These little buns are incredibly good--a little sweet, a little tart, a little creamy, and a little yeasty. The buns are simple to make and don't require a lot of hard to find ingredients. My husband and I like the buns for breakfast, but they'd be perfect for tea or even for an evening snack. I use a little whole-wheat in the buns for more nutrition, but feel free to use all-purpose flour, only, if you'd prefer. Either way, the buns will be soft textured. Before baking the buns, I dust the tops with confectioners' sugar. Then, after baking, I dust the buns again with the sugar, which decorates the buns and also gives them a nice sweet coating. When you bite into a bun you get a hit of lemon, of honey, and then of cream cheese surrounded by soft-textured sourdough. In other words, the buns are addictive.
Sourdough Lemon Honey Buns -- Makes 8
1 cup of sourdough starter/discard
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup of honey
Grated zest and juice of a small lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons of juice)
3/4 cup of whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
4 ounces (half an 8-ounce block) of cream cheese (regular or light)
In a large bowl, mix the sourdough starter/discard, oil, egg, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 3/4 cup of whole-wheat flour together well. Lightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the mixture aside for at least an hour. I usually mix the ingredients in the morning and return to them at lunch time of a little after.
When you're ready, add to the dough mixture the 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour and the salt. I stir the mixture well with a wooden spoon for a few minutes, as the mixture will be quite moist--more so than a usual bread dough. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Cut the cream cheese into eight roughly equal pieces. With damp hands (it's best to keep a bowl of water nearby to keep your hands moistened), divide the dough into eight roughly equal pieces. Pick up a piece of dough, make an indentation in the dough with your fingers, and place a piece of cream cheese into the indentation. Squish/roll the dough around to cover the cream cheese--like you are making a nice round mud pie or ball! Place the dough round/ball on the baking sheet and flatten it just a bit with your hand (you don't want it to roll off the baking sheet when you slide the sheet into the oven). Repeat the squishing/rolling process with the remaining dough and cream cheese, dampening your hands as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to them. Place the dough balls/mounds about two inches apart on the baking sheet. Place a couple of tablespoons of confectioners' sugar in a sieve and sprinkle some of the sugar over each dough mound.
Let the dough mounds rise for two to four hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. The mounds should increase in size by only about one-third (i.e., not all that much). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the buns for 15-20 minutes or puffed, barely browned, and barely firm to the touch. Sprinkle another tablespoon or two of confectioners' sugar over the warm buns. Let the buns cool at least 10 minutes before serving them. The buns are great re-warmed in an air fryer.