Tag Archives: buns

Homemade Hamburger Buns

ETA (07/28/2017): An earlier post of the hamburger bun recipe was found at “She Makes and Bakes”.

You can never have enough hamburger bun recipes … or maybe that’s just me. 🙂

I saw a picture of these big, fluffy beauties posted on a FB Bread Baking group recently and the next day I made a batch.

The obligatory “crumb” shot

Unfortunately, I can’t let you taste them. Buttery and just a bit sweet even though only a modest amount of butter and sugar are used.

There’s nothing really NEW about the recipe. It’s the technique that makes them stand out. After the dough is bulk proofed and shaped into balls (about 105-110 gm each) they’re allowed to rest for 10 minutes. Then, a rolling pin is gently run over the top of each rounding sphere to flatten it a bit.

They’re transferred to a prepared baking sheet and covered, with an oiled sheet of food wrap or with a dry towel, in my case. Let them continue proof for 40 minutes.

It was warm in my kitchen (78 deg F) so after only 30 minutes, I uncovered the buns and brushed them with an egg wash and sprinkled some sesame seeds over the top. The buns went into a moderate (360 deg F) oven though the recipe I found on line at “Your Homebased Mom” uses a hot (400 deg F) oven. It doesn’t matter, you just bake them for a shorter time, if using the hotter oven.

Duck Fat Brioche, Oreo Fudge and Chicken Livers

Work is slow in January, after the return from the Christmas break, and as teachers gear up for the last few weeks before the end of the fall semester. So, when I was at home on the first day back, I decided to make another batch of the duck fat brioche dough that I’ve posted already. In the meantime, I’ve eaten several of the rolls I made and assembled sandwiches from the rest, which are all wrapped up and in the freezer. So, I need bread.

I decided to post the brioche recipe to make it more convenient for anyone who wants to give it a try and doesn’t want to have to deal with eliminating the sourdough starter from the recipe.

You can shape the dough in various ways, as seen in the previous post. I made 9 inch long hoagies and rolls using a couple of different braiding techniques, this time.

One strand braids, Easter wreaths and a mini hoagie

Duck Fat Brioche Dough – makes ~ 1 kg/2.2 lb dough, enough for about 16 buns or rolls

1 cup warm milk (or 1 cup water and 1 tbsp milk powder)
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/4-4 1/2 all purpose flour (or a combination of all purpose, bread and semolina flour), divided
1/4 cup melted duck fat (or bacon fat or butter, if you can’t get the duck fat )
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg and 1 tbsp water, for egg wash

Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk, then stir in the yeast. Let sit and proof until foamy, about 10-15 min depending on temperature in the room.

In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour and the salt and mix through. Make a well in the middle and add your eggs, melted fat and yeast mixture. Beat well with a large wooden or metal spoon until you get a sticky batter. Gradually stir in the remaining flour, 1/3-1/2 cup at a time until you can no longer stir it and a ball starts forming around the spoon. Turn the batter onto a lightly floured working surface and gradually knead in more flour until you get a soft but not sticky dough. It will take you about 7-10 minutes. You can take a break after 5 minutes. Cover the dough with the bowl that you made your bread in and after a few minutes continue kneading.

Oil a large bowl, place your ball of dough into the bowl and turn it around a bit so the ball gets lightly coated with oil as well. Cover the bowl with a large sheet of plastic food wrap and a clean towel and place in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, 1 – 1 1/2 hr depending on the temperature in the room.

Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 2 portions. Divide each half into 8 portions and shape as desired.

Cover with an oiled sheet of plastic food wrap (oil the one you used previously) and a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 45 min to 1 hr.

Preheat the oven to 425 deg F. (For the buns or rolls, you can preheat the oven to 375-400 deg F.)

Brush the buns or rolls with egg wash and bake until the top is golden brown and the bottom is firm, about 18-22 minutes. If you think you need to bake a bit longer, cover the tops with a sheet of aluminum foil and continue baking for several more minutes.

Hoagie buns – you can make about 8 6-8 inch long buns (113.5 g/ 1/4 lb each). When baked, you’ll end up with a 9 inch long hoagie or submarine bun. For 12 inch hoagies, you might want to use double the amount of dough (227 g/ 1/2 lb)

For the Oreo cookie fudge switch-up, I used the basic vanilla fudge recipe, added a couple of ounces of finely shaved white chocolate and 6 crumbled Oreo cookies.

I know not everyone likes chicken livers but I do. So I bought 2 pounds, cleaned them up and then fried them in a couple of tablespoons of canola oil with a finely chopped onion, a splash of French brandy and a bit of paprika for colour. Delicious over mashed potatoes or the creamy polenta below.

Brioche Dough … Kaiser Rolls and Hamburger Buns

A brioche dough is a type of enriched dough. Milk, butter and eggs give you a lovely tender crumb and, whether you shape it into a bread loaf or any of the many shapes of buns and rolls, you’ll be happy with the result.

Crumb of the rolls

I used a basic brioche recipe as I have in the past for my hybrid hamburger buns, sans sourdough starter. (Replace the starter with ~ 2/3 flour and 1/3 liquid.) I DID make one other important change. Instead of using butter, I used leftover duck fat, for an even richer flavour.

Half of my dough (~2 lbs total) ended up as kaiser rolls and the other half was portioned slightly larger into buns.

 

Hybrid/Semi-Leaven Soft Italian Bread Sticks

I didn’t get a chance to go to the bakery to pick up some burger buns this weekend, so I decided to make them myself today. And instead of using a recipe I had already tried, I found a recipe for soft Italian bread sticks that sounded interesting, and used that.

After the major fail of trying to get my new pineapple sourdough starter dough to bulk proof (24 hrs and it didn’t rise much at all), I was going to pitch it but then I decided to keep it going for at least a few weeks and then freeze it until next summer when I have time to play. I had about 1/2 a cup or so of discard starter and threw it into the bread stick dough mixture as a flavour enhancer.

Crumb of one of the twists

I usually bulk proof my dough in the microwave with a 2 cup pyrex cup full of very hot water and check the rise after 40-45 minutes. Today, I decided to let it go the full hour and the dough had started to go over the top of the bowl. Luckily, I had a large sheet of plastic wrap tightly covering the bowl or I would have ended up with a mess.

The recipe makes 24 bread sticks but I divided my 2 pounds of dough in half and made a half dozen burger buns with one half and 6 twisted bread sticks and 5 twists with the other half.

Hybrid Brioche Cheddar Hamburger Buns/Rolls

I froze away some of my first sourdough starter, last year, and pulled out 2 oz which I rehydrated and fed a few days earlier.

Then, I made some rolls with it. I had intended to make hamburger buns but for some reason, changed my mind and ended up placing the dough balls into an oiled 9 by 13 inch glass baking dish and made rolls instead. Since I don’t have a scale accurate enough to weigh small quantities, I ended up with some large balls of dough and after removing the excess, ended up with enough dough to make a single perfect hamburger bun.

The bun makes a great sandwich. The crumb of the rolls is light and fluffy.

Hybrid Brioche Cheddar Cheese Hamburger Buns/Rolls – makes 2 1/2 lbs/1.1 kg dough, enough for 16 buns

1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water (replace with water and 1 tbsp milk powder or 2 % milk for a brioche)
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup active sourdough starter
2 eggs, plus an extra egg for egg wash
~ 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 – 4 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Poppy or sesame seeds for topping (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast, stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour, salt, melted butter, 2 eggs and the sourdough starter.

Mix well with a large wooden spoon until you get a batter like consistency. Add the cheese and mix through. Gradually, add the rest of the flour, about half a cup at a time until the dough starts forming a ball in the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a floured working surface and add additional flour until you get a soft dough. Knead for about 10 minutes.

Turn dough out into an large oiled bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, which will take about 1 -1 1/2 hrs.

Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and form into balls.

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or brushing with vegetable oil. Spread out 8 balls of dough over each of the baking sheets so they’re at least 1 1/2 inches apart.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 425 deg F.

Beat the extra egg with a tablespoon of cold water and, using a pastry brush, brush over the top of the buns. If using the dough for buns, after letting them rise, pat them down a bit, gently, to get a wider bun.

Sprinkle poppy or sesame seeds over the top of the buns if desired.

Bake the buns for 12-17 minutes or until the tops are a golden brown and the bottoms are browned as well.

Transfer to a cooling rack.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

I like the IDEA of hot cross buns better than the ones I’ve had, even those bought from a bakery. So this year, I decided to try to make my own. I threw in a half cup of sourdough starter because I had it handy.

Generally, my first tries of new recipes have been spot on but that’s not always the case.

This recipe is a work in progress for various reasons ie. I chose to reduce the amount of sugar asked for in the recipe I used. I was too lazy to grate fresh nutmeg when I ran out so I used half the amount called for. It turned out that my jar of allspice was empty so I left it out. I KNEW I shouldn’t use the full tablespoon of ground cinnamon called for (I started with 2 tsp) but decided to compensate for the nutmeg/allspice. Next time … I’m only using 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. 🙂

In the interest of full disclosure, it was a tasty hot cross bun. I’ve paid good money for worse. But it’s not a recipe I’d make again. I’d try something else first.

That said, someone else might really enjoy the sweetness level and cinnamon amount so I’m including the recipe below.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns – makes 15 buns

3 – 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup active sourdough starter
1/2 cup warmed milk
1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar (use the full amount next time)
2 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 – 4 tbsp butter or margarine, softened
1 – 3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice (didn’t have any)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup raisins and 3/4 cup dried cranberries, soaked overnight in 1/3 cup rum
~1 tsp finely minced candied orange peel.

Soaked fruit and peel

For the flour paste

1/2 cup all purpose flour
4-5 tbsp cold water

For syrup glaze

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish or spray with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warmed milk. Sprinkle in the dry yeast and stir. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour and salt. Stir in sourdough starter, activated yeast mixture, eggs, and butter. Beat well with a wooden spoon until you get a thick, smooth batter.

Add spices, drained raisins and cranberries and minced candied orange peel. Stir well.

Stir in the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until it’s too thick to stir then turn out your dough onto a lightly floured working surface. Knead for another 5-10 minutes until your dough is soft but not sticky. The egg yolks will give a golden colour to your dough.

Lightly oil a large bowl, add your dough ball, cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate the dough. Cut the dough into 15 equal pieces and roll each one into a ball.

Place the rolls in the pan and cover with a clean damp towel and let them rest for another 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Making the flour paste for the cross

Place the flour in a small bowl and add the flour a tablespoon time until you form a smooth, pipeable paste. Stop with the 5 tablespoon and wait a while for the mixture to loosen up before adding another tsp or so. (I added a sixth tablespoon right away and ended up with a mixture that was thinner than I would have liked.) Pour the paste into a small freezer bag. Seal and cut an 1/8th to a 1/4 diameter hole in the bottom. Pipe straight lines horizontally and vertically

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Making the sugar syrup

While baking make the syrup by mixing the sugar with the water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over low heat. Continue boiling for 4-5 minutes or until syrup thickens a bit. Set aside.

When the buns are out of the oven, brush with the sugar syrup.

More Bread Baking … Pizza and Crusty Rolls

I know it seems like I do a lot of bread baking, but I really don’t. It usually takes me about a year to 14 months to get through a 20kg bag of AP flour between sweet (cakes, pies, cookies) and savoury (breads/buns/rolls, gravies) uses.

I’ve been holding back on the last of the flour from my previous purchase … just in case of emergency. Not that I can really imagine what a ‘flour emergency’ would consist of. Still, after picking up a new bag on Saturday, before going off to donate blood, I’m now flour rich.

So I baked 2 pizzas on Sunday and tried a new recipe for crusty rolls today. I got the recipe from a FB bread baking group.

I wasn’t sure that I wanted to make a dozen rolls so I baked a couple of mini loaves with half of the dough, instead. I’m pretty sure I’ve found my go-to crusty roll recipe.

Of course, I had to taste test the rolls so I made a sammie with one filled with a couple of large chicken fingers/small cutlets and a generous slather of Miracle Whip.

SO good.

Crusty Rolls – you can see the crumb on the top of the roll to the right

I wanted to try a higher baking temp (425 deg F) for the loaves so they got over-proved by the time I got them into the oven and there wasn’t a lot of oven spring left in the yeast. I suspected that would happen when I slashed the loaf.

Natalie D’s Crusty Rolls – makes 1 dozen rolls

1 1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 large egg
3 – 3 1/4 cup bread flour (added about 1 cup more flour and kneaded for 10 min)

In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, add 1 cup of the flour and salt and mix togther well. Add proofed yeast mixture, egg and oil. With a wooden spoon, beat well for a couple of minutes. Stir in the rest of the flour, half a cup at a time, reserving about a half a cup for kneading.

Sprinkle some flour on a working surface and turn out the dough. Knead until you have a soft but not sticky dough.

Transfer dough to a greased bowl and let rise for about an hour or until doubled.

Shape into 12 balls and lay out on a greased baking sheet. Cover lightly with a towel and let rise for about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F and bake rolls for 12-15 minutes.

Trial 1:
6 rolls, glazed with water, baked at 400 deg F for 20 min
2 mini loaves, glazed with EVOO, baked at 425 deg F for 20 min.

Rolls and Mini Loaves

December Round-Up: Bread, soup and a bunch of other stuff

I’m sorry but I’ve been a bit distracted and haven’t kept up with my posts this month. Here are a couple of recipes for buns, 3 for soups and a lot of pictures of meals I’ve made to make you salivate. I hope to do better in 2016.

Bread/Buns

  1. Pretzel Buns

Crumb

Pretzel Buns – makes 6-8 buns

200 ml warm water
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil (ie sunflower oil)
2 1/2 cups (about 300g) all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
4 tbsp baking soda
1 egg, beaten
sea salt for sprinkling

Add the sugar to the warm water and stir until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it rest for 5-10 minutes (it should be foamy).

Put the flour and salt in a medium bowl then pour in the yeast and oil and mix well with a spoon. When it’s well combined, knead the dough with your hands for several minutes. If needed, add more flour. The dough shouldn’t be sticky.

Once ready, shape into a ball and brush lightly with oil. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and then with a towel. Leave it to rest somewhere warm. This would take about 1 hour. The dough will double in size.

When it’s ready, take it out of the bowl and knead it again a little bit on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 6 (or 8) pieces and shape them into balls. Cover the balls with a light towel and leave them to rest. This time for about 30 minutes.

Now it’s time for the part that will give these buns their appetizing crust.

First, prepare a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring 1 1/2 liters (6 cups) of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the baking soda little by little (it’s going to foam, so don’t just dump all of the soda at once, because it will overflow and turn your stove into a mess). Place back on heat.

Place 2 or 3 of the buns in the water and poach them for 30-40 seconds on each side. Take them out with a slotted spoon and put them on the baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C (395-400 deg F).

Brush the buns with the beaten egg, sprinkle some sea salt (or pretzel salt, if you have). Make several cuts on top of them with a sharp knife.

Bake the buns for about 15-20 minutes or until they’re a nice brown colour.

Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking pan and then transfer to a cooling rack.

      2. Easy White Buns for Xmas

Debra C’s Easy White Bread – makes 1 loaf of bread (in 8″ x 4″, 9″ x 5″ or 13″ Pullman), 2 free form loaves, 15 dinner rolls  baked in a 9″ x 13″ pan.

1 1/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp sugar
5 tsp active dry yeast
1- 1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
3 – 3 1/2 cup all purpose unbleached flour

Put warm water, yeast and sugar in medium sized bowl and stir until dissolved. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes or until foamy.

When yeast blooms/bubbles, add salt and oil/butter, stir until salt is dissolved.

Start adding flour slowly (1/2 cup at a time) and stir with spoon until you can’t stir any more.

Flour your hands and turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and keep adding flour as you knead. This is going to take several minutes, adding just a bit of flour at a time. After adding flour just form a ball and cover with your bowl.

Let rise 5 minutes in the bowl, covered.

Roll out or gently press with your knuckles, until it becomes a rectangle (10″ x 14″).

Roll up and place the dough, pinched seam down, into a greased loaf pan. Cover with a towel and let rise 20 minutes or until double in size in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cut a slit in the top of the bread. Brush with a little egg glaze or milk.

Bake approx. 20-30 minutes until done.

Cool before cutting.

For rolls – Divide into 15 equally sized portions and shape into balls. Place into an oiled 9×13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish and let rise.

Brush with egg wash (1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp of cold water) and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Let rest in dish for about 10 minutes and then remove to cooling rack or the bottoms may get a bit soggy.

Soup

  1. Kale and Hot Italian Sausage Tri-Colour Gnocchi Soup

Kale and Hot Italian Sausage Tri-Colour Gnocchi Soup – serves 4-6

1-2 tsp vegetable oil
4 links hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
4 cups good-quality chicken stock
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced (optional)
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped (and stems removed, if desired)
1 pound potato gnocchi, tri-colour … for colour
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt (1/2 tsp) and pepper (1/4 tsp), to taste starting with amounts noted

optional toppings: freshly shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the sausage and onion until the sausage is browned, breaking up as much as possible. Drain out as much of the excess grease as possible.

Add in the chicken stock, salt, pepper and diced roasted red peppers (if using), and bring the mixture to a simmer (still over medium-high heat). Once it reaches a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and add the kale and gnocchi and stir to combine. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until the gnocchi are cooked through and tender. Stir in the heavy cream.

Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Serve warm with desired toppings.

NOTE: If you can’t find hot Italian sausage, use mild and add a sprinkling of crushed, dried red chili pepper flakes.

    2. Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup – serves 6-8

4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water and 2 tbsp chicken soup mix)
2 cups chicken breast (cooked, and cubed)
4 oz long grain and wild rice blend
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp butter
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced or 2 tbsp dried onion soup**
1 cup corn, canned or frozen (optional)
1/2 cup whipping cream
~1/2 cup water

** What I used

In a large sauce pot, saute the carrots, celery and onion in the butter over medium heat.

After a few minutes, add the flour, stir into the butter and cook for 3-4 minutes to cook out the rawness in the flour.

Stir in the chicken broth a cup at a time until it’s all been added to the pot. Add the corn (if using), onion soup mix (if you didn’t use onion), black pepper, cubed chicken and rice blend. Bring to a boil then cover the pot and reduce the heat until the soup is simmering and cook for 25 min, or until the rice is tender.

Whisk in the whipping cream and check the thickness. If too thick, add the additional water. Taste for seasoning. If too salty due to using the dried soup mix, you may wish to add a bit more water.

    3. Chicken Chile Verde Soup

Chicken Chile Verde Soup – serves 6

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water, divided
1 cup masa harina
1/2** – 1 cup cup green enchilada sauce
1/2 jalapeno pepper**, diced or 1 4 oz can diced green chiles
1 tsp chile powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or old Cheddar** cheese
4 oz cream cheese
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

Garnish: additional Monterey Jack cheese and crushed tortilla chips for topping, if desired

** What I used

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add in the chicken broth.

Combine 2 cups of the water with the masa harina, whisking until smooth. Pour into the pot along with the remaining cup of water, enchilada sauce, and jalapeno or green chiles. Season with the salt, chile powder, cumin and pepper to taste. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until thickened.

Stir in the Monterey Jack and cream cheese. Cook until the cheese has melted, whisking if needed, 5-10 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook until heated through.

Serve topped with additional Monterey Jack cheese and crumbled tortilla chips, if desired.

NOTE: This soup will get thicker upon standing. If you like a thinner soup, use more water or chicken broth to thin it out.

Miscellaneous Meals

Mushroom Alfredo and chicken cutlet

Chicken cutlet, mashed potatoes

Pizza – Italian sausage and mushrooms

Meatloaf, baked beans, onion rings and coleslaw

Roasted chicken breast, baked beans and coleslaw

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, coleslaw

Pan fried pork chop, mushroom gravy over mashed potatoes, corn and salad

Romanian-Themed Christmas Eve Supper: Fasole Batuta (Mashed White Beans) and Bacalao (Salt Cod)

My mom did 99% of the cooking at our house. However, one dish that my dad could, and did make, twice a year, was the white beans that were featured in this menu. I’ve not been able to find it in any of my google searches of Romanian dishes so I wonder if the pairing of mashed white beans (Great Northern, navy, or cannellini) and soaked salt cod was unique to our family.

Pieces of dry, salted cod would be soaked overnight in several changes of cold water, placed in the bottom of a baking dish and then the pureed cooked and seasoned beans would be layered on top. The dish would be baked at 350 deg F for about half an hour, and then my dad would pour 2-3 tablespoons of oil flavoured with fried onions and paprika over the top and serve large spoonfuls to each of us. A white bean and noodle soup, made with the bean cooking liquid and a cup or so of mashed beans, would precede the beans and cod.

I decided to break up the pairing and instead serve 3 separate dishes: the soup mentioned above, a mashed white bean dip/spread and salt cod cakes. And because I thought I might still be hungry, I made a quick pasta dish with jarred sauce and a seafood medley.

Appetizers/Bread

Fasole batuta cu ceapa caramelizata (Mashed White Beans with Caramelized Onions)

I made the rolls from a recipe posted on a FB bread baking group I belong to.

Salted Cod Cakes

Soup

White bean and noodle soup

Main/Pasta

Florentine Seafood Medley over Fettuccine

Memorial plate … buns and dried Romanian sausage

Waiting for Mos Craciun (Santa Claus)

Baked Chinese Buns and other stuff

WARNING: Picture Heavy Post

I’ve been doing quite a bit of cooking from my freezer these days due to necessity. No money and free time means I can get creative.

I love dim sum and one of my favourite dishes is char siu bao or Chinese bbq’d pork buns. I was going to use the Korean pork tenderloin for a filling but I was too lazy to do so when I had a  container of Jamaican beef patty filling in the freezer, so I used that instead. I ended up making 2 batches (24 buns total) to use up all the thawed filling. Next time I’ll try for something more traditional with my own Chinese bbq’d pork. The buns were a definite winner.

Char Siu Bao Dough – makes 12 x 1 1/2 oz buns

2 1/4 tsp (1 package) of dried yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups (280 gm/10 oz) plain flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp cold water

Shaping the Buns:

Place the sugar and warm water in a small bowl, mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and leave it for 10 – 15 minutes until it becomes all frothy.

Sift flour into a large bowl.

Add the yeast mixture, beaten egg, oil and salt and stir. Bring the flour mixture together with a fork or your hands.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. Use as little flour as possible for kneading. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 – 2 hours depending on the temperature in your kitchen.

Once dough has doubled in size transfer to a working surface over which you’ve scattered some flour. Deflate the dough a bit and divide into 12 equal portions. Shape into round balls.

You can use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to approximately 8cm (3 inches) in diameter. Then pick the piece of dough up and gently pull the edges to enlarge to about 10cm (4 inches) in diameter. (By doing this it keeps the dough slightly thicker in the centre. This means that when your buns are cooking they won’t split on the top.)

Place a good sized tbsp of filling on the dough circle. Then gather the edges and seal your bun.

NOTE: Alternatively, press the ball of dough down with the heel of your palm, put the stretched dough into your left hand and add the filling. Use the thumb of your left hand to press down on the filling while using the thumb and first two fingers of your right hand to draw the edges of the dough up around the filling.

Place the bun sealed side down on your baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the dough. (You can press down on the balls gently so the bun won’t be too bread-y on the top and the filling will more centered. See picture below. ) Once all the buns are finished, brush the surface with egg wash.

Place in a preheated oven of 400º F for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

The buns went well with a freshly made bowl of creamy turkey and wild rice soup.

A few other goodies made this month: Raisin butter tarts and a couple of mini pies, coconut panna cotta with a blueberry sauce or a simple apricot jam base and a quince paste garnish.

I used the extra blueberry sauce for a filling for a couple of blueberry-raspberry mini pies. The filling for the fruit pies was thickened with a cornstarch slurry and cooked together with a handful of frozen raspberries before being allowed to cool. The pastry for the tarts and pies were made with Tenderflake lard pastry from the freezer.

And lest you think it was all about the sweets … here are some other tasty dishes.

Chorizo sausage, jalapeno cheese and cheddar cornbread … with leftover turkey potato gnocchi soup

Salmon in roasted tomato and pesto marinara over fettuccine

Pork chops – either simmered in a cream of mushroom gravy or breaded and pan fried

And then, there’s always a pizza or two. In this case, the last of the whole wheat sourdough dough from my freezer.

Washed down with a refreshing beer, in this case a Japanese Sapporo.