.
    Where do you get your ingredients in Beijing?

    Thanks

  • Hi Mandy,
    I don’t own large muffin-baking molds/pans. Can I use regular/standard-sized muffin-baking molds for proofing and baking instead? (If not, what would you suggest for a replacement?)
    Love your writing style and recipes, I’ve been experimenting with several of your creations lately with great success :)
    Thanks in advance!

    • I actually used regular muffin molds for these :) but thought they could use more leg-room so I wrote XL molds in the recipe. If you don’t mind them sticking together (like cinnamon rolls), you can also bake them together in a cake pan.

  • Love the graphic at the end! Nice touch :)

    And also – DAMN your honesty is refreshing. Even if there were no photos, no recipes, or no awesome graphics to gawk at, I’d still have your site favorited, because your writing provides a MUCH-needed respite from an increasingly mundane blogosphere of “DIY Halloween Bunting” and “10 Paper Crafts For Fall!” BS. Reading about your work in avoiding duplicate sweater purchases was more entertaining than anything I’ve read this week. Thanks for being an original (and kindred) voice!

  • I love the sound of ‘easy!’. I find there is never enough time in the day, but there is always enough for me to lay lazily on the couch for hours on end and still complain about the lack of time so this recipe is speaking wonders to me right now! I lovelovelove the infographic illustration at the end. I’m such a visual person.

  • I wish I looked like Gandalf in the morning. It would be an improvement over the zombie bitten by a vampire look I seem to have mastered.

  • Was wondering if you’ve ever tried using a sourdough starter instead of the instant yeast? My little sourdough baby is sitting about waiting to be used and well, these look delicious!

  • Could these be proofed in the fridge overnight+ the following day then baked the next morning? For example,I was hoping I could proof them Friday night and not bake them til Sunday morning. Please let me know if this would work!

    • Joanna: hm.. that’s a long time of proofing in the fridge. I’ve never tried it so I don’t know if they’ll get humongous or something (in my own baking-horror movie… and they went on to eat all the other vegetables in the fridge….). I mean try it. Or maybe leave them in the freezer for the first night (friday night), then move it to the fridge to thaw and proof the next day (Saturday morning)?

  • You don’t need to purchase starter for sourdough, make your own. All you need is equal parts water and flour, mix in a glass jar and cover with a cloth and keep in the fridge after the first few days. Feed daily with flour and water, weekly after it’s in the fridge. Use one cup per batch of whatever, cookies, cake, rolls, waffles, muffins! Thank you so much for the recipe. I will be using it for clients of mine for breakfast! So excited!

  • I’ve made these three times now and they are utterly gorgeous, though mine never look half as pretty as yours. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Thank you for this beautiful recipe however I have run into some issues. I know you stated this is not a croissant dough recipe however the folding and rolling seem a bit similar. I have made several batches of croissants in the past however I am struggling with this recipe. I added the butter, completed the 5 folds, poked the holes and got ready to do the 90 degree turn to roll out the dough again after pinching the sides and the butter started oozing out. I put the dough in the frig for a little bit to all it to rest and for the butter to become more solid. I also chilled my hands thinking my hands were warm, my home is not warm. Help. I attempted to roll it out, again with butter oozing out and completed the second set of folds. Any tips on how to ensure this doesn’t happen again. I am hoping to enjoy these buns in the morning with my neighbor along with a cup a coffee. I will definitely give this recipe another try, another day, but any tips you can give me now would be greatly appreciated. I noticed when the dough came out of the mixer, it wasn’t as sticky as I expected and it was extremely tight. Is this normal? Thanks in advance. Praying for successful buns in the morning and a new found recipe to impress my friends and family with.

    • Tracy, if your dough is too hard it can definitely affect the process! The dough has to be soft and supple so it rolls out easily with the butter, instead of pushing them out. Also, when you fold the dough, make sure you pinch the sides together to close so the butter doesn’t go out from the sides. It’s is perfectly ok that some small bits of butter escapes and made a tiny mess.

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