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Jan 23, 2009 09:22 AM

Ode to a Misty Masse's Morning Bun

As a Northeasterner, who grew up with blisteringly cold, dry winter days, a little misty rain on a January morning is actually a little refreshing. They are even nicer now that I've discovered my new favorite place to find the perfect morning bun for such a day.

All that a morning bun is is just croissant dough lathered up with cinnamon sugar, but Masse's morning buns are baked to sheer perfection.

I am not a fan of Masse's plain croissants. Something about them -- too much butter? too little flour?, oven a few degrees off? -- makes them sag a bit too much in the middle and makes them more crumbly than crispy.

But take that same dough and twist it up into a morning bun and it is magic. That thing this morning was perfectly crispy -- not crumbly -- all the way through. The sugar was baked and slightly caramelized, but still a little powdery. It wasn't baked to the point that it could have become gooey like far too many bakeries in the Bay Area will do. Who wants a gooey morning bun on a soggy East Bay morning? Not I.

It may be the flour they use that does not allow the dough to form a series of a rubbery knots that you have to tug against with your teeth peppering the front of your shirt with cinnamon sugar. (If you're into that kind of thing, more power to you.) The whole morning bun, sugar and all, practically dissolved on my tongue as it simply disappeared from my adoring fingers and balancing out my strong Peet's coffee.

But if you stay at Masse's get their tea. I don't recommend their coffee, I remember it is on the weak side -- I'm more of a Peet's man myself (they ARE just around the corner). They serve their drinks in these cool numbered cups.

. . . but don't tell anyone.

While people elbow one another for soggy scones, and the prissy Berkeley moms oh so subtly jump in line in front of you at The Cheeseboard, you can walk straight up to the counter and even get a table inside if you'd like.

Masse's is
on Shattuck Ave
(between Rose St & Vine St)

Masse's Pastries
1469 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

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  1. NIce tip. Don't think I've tried Masse's. Have you tried La Farine? How did they compare?

    Masse's Pastries
    1469 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

    8 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      La Farine's are great. Gooey and crispy. Masse's are a different than others I've had though. They sort of have a different style of croissant dough and a different approach to morning than most other I've tried. Could do better on presentation, but why mess with something that tastes so good??

      I'll have to write more about other morning buns. Have you tried Café Fanny's morning bun?

      1. re: BeanBoy

        Cool a morning bun report.. Haven't tried Cafe Fanny's.

        For a different take have you tried the bun at Hopkins Street Bakery. It is a soft yet flaky, yeasty bun with a delicate dusting of sugar and cinnamon. The version with cranberries adds a nice tang.

        1. re: rworange

          Thanks. I'll have to check them out.

          Wish I knew where morning buns came from. I never encountered one until I moved here about a few years ago.

          1. re: BeanBoy

            One theory is they came from Madison, Wisconsin:

            Tartine and Semifreddi's both make 'em too. Neither stacks up to La Farine, especially since if you get a fresh one at La Farine on College you can take it next-ish door and have it with a freshly-dripped cup of coffee at Cole.

            Thanks for the Masse's tip. I never get anything there except beautifully extravagant birthday cakes because it all seems so overdelicately high-end for me. Nice to know there's something ...

            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

              Yea Masse's cakes look just a little too fancy to eat for me.

              If you go there, make sure to get a couple of cookies for later. They do cookies and breakfast pastries well!!

              Thanks for the link :)

              1. re: BeanBoy

                Their cookies are great.

                I highly encourage you to purchase one of their individual fancy cakes or fruit tarts. They're all around $5, and a worthwhile indulgence on a day you need a treat.

              2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                For my money, I think Tartine (grrr, wrong side of the bay) beats La Farine. The Tartine version has orange as well as cinnamon, giving it a nice zing.

                1. re: Agent 510

                  Bay Bread makes one with orange and its sold at the Temescal farmer's market on Sundays (right side of the Bay). Might be worth a try. Their almond croissants are my favorite of all that I've tried.