Starting with a pillowy dough enriched with olive oil and infused with lemon zest, we filled our Maritozzi with a lusciously light and creamy Vanilla Whipped Cream. These buns will bring a taste of Italy to your very own kitchen, regardless of location.

Makes 10 buns
  • Preferment:
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) warm water (110°F/43°C to 115°F/46°C)
  • 1 teaspoon (3 gram) active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour

  • Dough:
  • ½ cup (120 grams) warm whole milk (110°F/43°C to 115°F/46°C)
  • 1¼ teaspoons (4 grams) active dry yeast
  • 3 to 3¼ cups (375 to 406 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
  • ¼ cup (56 grams) olive oil
  • 3½ tablespoons (42 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (21 grams) honey
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons (4 grams) tightly packed lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg (50 grams), lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) whole milk

  • Vanilla Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
  1. For preferment: In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup (60 grams) warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour until well combined; cover and let stand in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until mixture is puffed and bubbly, 40 minutes to 1 hour. (Mixture will start thick but will loosen as it sits.)
  2. For dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together warm milk and yeast by hand until combined and dissolved. Add preferment, 1 cup (125 grams) flour, room temperature eggs, oil, sugar, honey, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla; using the paddle attachment, beat at low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Gradually add 2 cups (250 grams) flour, beating just until combined.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, elastic, somewhat sticky dough forms, 7 to 10 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook; add up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is overly sticky. (Dough should pass the windowpane test [see Note] but may still stick to bottom and sides of bowl.)
  4. Oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Punch down dough; cover and let stand for 10 minutes. On a very lightly floured surface, divide dough into 10 portions (about 82 grams each). Gently shape each portion into a ball, pinching any seams to seal. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, place 1 dough ball seam side up; press or roll into a 4-inch-wide disk. Starting with top edge or one 4½-inch-long side, fold and roll dough, about ½ inch at a time, gently pressing to seal after each roll. Repeat until you have a cylinder, and firmly pinch seam to seal. Pinch ends closed; fold in, and pinch to secure. Roll seam to bottom, and gently roll to form an evenly thick 5- to 5½-inch-long log. Repeat with remaining dough. Place, seam side down, 2 to 2½ inches apart on prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until nearly doubled in size and dough holds an indentation when poked, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  9. In a small bowl, whisk together beaten egg and milk. Brush tops of buns with egg wash.
  10. Bake, one batch at a time, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  11. Using a serrated knife held perpendicular to cutting surface, split rolls lengthwise down center, stopping just short before cutting all the way through. Divide Vanilla Whipped Cream evenly among buns (about ¾ cup or 90 grams each). Using a small offset spatula, let the contours of the bread act as a guide as you spread, sculpt, and round the cream as needed. Serve immediately.
Note: To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, lightly flour hands and pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again.

Vanilla Whipped Cream
Makes about 7 cups
  • 3½ cups (840 grams) cold heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat all ingredients at medium-high speed until medium-stiff peaks form. Use immediately.


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