Meet the baker: Caroline Corrente from Haymaker Bun Co. in Middlebury

What’s your favorite food? Do you prefer savories like bacon, mac n cheese or pizza, or maybe you like sweets like creme brulé, brownies or bananas Foster? For Caroline Corrente its cinnamon buns.
“Cinnamon buns are my absolute favorite,” she said in a recent interview. “But it’s really upsetting when you order one and it’s too dry, bready or dense.”
Instead of grumpily eating the mediocre sweet rolls Corrente decided to take matters into her own hands. Literally. Just this summer, Corrente officially launched her own company Haymaker Buns.
“I’ve always loved food,” said the 27-year-old, who’s the youngest of three daughters in her family. “I was always the cook in the family…My sisters weren’t really interested in it. And Mom, well, she has a lot of strengths, but her go-to was a burnt Boca Burger.”
Corrente moved from her hometown of Concord, Mass., and came up to Burlington for school. While at the University of Vermont she served at Pistou (a local restaurant that’s since closed) and met her future husband, Matt Corrente (also a chef).
After graduating in 2012 with a degree in Anthropology and minor in African Studies, Corrente worked in the non-profit world helping clients with financial planning. But that didn’t stick.
Matt (a 2006 Middlebury College grad who had worked at the Tavern as a student) was offered a job as executive chef at Two Brothers Tavern in the summer of 2015, so the newlyweds moved to Middlebury.
“When we moved to Middlebury, that’s when I decided I needed a change,” Corrente said. “I wanted to go to pastry school.”
And so she did.
A three-month intensive training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
When she came home she was hired by Otter Creek Bakery and worked there for a year and a half until she had her son.
“The 3 a.m. wake up for the bakery just didn’t work when I was up at 2 a.m. with my son,” she explained. “I had always wanted to start my own business, so I thought of what I could do… At first I though I’d do all sorts of breads, cakes and pastries, but then my good friend Sas (Stewart) from Stonecutter Spirits told me to ‘pick one thing and do it really well.’
“I decided I wanted to do cinnamon buns. I want to be the bun lady.”
First step: Craft a recipe.
“I did a lot of recipe development,” Corrente said. “My husband popped four buttons off his pants when I was figuring out the dough.”
But she got it, and now uses a light, yeasted brioche dough for the base of all of her buns. As for Matt’s buttons? Corrente reports (with a chuckle) that his pants fit him just fine these days.
Second step: Customize the filling.
Initially Corrente created the Original Gangster (The OG for short) — a cinnamon bun, just how you’d expect with cinnamon and brown sugar. From there, her offerings get interesting.
The sweet buns continue with bananas Foster, raspberry, lemon poppyseed, Far East (with cardamom, dates and toasted almonds). Then come the chocolate buns: Heart of Darkness, Boozy German (rolled with coconut and topped with pecans and a whiskey drizzle), mocha almond, PB&P (yup, it’s peanut butter with crushed pretzels), and Nutella.
Corrente also serves savory buns. Why not? They include Bangers (pork sausage, onions rosemary and cheddar), the Vermonter (bacon, apples and cheddar), Broccoli and Cheddar, Valerie (named after a leek tart a childhood friend’s mom used to make), and ’90s Baby (kale, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella).
Then there’s the Flavor of the Moment bun (currently Georgia on my Mind, with homemade peach and whiskey jam, topped with whiskey caramel and toasted pecans).
“The flavor of the moment will be seasonal,” Corrente said, looking forward to new apple and pumpkin flavors this fall.
Corrente prides herself on using local product whenever possible, including products from Green Pastures, King Arthur Flour, Monument Farms, Cabot and Stonecutter Spirits. Herbs, veggies and fruits come from her own gardens, and eggs come from her four Bard Rock backyard chickens.
Third step: Make and sell buns.
“I make all the buns in my home kitchen,” she said. “I have a crappy Samsung electric stove, and a really nice mixer. The kitchen is a good size and has good workspace.”
And that’s all she needs, for now.
“We started off this summer slowly but surely, week by week,” Corrente explained. “Now I’m getting busier and busier.”
But she does face some limitations with her home kitchen because only two dozen buns fit in her fridge at a time, so if she has a larger order she has to get up extra early.
“I insist on baking fresh and baking all the rolls in the morning,” she said. “I did have one day where I had to get out five dozen in one morning… that was early.”
To order Haymaker Buns go to haymakerbuns.com and fill out the order form. It’s easy. There is a minimum of six buns per order of each flavor and Corrente requires 24 hours notice for all orders, and delivers. If you want to try her buns without ordering at least six, go to Pratt’s Store in Bridport, either Green Pasture location (New Haven or Shelburne) or Buxton’s store in Orwell. Her buns will also be for sale at Middlebury Natural Foods Co-Op soon.
What’s next?
Phase-two of this business plan is already in the works in Corrent’s dreams.
“Maybe someday I’ll have a commercial kitchen, or a little shop,” she mused. 

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