Vegan Orange and Cranberry Buns
These Orange and Cranberry Buns are egg and dairy free making them the perfect sweet treat for anyone following a vegan or plant based diet. Get the recipe below.
I’m writing this post during that magical time between Christmas and New Year, where you lose track of the days and it feels as though you’re going to be on holiday forever!
My favourite thing to do during this week is to bake so today I’m bringing you my recipe for Vegan Orange and Cranberry Buns. They are a super soft sweet bread that is swirled with cranberry jam and drizzled with an orange glaze. How good does that sound?!
But, before we talk more about the enriched dough (and how to make it vegan) let’s take a few minutes to talk about the festive flavours that make these buns the perfect sweet treat between Christmas and New Year.
One of my favourite parts of this recipe is the sweet and sour cranerry jam that is running through the centre. I had 2/3rds of a punnet of fresh cranberries leftover after making my sloe gin and cranberry sauce and knew they were destined to end up in a pastry of bread.
Making the jam is simple. I add fresh cranberries to a saucepan along with sugar, water and orange zest. I let it bubble away until the cranberries have burst and the sugar has turned into a thick syrup. At this stage the cranberries are still pretty chunky and I like my jam to be more smooth so I give them a quick whizz in my blender.
Last but not least, I add in a few tablespoons of fresh orange juice and then leave it to cool completely while I get on with the dough.
I’ve already mentioned that I add orange zest and juice to my cranberry jam. I also add orange zest and juice to the dough. But the real orange flavour in this recipe comes in the form of an orange glaze that I drizzle over the buns once they are baked and cooled.
You can make the glaze as thick or thin as you like. The thicker it is, the sweeter it will taste and you will loose some of the orange flavour. But, too thin and it will slide right off! Follow my recipe below and you will have the perfect consistency. It will look pretty too!
Super soft buns
As much as I love the orange and cranberry flavour combination, the best bit about these buns is how light and fluffy the dough is! They are made using a bread dough recipe that has been enriched with plant milk and non-dairy butter. More on that below!
What is an enriched dough?
An enriched dough starts its life much in the same way as a regular bread dough but, it includes extra fat and sugar resulting in a super soft bread that has a really tender crumb.
Enriched dough can be used to make brioche and babka. Around Christmas time, it us used to make pannetone and stollen! It can also be used to make these delicious Vegan Orange and Cranberry Buns.
The extra fat added to the dough makes the gluten strands shorter, resulting in a softer crust and more tender crumb than regular “lean” bread dough. Adding fat also slows down the yeast which means the bread takes longer to proof. This in turn results in more flavour!
If you’re not interested in the science then all you need to know is fat means flavour!
There are different ways of adding your extra fat to the dough but for this recipe we keep it simple using just two stages. The first stage is activating the yeast with the milk and a little sugar. The second stage is adding the activated yeast and milk mix to the flour along with the butter. After that the dough is proofed once in the bowl and then again once it has been shaped.
Making enriched dough vegan
To make an enriched dough vegan you have to swap out the milk and butter for dairy free alternatives. Luckily, in this modern age, plant milks and non-dairy butter is easy to come by these days.
You can use any plant milk you like but my preference is to use an oat milk that has been specifically designed for adding to coffee. It is often labelled as the “barista edition” and will have been made with a higher than normal fat content to make it creamy.
To replace the butter, I like to use Flora as it has a really buttery flavour. We melt the butter before adding it to the dough so you can use a block or spreadable butter alternative.
Once you’ve sourced your non-dairy ingredients the process of making a vegan enriched dough is no different.
Creating the “knot” shape
Shaping dough is one of those things that I get so stressed out about until I actually have the dough in my hands and begin. I’ve tried to simplify the process for creating the “knot” shape as best as I can and you will find step by step photos in the recipe.
But, if they don’t turn out exactly like mine don’t worry, they will still taste fantastic! Here are the instructions in short:
- Roll the dough out into a long rectangle, spread half with the jam then fold the dough in half (so the jam is sandwiched in the middle).
- Cut the dough into 1 inch wide strips.
- Take an end of the strip in either hand and twist.
- Place the twisted piece of dough on to your counter top and curl it up into a spiral.
- Carefully place it on to your baking tray and repeat with the rest of the dough.
You are going to get yourself into a sticky mess when you make these but it will be worth it, I promise.
Vegan Orange and Cranberry Buns
- Blender or food processor
For the dough
For the cranberry jam
- 250 grams cranberries fresh or frozen
- 150 grams caster sugar
- 100 millilitres water
- 4 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp orange zest
For the orange glaze
- 100 grams icing sugar
- 4 tbsp orange juice
To make the dough (first proof)
- Warm the milk either in a sauce pan or in the microwave. It should be warmer than room temperature but not too hot to touch.
- Add the fast action dried yeast to the milk along with just 1 teaspoon of caster sugar and stir.
- Leave the milk, sugar and yeast mix for 10-15 minutes or until it has begun to bubble and go frothy (this is a sign that the yeast has woken up!)
- Add the bread flour, the rest of the caster sugar, salt, orange juice and orange zest to a large mixing bowl.
- Melt the non-dairy butter and pour this into the bowl followed by the milk, sugar and yeast mixture.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it starts to resemble a ball of dough.
- Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes if kneading by hand, or 5-10 minutes if kneading using a mixer. It will be ready once the dough has formed into a smooth ball and is springy to the touch.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm for an hour or until it has doubled in size.
To make the cranberry jam
- While the dough is proofing, begin to make the jam.
- Add the cranberries, caster sugar and water to a sauce pan and place on a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved into the water.
- Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduced the heat to low and cook until cranberries are all burst and soft and the sugar syrup has thickened. (This should take roughly 15 minutes.)
- Leave to cool slightly before transferring the mix to a blender or food processor and blitzing until there are no large pieces of cranberry left. (Though, it doesn't need to be entirely smooth).
- Transfer to a bowl and stir through the orange juice and zest. Leave it to cool until you're ready to fill the buns.
To make the buns
- Line two large baking trays with grease proof paper.
- Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn the risen dough out.
- Roll it out into a large rectangle (roughly 24 inches by 12 inches), lifting it regularly to make sure it's not sticking to the work surface.
- With the longest side closest to you, spread the jam over the left half of the dough.
- Fold the right hand side of the dough back over the left hand side of the dough so that the jam is completely encased.
- Cut 12 long strips and separate them from each other.
- Take the ends of the first strip in either hand and twist.
- Placing the twisted piece of dough back on the counter top, curl one end up until a spiral has formed.
- Place the twisted bun on to the baking tray and repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Leave the twisted buns to proof for a further 30 minutes. In this time pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4.
- Place your baking trays into the centre of the oven and baked for 20 minutes or until the buns are golden brown.
- Leave them to cool for 10 minutes on their baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the buns have cooled completely, sift the icing sugar into a small mixing bowl.
- Add the orange juice to the icing sugar and stir until a smooth icing has formed.
- Using a teaspoon, drizzle the icing over the buns and leave to set before serving.
Serving and storage
These Vegan Orange and Cranberry Buns are the perfect breakfast or mid-morning snack. Enjoy with a hot mug or tea or coffee.
Like any bread or pastry, these will go stale if you leave them out. These are best enjoyed within 3 days and should be kept in an air tight container at room temperature.