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Healthier Breakfast Bread: Sourdough Cinnamon Buns

Traditional cinnamon buns rely on lots of butter, sugar, eggs, and sometimes oil or vegetable shortening for their texture and flavor. Sourdough Cinnamon Buns get their flavor and rise from the sourdough process. The buns take longer to make, admittedly, but most of the time is "hands off," rising time. Rather than loads of butter and other bad things, the buns come out soft and fluffy with a minimum of "healthy" fat from canola oil. The buns also are sweetened with a bit of honey. What's inside the buns? Brown sugar, cinnamon, and toasted nuts provide plenty of sweetness and flavor without weighing down the buns and making them "butt" buns. These cinnamon buns are delicious as well as offering the health benefits of sourdough. Try them for a special breakfast or a treat with coffee or tea.

Sourdough Cinnamon Buns

Sourdough Cinnamon Buns -- Makes a 9 x 13-inch Pan

1 cup of starter (I use a white whole-wheat-based starter)

1/2 cup of milk

1/4 cup of water

2 tablespoons of canola oil

2 tablespoons of honey

1 1/4 cup of white whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus an extra 1/4 cup for kneading

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 cup of chopped, toasted pecans (or almonds or walnuts)

1-2 tablespoons of butter, melted (optional, if you must!)


1 cup of confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon of butter

2-4 tablespoons of orange juice (depending on how thick you want your icing--

use less for thicker icing, more for a thinner glaze)

In a large bowl, combine the starter, milk, water, oil, honey, white whole-wheat flour, and 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix everything until well combined. Set the mixture aside for 30-60 minutes. Add the salt to the mixture and knead it for about 5 minutes, adding the extra flour if necessary, a spoonful at a time, if the dough is too sticky. I knead the dough in the bowl for ease and to save cleaning up my counter later. Drizzle a little canola oil (a teaspoon or so) over the dough, turn it over in the bowl to coat all sides of the dough, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has about doubled in size. This may take 4-8 hours at room temperature. I generally just put the dough in the refrigerator (or my winter-cold sunroom) over night or for up to 24 hours (yes, that long!). After the dough has risen, coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Punch down the dough and, on a piece of parchment paper, roll or press the dough out to a large rectangle about 16 inches long and 12 inches wide. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and toasted pecans. If you really want butter in your buns, drizzle the melted butter over the pecans. Starting from the short side, roll up the dough, jelly-roll style. You don't want to roll the dough too tightly, just enough so the filling adheres to the dough. With a sharp knife, cut the dough log, crosswise, into 1-2-inch slices. Put the slices in the prepared pan. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until about doubled. This will take 3-6 hours at room temperature, or put the dough in the refrigerator or a winter-cold sunroom or porch overnight or up to 24 hours. Bake the buns at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. While the buns are cooling, mix the confectioners' sugar, butter, and orange juice in a measuring cup. Microwave the mixture for 60-90 seconds, stirring it every 30 seconds or so, until it's bubbling. Stir the mixture again and drizzle the warm icing over the warm buns. Let the buns cool a little before serving them.

Sourdough Cinnamon Buns

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