These soft, slightly sour breakfast rolls from my new book, Heirloom: Time-Honored Techniques, Nourishing Traditions, and Modern Recipes, are easily assembled and make a rustic but impressive presentation. If you prefer a less fermented flavor, prepare a sweeter leaven as described for the Sourdough Challah (page 157), using honey or sugar and placing your starter in a warm location while you perform frequent feedings. You may prepare this in a large cast-iron pan or place each individual roll in the depressions of a muffin pan for easily transportable snacks. They are amazing served warm from the oven after being iced!
Make the dough: When your starter is bubbly and active, add the milk, egg, butter, and sugar to the bowl and stir to combine. Add the flours, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt and mix with your hand until well hydrated and no lumps remain. Cover with an inverted bowl or plastic wrap and allow to bulk ferment at room temperature for about 4 hours, turning and folding every hour.
Make the filling and prepare the rolls: Grease a muffin pan well with butter. In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom, until consistently combined.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat it into a flattened rectangular shape. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a 61/2 × 12-inch rectangle. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the dough. Using a dough scraper to assist, roll the dough lengthwise to create a long coil. Pinch the seam to seal and lightly roll to slightly elongate it. Place on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes to harden, then remove from the freezer and unwrap. Cut into rounds about 1 inch thick. Twist two rounds around each other and press them into the muffin pan. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the pan. Cover with a kitchen towel, then plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
To bake: Remove the rolls from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you are to bake them for a final proof and preheat the oven to 375°F. The rolls should feel puffy and soft when gently poked with your finger. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the tops are oozing and golden brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then remove the rolls to a wire rack.
If you are making the glaze: Heat the butter in a small saucepan until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until no lumps remain. Sift in the powdered sugar a little at a time, alternating with the lemon juice and/or coffee if you wish the mixture to be more pourable. Run the glaze through a strainer to remove any lumps, add a dollop of glaze to the top of each roll, and glaze the sides generously.
Sarah Owens is a New York City based cookbook author, baker, horticulturist, and instructor. She was awarded a James Beard for her first book Sourdough and released her second in August 2017 titled Toast & Jam with Roost Books. Sarah curates private dining events, cooks for public pop-up dinners, and teaches baking and preservation gobally. Her subscription and wholesale bakery BK17bakery.com is located seaside in Rockaway Beach where she also teaches the alchemy and digestive benefits of natural leavening.