Let’s just think about those words for a second. Soft. Doughy. Buns.
Happiness on a plate. Joy on a baking tray. Perfection in the kitchen. Love in the air.
Yes, I know. You get it. I get it too. I have a love affair with dough.
It’s not just a love affair; it’s also an endless fascination. The act of taking flour, yeast, water, and a little sugar and then working your magic on it so that it makes THAT. Kitchen witchery at its finest. Activate the yeast. Massage it into the flour. Leave it in a warm spot and watch it try to escape from the bowl.
Without much further ado, here’s the recipe. It’s easy and uncomplicated; give it a go and see how much more you prefer your own buns, home made and fresh from the oven. People will think you’re a dough god or goddess and you will love yourself a little bit more.
Recipe: Awanthi Vardaraj @ Sybaritic Pleasures
Photographs: Awanthi Vardaraj
6 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
1.5 teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 cup warm water
3 teaspoons oil (I used sunflower)
1 cup warm milk
1) Sift the flour with the salt into a bowl.
2) Combine the yeast and the sugar with the warm water and leave in a warm spot for ten minutes to activate the yeast. It should be frothy.
3) Add the oil and yeast mixture to the sifted flour. Mix and add sufficient warm milk to produce a soft dough. (I just used my hands for this; you get a better feel of the dough.) Turn the dough out onto a clean floured surface and knead for ten minutes or until the dough is soft and pliable. It should look like the two following two photographs.
4) Place the dough in an oiled bowl and rub the dough with a little oil (I used sunflower oil); cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm spot (I sat mine next to my range where I was baking something else) for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
5) Turn the dough out again and punch it down, knead _lightly_ (don’t be heavy handed and overwork the gluten in the dough), and form the dough into a long cylinder. Cut it into 12 pieces and shape the pieces into rounds. Place them carefully on floured baking sheets, leaving enough room for expansion. The oven was warm at this stage so I put them into the warm oven (don’t put them into a hot oven or they will start to bake) for 20 to 30 minutes (until the dough had once again doubled in size).
6) Brush the buns lightly with milk or melted butter (I used the latter), and place them in an oven that has been preheated to 230C. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the buns are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool before serving.
1) I didn’t bother using the dough attachment in the food processor for this recipe because it was honestly better to knead it by hand. It’s only a ten-minute knead, in any case, and not too difficult. However, if you would rather use your food processor, feel free.
2) These buns freeze incredibly well. Simply wrap them individually in plastic wrap once they are cooled and toss them into the freezer to use at a later date.
3) You can dress your buns up with anything you like; you can sprinkle them with poppy seeds, roll them in nuts, or add cinnamon and all-spice to them. You can even try making savoury buns by adding parmesan and oregano to the mix. It’s up to you! You now have a basic bun recipe that will adapt remarkably well to anything at all.
4) There is a rule of thumb when it comes to the crust that you want on your buns, rolls, or loaves. If you want a soft crust, brush your dough with melted butter and then a light flour rub before putting it into the oven. If you want a crusty – er – crust, brush a little salted water over the dough. For a shiny glaze, brush with milk, and for a sweet glaze brush it with a simple sugar syrup.
Enjoy these! Let me know if you make them and how much you loved them!