Photo by Caroline Lange
Yield
Makes 12 good-sized rolls

A cinnamon bun that’s well-made, warm, the dough tender and yeasty, the filling spicy and gooey, the icing gobbed and drooping down the sides—that’s a truly beautiful thing. If you like sweet breakfasts, that is. If however you are in the savory breakfast camp—the realm of bacon and eggs, huevos rancheros, and cheese grits—you may have felt left out of the morning pastry scene. Where are the knishes?, you’ve demanded. The burekas! Where! Even cheese danishes are too sweet for you. Take matters into your own hands, savory breakfast lovers. Adopt the cinnamon roll model but hold the cinnamon to make savory breakfast rolls

Fill a buttery, not-so-sweet brioche dough with savory flavors inspired by your favorite dishes. Swipe the dough with cream cheese and layer on thin slices of lox and chopped capers for bagel-but-not-a-bagel vibes. Roll up a thick, spicy tomato sauce with cilantro and feta and call it shakshuka-ish (and serve with an egg, of course). 

But don’t stop there! Take the following recipes as a guide and make rolls filled with butter, Parmesan, and a nutty amount of freshly ground black pepper for something cacio e pepe-esque. In fact, use butter as a vehicle for anything: herbs, cheeses, ground spices like paprika, a big scoop of grainy mustard. Just mash it into the butter and spread—but not too liberally, or your rolls might be soggy or bloated. Cardinal rule: You have to distribute your filling thinly, so it should be super flavorful.

Two more things you should know before you race to the kitchen: First, feel free to substitute up to 1 ½ cups of the flour in the dough recipe for whole wheat flour if you like something a little toastier and heartier. Secondly, you might be thinking, Hey, sounds nice, lady, but there’s no way these would work for brunch because, hi, I’m not getting up at 6 a.m. to make brioche dough—which, fair. Me neither. 

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Instead, make these the night before. Follow the recipe through the assembly and the rolling, nestle the rolls into the greased pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, when you roll blearily out of bed, pull the rolls out of the fridge and let them warm up on the counter for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven and make coffee. Brush them with melted butter, sprinkle on any toppings you want, and savor away.

Simple Brioche Dough

Photo by Caroline Lange
Photo by Jamsedel via Getty Images
Photo by Andrey St Via Getty Images

How to Make It

Step 1

Spread the butter in a thin layer over the dough. Sprinkle generously with Bell’s seasoning, roll up the dough, and proceed with the recipe. After brushing the rolls with butter, sprinkle with flaky salt.

Step 2

Soften the garlic in the olive oil for 2 minutes over medium-low heat; it should be fragrant but not browned. Add the red pepper flakes and cumin and stir, sautéing 1 minute more. Add the diced tomatoes and raise heat to a gentle simmer; cook 10 or so minutes, until the tomatoes have reduced and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro leaves. Allow to cool completely.

Step 3

A good use for any leftover takeout you might have, or a good reason to order (or make!) some saag. Spread the saag in a thin layer over the dough, distributing pieces of paneer evenly about. Roll up the dough and proceed with the recipe.

Step 4

Spread the softened cream cheese over the dough, layer on thin slices of smoked salmon, and top with the chopped capers. Roll up and proceed with the recipe. After brushing the rolls with butter, sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning.

Step 5

Use a fork to blend the ricotta thoroughly with the pesto. Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough in a thin layer, roll up the dough, and proceed with the recipe. After brushing with butter, sprinkle the rolls with white sesame seeds.

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