- In a large mixing bowl add the warm milk, honey and yeast. Set to one side for 10 minutes or until the yeast has activated (begun to bubble or foam).
- Separate the eggs and add the egg whites to the yeast mixture. Set aside the yolks for later. Then add half of the flour. You could use plain flour here but strong bread flour is best. Now mix using a paddle attachment on a medium speed for 5 minutes. If working by hand, bring the mixture together using your hand or a spoon until well incorporated – around 10 minutes. It will be quite wet.
- Now sprinkle the remaining flour over the top of the dough. Cover the bowl with cling film or a clean tea towel, and leave to prove for 1-3 hours, depending on the temperature of your room. You will see the dough starting to come up through the flour when it is ready.
- If you are using a mixer, switch to a dough hook and mix on slow for around 10 minutes. If working by hand, carefully mix the flour in to the dough underneath, then once incorporated, turn out onto a clean surface and knead the dough for 10 – 15 minutes or until smooth and stretchy. You shouldn’t need to add any more flour.
- Once the dough is at this stage, you need to incorporate the egg yolks, salt, vanilla, and cold milk. If using a mixer, add these slowly so they incorporate well. If doing it by hand, it is best to transfer the dough back to a bowl, create a small well in the centre of the dough and add the 4 ingredients. Gradually work this into the dough – it will be messy but it will come together eventually.
- Now, to add the butter, break off small pieces and add to the dough, bit by bit, working it in as you go (either by hand or in a mixer).
- Now your dough is ready. Transfer to a clean bowl or container, cover with a towel/cling film or lid and put in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 10 hours (if you leave it for longer, make sure your container is big enough for the dough to double in size)
- Once the dough is chilled, its time to roll it out. Put a small amount (1tsp) of vegetable oil on a clean work surface and on your hands, to stop the dough sticking. Now, turn the dough out onto the oiled surface and, using a rolling pin (or clean bottle), roll the soft dough out into an approximately A3 rectangle. This can take some practise – don’t worry if it’s not perfect, but try to make sure there aren’t any holes in the dough. If the dough springs back too much, clean off some of the oil from the work surface where the edges of your rectangle should be, and the dough should stick to the work surface.
- Next, sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the dough, leaving 1 inch of dough along the long edge of the rectangle clean, followed by small pieces of soft butter all over the brown sugar. Using your fingertips you can gently work this butter and sugar together over the dough surface, without tearing any holes.
- Now to roll up: using a pallet knife or large knife blade, scoop the edge of the long side with cinnamon/sugar filling to begin the roll, then carefully (but decisively) roll the dough all the way along, finishing at the clean edge. This step is important to get a good swirl within the bun.
- Cut the roll of dough into 10 equal pieces. Prepare either 10 holes of a muffin tin, or a 9 inch cake tin by lightly greasing the inside with oil or butter. Turn the 10 rolls onto their ends and place in the muffin tin or nestle into the cake tin.
- Prove for around an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Place a small tray of water in the base of the oven to create steam. Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes.
- Allow to cool on a rack.
- To make the icing, melt the butter, take off the heat and add the white chocolate, mixing until melted. Then add the icing sugar gradually, stirring until dissolved and incorporated. Next, using an electric whisk or wooden spoon, beat in the cream cheese.
- You can add the icing to the buns when they are warm, or wait until they are fully cooled down and, using a spoon or pallet knife, decorate the individual buns with the white chocolate icing.
Pro tip: Try adding other warming spices to the filling, like ground cardamom, nutmeg or ginger. You could also sprinkle crushed nuts or even chocolate chips on to the filling for an extra dimension.