Glazed Cranberry Milk Buns

October 11, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 12 rolls
Author Notes

These glazed cranberry milk buns make the perfect holiday breakfast. They are soft, gooey, and swirled with a juicy cranberry compote that leaves the buns lightly tart and pleasantly sticky. What makes these buns so special is how soft and fluffy they are—almost doughnut-like. The dough employs tangzhong— a cooked paste of flour and milk—to give them their plush texture.

Tangzhong is a mixture of flour and milk (or sometimes water) that gets cooked on the stove before being added to the final dough. It starts out liquid but becomes thick and stretchy when heated. This means that the dough can hold a lot more moisture without becoming un-workably wet, and a higher hydration dough will always yield softer and fluffier bread. This method also keeps the bread fresher for longer and prevents it from drying out.

This is a wet dough—it’s sticky. That’s what gives these rolls their amazing texture. If you have never worked with a high-hydration dough before, you may initially find it hard to work with, but, there is nothing to be afraid of! The trick to handling a wet dough is to use a lot of flour. When the dough is turned out onto a work surface, make sure that the surface has a generous sprinkling of flour on it, then flour the top of the dough before trying to touch it or roll it out. Even give your hands a light coating of flour before your work with the dough. It may seem like you are using a lot, but any excess can be brushed off later.

These rolls are best served the day they are made. They will still be delicious a day later, but the bread will have absorbed some of the liquid from the cranberries and the texture will be a little less light. Store leftover rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days or freeze for up to one month.
Zola Gregory

What You'll Need
  • For the cranberry compote:
  • 10 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Tangzhong:
  • 3 tablespoons bread flour
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • For the final dough:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling dough
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • For assembly:
  • 3 tablespoons room temperature salted butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • For the icing:
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice or milk
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  1. em>Make the cranberry compote: Combine the cranberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy, about 5 minutes. Transfer the compote to a shallow dish and refrigerate until ready to use. (This can be made 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated in an airtight container.)
  2. Make the tangzhong: Combine flour and milk in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture becomes very thick and stretchy, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the tangzhong to the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  3. Make the dough: Add butter to the bowl with the tangzhong; the heat will begin to melt it. Let cool for 3 minutes. Add the sugar, salt, milk, egg, yolks, flour, and yeast. Take the dough hook attachment in your hand and use it to briefly mix the ingredients together, until some of the flour is absorbed and the mixture is partially incorporated.
  4. Mix on medium-low speed using the dough hook attachment for about 10 minutes. When finished, the dough should be soft and tacky.
  5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set aside in a warm place to rise until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a generously floured board.
  7. Assemble the rolls: Roll the dough into a 12x18 inch rectangle. Orient the dough so that a long side is facing you and spread the softened butter all over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Sprinkle sugar over the butter. Break up the cranberry filling with a spoon as it will have become solid once cooled. Spread the filling in a thin, even layer over the butter and sugar.
  8. Roll the dough up into a tight log, starting from long end nearest you and rolling away. Before sealing the roll, brush away excess flour so that the dough sticks to itself better. Wrap log in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours, to firm before cutting.
  9. Once chilled, unwrap the dough. Using a bench scraper, slice into 12 equal pieces. To do this, first cut it into quarters, then cut each quarter into three pieces. (Unflavored dental floss may also be used to cleanly slice rolls.)
  10. Brush a 9x13 inch pan with butter. Arrange the rolls in prepared pan. Cover and let rise for 30 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size and puffy. To test for a full rise, press the side of one roll with the flat side of your finger—it should leave an imprint.
  11. As the second rise is coming to an end, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake rolls for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. An instant-read thermometer should register 190°F.
  12. Make the glaze: In a medium bowl combine the orange juice or milk with the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Whisk until smooth.
  13. Pour the glaze over the hot rolls and use a spoon or offset spatula to distribute it evenly over each roll. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

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