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.
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”.
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?
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
- Starter dough:
- 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.