Baked Scallion and Sesame Seed Buns

This is my Thanksgiving but not so Thanksgiving post. 

I've been anti-make-Thanksgiving-food-before-Thanksgiving this year. Last year I went all out because it was my last year in college. I hosted a Friendsgiving and cooked everything by myself and from scratch. There was a roasted chicken (because it's smaller), stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, and a gorgeously cracked pumpkin pie. If that sounds stressful it really wasn't because I was in my element. I had a rough timeline set out, I went grocery shopping a few days before, I called Popo to ask her how to make her stuffing and cranberry sauce, my friends made drinks, and everyone loved the meal. It was a great success with no disasters if I may say so myself. 

But, it wasn't the Thanksgiving I really wanted. 

I spent a long time the past couple of weeks thinking about whether or not I wanted to make something specifically Thanksgiving for the blog. Thanksgiving foods start to pop up right after Halloween so the pressure is on. But in all honesty, I'm waiting to eat Thanksgiving food until it is Thanksgiving day. I don't want to spoil it you see. Everyone in my family has a specific sort of dish that they bring every year. There's always the turkey cooked on the grill; two of them if everyone is able to come. There's Popo's stuffing and cranberry sauce. The best stuff ever. How could I ever replicate that? Last year's was good but it also wasn't the same. It was missing the magic touch.

Then, there's the weird molded jello salad with Dream Whip aka Prism Jello that's so 1960s but I refuse to eat. My mom's cinnamon bread. Savory, salty gravy from the turkey drippings. Various salads and green things. The sweet potatoes made the exact same way every year; no marshmallows though. I really have no clue what's on them but they're good. Most likely lots and lots of butter. There's always something new that graces the table. And of course dessert.

I did make pie multiple times already but that doesn't really count because you can have pie any time of the year.

Yup, I think I'm way too excited about bringing pie this year. 

These buns are definitely not part of my Thanksgiving meal nor are they particularly traditional but they could be made to bring something fresh and new to the table or tables if your family is as large as mine. Young and hip table for the win!

Everybody wants carbs for Thanksgiving anyways, so there's that. There's also green stuff in them so they have the appearance of being healthy. And they're so pretty. If you want to wow people with your bun making skills, these are the way to go. They look complicated but once you get the process down, you can whip them together pretty quickly.

So we start with a basic yeast dough; just flour, milk, oil, yeast, sugar, oil and salt. Don't forget the salt! I did when I made these. It really makes all the difference in the taste.

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and shape it into 12 equal sized rolls. 

Steps to assemble: 

  1. Take one dough ball and roll it into an oblong oval.

  2. Brush it with a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  3. Make 6-8 vertical cuts within the dough. Be careful not to cut the dough into strips.

  4. Sprinkle with green onions.

  5. Take the top and bottom and roll inwards on a diagonal until the dough meets in the middle.

  6. Roll that log into a snail shape. Tuck the end underneath and place on a lined baking sheet.

  7. Set aside in a warm place for the second rise, about 30-45 minutes.

  8. After they have risen, brush each roll with the soy sauce/sesame oil mixture and sprinkle with more sesame seeds.

The order of whether you sprinkle sesame seeds before cutting or sprinkle them after cutting doesn't really matter. Just make sure not to cut through the dough to each side. It'll make it harder to roll and keep the green onions from falling out.

I chose to bake these instead of steaming them because I don't have a steamer of my own and also because the last time I tried to steam buns, it was an epic fail. 

Don't worry, they still pull apart beautifully.

So, Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. I'm telling you again, don't forget the salt.

Also, green onions and scallions are synonymous. 'Scallion' just sounds fancier in the title.


Baked Scallion Buns

Adapted from these Steamed Scallion Buns

Yields: 12 buns  

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 cups flour

  • 1 cup warmed milk

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast

  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • ½ teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • Sesame seeds

Steps

Proof the yeast with the warm milk and sugar until the mixture is bubbly, about 5-10 minutes. Once the yeast is proofed, pour it in a large bowl followed by the oil and salt. Stir to combine.

Slowly add the flour, ½ cup at a time until a dough comes together. Dump it on a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a warm, greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel. Set aside to rise in a warm place for about 1 -1½ hours or until it has doubled in size.

In the meantime, chop the green onions and whisk together the soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.

When the dough has risen, punch it down and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Shape these pieces into small balls and cover loosely with a damp towel so they don't dry out.

Take one dough ball and roll it into an oblong oval. Brush it with the soy sauce and sesame oil mixture. Make 6-8 vertical cuts within the dough. Be careful not to cut the dough into strips. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Alternatively, you could sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions first and then cut the dough. It all tastes the same.

Take the top and bottom and roll inwards on a diagonal until the dough meets in the middle. Roll that log into a snail shape. Tuck the end underneath and place on a lined baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the dough.

Set aside in a warm place for the second rise, about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Brush each bun with the soy sauce and sesame oil mixture and sprinkle with more sesame seeds. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the buns are golden brown on the top. Set to cool on a wire rack.