Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Buns Heavenly Buns!

It would seem that I'm a cake baker at heart...but my first love (baking anyway) has always been bread.  First, it's more sustainable to eat bread than cake.  Second, is there anything better than the smell of a house with freshly baked bread just out of the oven? 

My introduction to Rose was at a local bookstore.  I was leafing through bread books when I landed upon The Bread Bible -- I could not put it down.  I was infatuated.  It was like a reading a really, really good novel -- only about bread.  I could tell the author was passionate about the topic and Rose, in her friendly and guiding way, made me want to hone my bread baking skills and learn as much as I could about the subject.  I bought it on the spot.  To this day I haven't looked back.  It pains me when I have to buy bread from the store -- especially now that I can make fabulous bread myself.  Further, I live in the bread basket of the world, Saskatchewan!  So I have a connectedness to the grain, so to speak - I grew up on a grain farm and remember making "gum" by chewing grain right off the truck! 

I get wiggy if I don't bake bread for awhile.  And by wiggy, I mean that itchy, antsy, something's not quite right feeling.   I've been so busy cake baking that I had to get back to the Earth -- and today was bun day! 

My absolute favourite recipe for day-to-day bread or buns is Rose's Golden Honey Oat Bread.  It is slightly sweet, hearty, and soft.  I have altered the recipe by using upwards of 50% freshly ground whole wheat flour and 50% unbleached, and it still works wonderfully (tally up the masses of wwflour and ubapflour and set your percentage).  I bake it as bread, but most often buns as I find buns keep better.  They have "sealed" sides which allows them to not dry out as quickly.  Although, really, neither stay around very long in my house. 

It doesn't take long to make and the flavour is outstanding.  If you have some browned butter milk solids, throw them in...they give it such wonderful flavour.  I also love this recipe because I only need to use 2 bowls.  I put the flax (blend in the blender if using whole) and oats in the mixer bowl and soak.

I set my other bowl on top and use my family grain mill attachment to grind the whole wheat flour (from my parents' farm).  I like it fairly fine.

First I cover the oats/flax with my pyrex bowl cover -- the bowl has since passed on, but the lid fits perfectly over my Artisan's bowls -- I love that I don't have to use plastic wrap!

Then I add the unbleached flour, gluten, milk powder, yeast.

Back to the oat/flax mixture and add honey and oil.

Pouring the flour mixture in.

I can do about 1.3x the recipe in my Artisan before it creeps up and over the dough hook.  I still like to put some spray oil on the top of the hook to prevent it from doing this.

Mix for about 3 mins.

Let it rest -- the autolyse technique.

Then add the salt.  I used to be on a low sodium diet...anyway, I find I still like lower salt food, so I only add about 1/2 to 2/3 of the recommended salt.  I usually don't notice any ill effects.  In this case I would have had to use 2.5 t, but instead used about 1.5 t.   Mix for about 4 mins.  No pics...sort of forgot at this point : (

Into the ice cream pail.  Rose notes to not let this rise more than 1.5x as the bran cuts the gluten if allowed to double.   Then form into rolls.  I use a 9" x 13" pan and an 8" x 8" pan -- in the bigger pan I make 12 - 60 g buns and in the smaller 9 - 55g buns.   I use my microwave as a proofbox -- turn the over the range light on low and it's nice and warm!

I don't usually time them, but I bake them on a stone at the bottom of the oven and add ice to a pan on the oven floor.  I don't mist with water as I prefer to glaze with butter -- I don't go through the work of clarifying, but instead melt the butter and try and avoid the solids. 

I bake them until they are more than 190F -- usually around 15 minutes. 

Take them out and coat again with butter :)

Sooo yummy and the smell is intoxicating!  My almost 2 year old ate 1.5 buns and would have had more if I'd have let him.   He usually doesn't do that with store-bought buns...go figure!


  1. how how lovely it is to meet a kindred spirit. i also don't feel right unless i'm baking bread and nothing gives me more deep grounded pleasure. thank you for these beautiful photos and for sharing your bread/bun story.

  2. I felt exactly the same way the first time I read the Bread Bible and every one of Rose's books since. What a lovely thing to have grown up on a wheat farm. Your rolls look amazing.

  3. Stunning rolls - someday I'll get into bread baking. Your post is very inspiring!


  4. These look out of this world delicious. Thanks for the step by step pictures. Except for the smell I can almost imagine they are baking at my house right now.

  5. How nice of you, Rose, to stop by! I am flattered! And Patrincia, I'm going to make it my personal mission to get you into bread...once you do, there's no going back -- especially once the family gets used to it.


For Heavenly Cakes Sake