Brunch lovely leftover whey cinnamon buns

Who doesn’t love a cinnamon bun? Soft, chewy, buttery, warm.  Oh god I’m so happy I’ve got a few sitting in my freezer…

When I made ricotta and paneer from my Christmas milk glut, the amount of whey took me utterly by surprise.  But this is why I love cooking with what’s in front of me – I need to try something new.

But, cinnamon buns are a family favourite, and this recipe is a combination of two of my most favouritest books: ‘The Bread Baker’s Assistnat’ by Peter Reinherdt, and ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ by the Queen of Cooking.

If you’re into bread then get yourself a copy of this James Beard winning lovely.  The recipes work – because he worked as a baker, Reinherdt isn’t precious about ingredients and he wants to help you to get. it.right.

I wasn’t sure about using whey in the buns; when you make ricotta or paneer, you have to curdle the milk with vinegar or lemon.  Was I going to make horrid buns that would end up wasting a tonne of flour, butter and sugar, all in trying to not waste a sort of waste product?!  Hoping that the ever so slight tang would be undetectable (hell, yoghurt cake is good, right?), I ploughed on and baked these.  And no I didn’t tell my children what is in them, are you mad?

Result?  Best Cinnamon Buns ever.  You’re welcome. Happy Brunch.

(PS These go stale quickly; better to make them, shape them and freeze them)


Leftover whey cinnamon buns
Adapted from ‘The Breadbaker’s Apprentice’ and ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess”


For the buns

180 grams sugar
1 teaspoon salt
150 grams soft, unsalted butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon or orange extract OR grated zest 1 lemon/orange
450 grams strong bread flour
1 sachet/5 grams dried, quick action yeast
250 – 300 ml whey


150 grams soft, unsalted butter
150 grams sugar (soft brown is nicest if you can stretch to it)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Milk to glaze


Mixing bowls
Clean tea towel
Greaseproof paper

Bread scraper
Measuring spoons
Electric whisk/stand mixer if you have one


About 30 minutes to combine
4 hours of shaping/adding butter
25 minutes to bake
10 minutes to cool so you don’t burn your hands!


Leave butter out to soften
Get a large bowl ready and pour in a little oil into the bottom


Make the dough

Cream together the butter, sugar and salt by hand or with an electric whisk
Whisk in the egg and citrus, if using
Next, add the whey, yeast and milk
Mix on a low speed/by hand until the dough forms a ball
Knead in the mixer or by hand for between 10 and 15 minutes – stop when the dough is silky and smooth

Gently place the dough into the prepared bowl, turn it around in the oil to stop it from drying out as it rises
Cover with the clean tea towel and leave to rise – about 2 hours in a toasty warm kitchen or anything up to 4 or 5 if it’s a cold, cold room

MEANWHILE, the filling …

Cream together the soft butter, sugar and cinnamon until as soft as you can get it

Back to those buns

When the dough has doubled in size, lightly flour your counter
Gently turn the dough out and scrape the bowl good and clean

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle around 1cm thick, 10 cm long and 30 cm wide
Don’t roll the dough too thin or your buns will be tough rather than soft and plump (ahem)

Gently now, squash and push the butter around the dough; if your dough threatens to rip, stop!  Fill a mug with almost boiling water and take a knife/offset spatula if you have one
Using your fingers or a warmed knife, push the cinnamon butter all over the dough
Roll up into one, long, thing roll
Using a bread scraper or large knife, cut into 12-16 buns

Take your lined tray and place each bun carefully inside, around 3cm apart
My buns do lose their perfect circularity as I chop; gently reshape as you place them

Cover with the tea towel and leave to rise again for 75 – 90 minutes or until the buns have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size
*** If making these for a brunch, you can leave them to rise in the fridge from Saturday onwards; take out 3 hours before baking to fully warm through before hitting the oven***


Preheat the oven to 180C
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown
It takes practice to know when to pull these out of the oven, if you’re really wprried, poke the most middle bun with a knife to check for raw dough

Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes to avoid caramel buns


Storage/further meals

Cinnamon buns go stale pretty quickly; if you’re making a lot to use up lots of whey/milk, freeze them raw: take the ‘composed’ buns, place them on a lined baking tray, cover and place in the freezer. When fully frozen, remove from the tray and place in a bag. Best eaten within three months
If you have 1 or 2 leftover, just ping in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Love bread pudding? Imagine one made with these…

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