Both of my great-grandfathers were bakers; if that’s an inherited trait, I’m officially thanking them both here for instilling in me a love of yeast and flour. Working with yeasted doughs and breads is quite satisfying, and it has been something I’ve dabbled in since high school.
I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website recently and decided to try it out. Eggy and not too sweet, I’ve put some of the dozen buns aside for Christmas breakfast. And, as an extra bonus, the smell of baking dough has filled our apartment.
Ingredients – Buns
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp saffron threads, lightly crushed
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour (King Arthur recommended)
- 1 TBSP instant yeast
- 1/4 cup potato flour OR 1/2 cup instant potato flakes
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs (1 will be separated)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients – Topping
- 1 large egg white (reserved from dough) mixed with 1 TBSP cold water
- OPTIONAL coarse sugar (pearl sugar recommended)
- OPTIONAL golden raisins
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat (or microwave safe bowl in the microwave), heat the milk and saffron to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Set the mixture aside to allow the butter to melt and cool to lukewarm which will be about 30 minutes time.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together yeast, flour, potato flour, salt and sugar.
- Separate one of the 3 eggs and set the white aside to use in the topping.
- Pour the lukewarm mix/butter mixture over the dry ingredients. Now add the two whole eggs + the 1 egg yolk and the vanilla. Mix to combine and then knead (use the dough hook) for about 7 minutes by mixture (or if you’re a purists, mix for 10 minutes by hand) until the dough is smooth and supple.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour until it’s quite puffy (but it doesn’t have to double in bulk).
- Gently deflate the dough (give it a punch, it’s okay) and divide it into 12 equal pieces. If you use a scale for this each piece weighs about 92 grams or 3 1/4 ounces.
- Shape the dough into rough logs and let rest covered for about 10 minutes.
- Roll each log into a 15 or 18 inch rope; shape each rope into an “s” shape by rolling the ends into opposing coils. If you are using raisins, you can tuck a raisin into the center of each side-by-side coil (I skipped the raisins).
- Place buns on lightly greased sheet (or on parchment) leaving about an inch between each piece. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. While dough rises, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Brush each bun with the egg white/water mixture. Sprinkle with coarse pearl sugar if desired.
- Bake buns until golden brown (about 18 to 20 minutes). King Arthur Flour recommends tenting the raising with foil for the last 3 minutes to prevent the raisins from burning (which is yet another reason I skipped the raisins).
- Remove the buns from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.