Well, here we are at the last month of 2016.
I am always convinced it will never get cold but then one week it does and then I am really cold. That's when I whip out all of the blankets I own, start wearing leggings under all of my pants, constantly boil water for tea and find any excuse I can to turn on the oven.
Bread is always one of those things that begs me to turn on the oven. Plus, stirring and kneading the dough warms up the blood quite a bit. And by the time you've stirred, kneaded, waited patiently for the bread to rise, shaped the buns, waited for them to rise again and finally baked them, there really is nothing better than fresh bread straight out of the oven.
These buns come from my all-time favorite bread book and are one of the first breads I made that turned out just right and was first trying to get over this thing called yeast. They turn out not too dense but fluffy with the layers you are looking for when you pull the bread apart. This dough is also extremely forgiving, easy to work with and not too sticky. I have shaped these in all sorts of ways from regular buns, to flattened ones, to fancy knots and these swirls.
In college, I would bring sandwiches all the time and used this bread recipe as a base for many of those sandwiches. Granted, I eventually got sick of sandwiches and still can't eat too many of them but this bread recipe will never get old, no matter how simple it is. As noted above, it's best when fresh out of the oven or with a dab of butter and jam. I also like them paired with a bowl of soup, generally of the creamy variety like this one.
P.S. I seem to do things backwards, so if you are new to bread, start with the recipe for these buns, then go onto the more fancy things.
Sesame Seed Buns
From the Hamburger Buns in Mary's Bread Basket and Soup Kettle
Yields: 12 buns
This recipe can easily be doubled.
Buns also freeze extremely well in a Ziploc bag for about a month.
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten, setting aside 2 tablespoons for brushing
- 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
- Optional: sesame seeds for topping
In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir with a fork until dissolved and set aside to proof for 10 minutes. Once frothy and bubbly, blend in oil, sugar, salt and eggs until combined. Beat in 2 cups of flour until a smooth batter forms. Gradually add in more flour ½ cup at a time until the dough turns shaggy and is no longer wet. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and placed in a greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp towel. Set aside to rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
Once risen, knock down the dough and dump onto a clean work surface. Knead a few times, then cut into 12 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a 12-inch rope. Roll one side inwards to form a snail shape. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a non-stick sheet. Continue with the rest of the dough. Cover and let rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush each roll with an egg wash of the reserved egg and a splash of water and top with sesame seeds if desired. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the tops of the buns are golden brown. Remove to cool on a wire rack.