Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My, What Beautiful Buns You Have!

The weather was absolutely frightful in Boston today. It couldn't make up its mind whether it wanted to snow, blow, rain, sleet, or of course it did all those things and sometimes all at once. I was out in our driveway three times today pushing the wettest, heaviest snow I think I've ever had to shovel. All this meant that I didn't go into work but rather "worked" from home.

And exactly what did I work on? I worked on my buns...

Beautiful Burger Buns
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion
Makes 8 Large Buns

8 oz water
2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
1/4 cup potato flakes
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or minced dried onion (optional)
1 egg white and 1 tsp water for egg wash

Sponge: Combine water, 1/2 Tbsp yeast, and 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/4 cup bread flour into a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment in a warm place for 1 1/2 hour or until tripled.

Dough: Add melted butter, sugar, egg, remainder of yeast, salt/onion powder (if using), and potato flakes to sponge. Mix thoroughly. Add remaining bread flour and 2 1/2 cups of flour. On well floured surface, knead in remaining flour. This dough will be very soft and sticky. Knead, adding additional flour 1 Tbsp at a time if necessary until dough is firm and smooth but still soft (about 5 minutes). Let rest for 10 minutes. Knead 3-5 additional minutes adding flour again 1 Tbsp at a time if dough is still too sticky. Place in buttered glass bowl and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Forming and Baking Rolls: Gently "punch" down dough and on lightly floured surface, divide dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball about 4" in diameter, making sure not to compress too much. Brush the top of each ball with egg wash then roll top into seeds or onions. Place on greased baking sheet about 4" apart and cover with plastic wrap (spray plastic wrap with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking to risen buns). Let rise in warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled. Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees and place baking pan filled with 1" of water in the oven while pre-heating.

Bake buns for 12 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Note: You can shape this dough to be any type of bun you want (sub, hot dog, etc.)