What does a 21st-century cinnamon bun owe its public? Is goo and glaze enough? For Brooklyn baker Sarah Magid, who launched Knead Love Bakery from her Greenpoint apartment in 2019, the pastry should also be whole-grain, nutrient-dense, naturally fermented for four-to-eight hours, and incorporate enough local ingredients to support the regional economy and merit a new stand at the Union Square Greenmarket. Magid’s Cinny Bun is all these things. And, like the rest of her repertoire, it’s gluten free, which has made the baker a cult hero of sorts for those who follow that diet. But that shouldn’t deter anyone else. In fact, two non-vegan gluten-eating cinnamon-bun aficionados tried the thing the other day and were pretty much blown away. You should know that comparing a Cinny Bun to a traditional cinnamon bun is a bit of an apples-to-oranges assignment. Both contain cinnamon and both are buns, but that is where the similarities end. A Cinny Bun seems to us more like a cross between an oat-bran muffin and sticky toffee pudding, if that’s possible. Or maybe it’s like a maple-cinnamon scuffin. Whatever it is, it’s fantastic: petite in stature but surprisingly hearty with a pleasingly dense and grainy texture. Yes, we said pleasingly dense and grainy although those aren’t descriptors anyone associates with pastry greatness. Latvian rye bread, yes. Swirly breakfast treats, no. But why not? Light, airy, flaky, and tender aren’t everything. Viva the alt-flour revolution.
Rather than default to a generic GF-flour blend, Magid sources her raw materials from Maine Grains, combining a Japanese variety of buckwheat with cracked oats she toasts and hand-mills. She makes “Seymour,” her sourdough starter, from organic brown rice. The filling is a not-too-sweet mixture of coconut sugar, coconut oil, palm shortening, and cinnamon. And the secret to her fluffy frosting is maple cream from Greenmarket’s Roxbury Mountain Maple stand; if doled out in sufficient quantities, it would make an old sneaker taste delicious. For maximum enjoyment, Magid offers this (non-vegan) hack that we highly recommend: Rather than warm your bun in a toaster oven or microwave, heat it low and slow from the bottom up in a skillet with butter or ghee to “activate” the cinnamon-coconut-sugar ribbons while preserving the delicate integrity of the frosting.
Wednesday at Union Square Greenmarket, Saturday at McCarren Park Greenmarket. Should you desire something larger and more festive, you can preorder a Cinny Bun cake, which molds 14 or so individual buns into a party-size confection. $8 per bun; cakes from $110 at kneadlovebakerynyc.com.