Tag Archives: 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.

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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.

Hybrid 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.

Hybrid 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 water 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 teaspoon 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.

More Sourdough and a Turkey Soup

Never say never … to sourdough starter.

Soup is a great way to use up leftover diced turkey meat, especially the white meat which can dry out quickly.

For this creamy turkey soup, I used potato gnocchi, and chopped baby spinach and grated carrots for colour, flavour and added nutrition.

Creamy Turkey and Potato Gnocchi Soup – makes 8 cups/ servings

4 tbsp (1/4 cup) butter
1 tbsp extra virgin oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
4 tbsp/1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups turkey stock (home made if possible)
3/4-1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 pound potato gnocchi
1-2 cups turkey breast, cooked and diced
salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2-1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese – optional

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Rinse with cold water, drain and reserve until needed. Since it only takes 3 minutes to cook the gnocchi once your water is boiling, wait to cook them until you’re almost ready to add them to the soup.

Mise en place

Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil, over medium heat. When the onion becomes translucent, add the flour, and make a roux. Let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 4 cups of turkey stock, the starting amounts of salt and pepper and the dried herbs.

Into the roux add the carrots and diced turkey. Once the mixture becomes thick add the whipping cream. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi and the spinach. Taste for seasonings, add more salt and pepper if needed, then simmer until the soup is heated through.

Sprinkle some grated Parmesan on each bowl if desired.

And what goes well with soup?

Home made buns or rolls.

I decided to activate some dried sourdough flakes. I ground them up in my coffee/spice grinder first to make rehydrating them easier and converted an old yeast recipe for Dilly-Onion Bread to use the resulting sourdough starter.

The results were pretty good if I do say so myself. Next time, I’m leaving out the dill seeds though as I don’t feel like crunching on them.

Hybrid Dilly-Onion Bread – 2.2 lb/1 kg loaf

1 medium onion, finely diced and fried in 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar, divided
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp dill seed
1 tbsp dill weed
1 egg (a second egg may be used for an egg wash)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter, fed about 4 hrs earlier
3 cups all purpose flour, divided

Fry diced onion and let cool.

In a small bowl, combine the warm water with 1/2 tbsp sugar. Stir well and sprinkle in 2 tsp dry active yeast. Let proof for 5-10 min or until the mixture is foamy.

In a large bowl, add 1 cup of all purpose hour, salt, remaining 1 1/2 tbsp sugar, dill seed and dill weed, fried onion and oil/butter it was fried in.

In a Pyrex measuring cup, add one egg and beat slightly with a fork. Spoon in 1/2 cup sour cream so you have a total of 3/4 cup of egg/sour cream.

Sourdough Starter

Stir in the sourdough starter and the egg/sour cream mixture. Beat well for a few minutes.

Stir in flour, 1/4 cup at a time until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and is too thick to stir. ( I had about 1/2 cup of flour left at this point.)

On a clean work surface, sprinkle 1/4 cup of the flour and turn out your sticky dough onto the flour. Knead gently adding more flour until you have a dough that’s still soft but not sticky. This should only take a few minutes. (You will probably have about 1/4 cups of flour left at this point.)

Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rest until doubled, about 1 hour.

Shape as desired using remaining flour to prevent sticking to hands.

Bake as per loaf, buns or braid. Buns were baked at 375 deg F for 30 minutes. The epi was baked at 450 deg F for 15-16 minutes.

  

And then cause I had some starter left over I fed it and made a sweet sourdough starter recipe … Cinnamon-Raisin rolls. The recipe came from here.

 

 

You can’t tell in the savoury buns, especially with the sour cream in the dough, but with these rolls, there was a definite sour back note. It was good but I’m not fond enough of the taste of sourdough that I’d make it again, especially when regular cinnamon rolls are so good.

Home-made Hot Dog Buns with Sourdough Starter

I’ve got a package of bbq’d sausages (Grill ‘Ems) in my freezer and had pictured eating them inside hot dog buns.

But nothing so crass as PURCHASED hot dog buns.

I made my own using a half batch of the hamburger recipe found here. I made a couple of changes in the recipe … first, I wanted to reduce the amount of sugar used so I halved the amount. I still got the quick rise so I was quite pleased. Also, I had some leftover sourdough starter from an experiment I had started early in the week and I added 1/2 cup in place of some of the water and flour.

The result … well, what do you think? 🙂

The buns were shaped after letting the dough rest for 10 minutes. Then, they were allowed to rest covered for another 10-12 minutes, brushed with an egg glaze, and baked.

The buns were baked for 17 minutes at 400 deg F.

My Sourdough Starter Hot Dog Buns – makes 8 x 2 oz 6″ long buns

1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 egg (2 tbsp or 1/8 cup lightly beaten egg)**
1/2 cup sourdough starter
2 tbsp vegetable oil

** Add a splash of water to the other half of the egg and use it to glaze the buns

Preheat oven to 400 deg F.

Warm milk in microwave, until lukewarm, and stir in sugar. Stir in the yeast making sure that you don’t have any lumps of yeast. Let proof for 5-10 minutes or until foamy.

In a large bowl, add 1 cup of flour and salt. Stir to mix in the salt evenly. Add yeast mixture, starter, oil and egg. Stir well with a wooden spoon until you get a smooth batter. Beat for a couple of minutes.

Add, flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough starts to pull away from the edge of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently for a minute or two. You may need another 2-3 tbsp of flour.

Form the dough into a ball, cover with bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough (you should have about 1 pound of dough) into 8 equal portions. Shape into a rectangle, fold over in thirds and pinch edge closed. Roll the dough ‘snake’ to even it up and place about an inch apart into a lightly oiled 9x 13 inch baking pan in two rows. Cover pan with a towel and let rise for 10-12 minutes.

Brush top of the buns with the beaten egg.

Bake for 14-17 minutes until the top is golden brown and your base is set/golden brown.

Let buns cool on rack until room temperature.

English Muffins and Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns

Yeast, glorious yeast … whether you buy it in a jar or paper packet or catch and raise it yourself.

Both the two recipes below use it to make delicious bases for lots of future meals.

Like English Muffins for Eggs Benedict – The classic breakfast with an accompaniment of fried potatoes, cause there aren’t enough calories from the fried ham and a generous pour of Hollandaise sauce.

Simple English Muffins – makes 8 muffins

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
2 tbsp butter
3 cups flour, divided (**you may not use it all)
1 tsp salt (increase from 3/4 tsp next time)
1/4 cup cornmeal
vegetable oil/non-stick spray

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit about 5 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.

While the yeast/sugar mixture is rising, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir well to evenly distribute the salt.

In a second small microwave safe bowl or your Pyrex measuring cup, combine the milk and butter. Microwave the milk/butter for 30 seconds, stir and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir the butter until it melts into the warm milk.

Pour the yeast mixture and the milk mixture into the flour. Stir until it has combined into a smooth batter. Adding 1/4 cup at a time, stir in more flour until the dough forms a soft, slightly sticky ball that pulls away from the bowl. (Try not to add more than the 3 cups total … about 3/4 cups more flour, after that first 1/4 cup, should make a nice soft dough.)

Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a clean counter top or work surface and coat your hands in flour. Dump the soft ball of dough out of the bowl and knead it for about 5 minutes. Add as little flour as possible to the counter top while kneading. Adding too much flour will yield tough muffins.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl that has been coated in vegetable oil or non-stick spray. Lightly coat the top of the ball of dough with oil or spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until double in size (about 45 min – 1 hr).

Punch the dough down, shape it into another ball, cover the bowl/dough and let rise a second time (45 min – 1 hr or until double). ***I OMITTED THIS SECOND RISE

Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, cut into 8 equal pieces, form into balls, place on a linen sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, pat down lightly to about 3/4 inch thick.

Sprinkle the top with more cornmeal and let rise, covered with a towel or oiled plastic wrap for another 45 min.

Heat a large skillet or cast iron frying pan over medium-low (2-3) heat. Rub lightly with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil or spray with non-stick spray.

Carefully transfer the fluffy, risen muffins to the hot skillet with a spatula. (I just did it by hand.)

Cook the muffins, in batches, in the skillet until they are golden brown and crispy on each side. Make sure to keep the heat low so that the outside browns slowly, allowing time for the inside to “bake.”

The original recipe cooked the muffins for about 7 minutes on each side but this will vary from stove top to stove top.

ALTERNATIVELY: I cooked them for 2 min on each side in the frying pan, then finished them in a pre-heated 350 deg Fahrenheit oven for 5-7* minutes.

Let the muffins cool on a wire rack before attempting to fork split or slice open with a serrated knife. Toast and serve with butter, jam or fruit preserves.

Fork split and toasted versus sliced and toasted. It’s your choice.

Or a bun for that classic of barbecue season … the hamburger.

Hamburger Math – 1 grilled hamburger bun top and 1 bottom PLUS 2 hamburgers EQUALS Burger Perfection

Or, if you’re in a higher tax bracket, there’s always the steak sandwich.

The original bun recipe included Parmesan cheese and garlic and onion powder but I went for a plain version. Feel free to try the other version and let me know what you think of it. I’ll stick with the plain … for now, at least. Note that this is a quick yeast bread so it uses more yeast than you’ll usually see in proportion to the flour and a lot of sugar to feed it … requiring no kneading and minimal rising/proofing time and giving you a sweeter tasting bun. All of which make it very similar in texture and flavour to commercially purchased burger and hot dog buns. But they taste SO much better. This is NOT a bread roll.

Linda’s Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns – makes 8 large (3.5-4 oz) or 12 medium (2.55 oz) hamburger buns

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water + 2 tbsp
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup of vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter**
2 tbsp dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3-3 1/2 cups of flour, divided

Savoury Variation
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder

Brioche Variation
1 egg plus 1 tsp water for egg wash
poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc for topping

** I didn’t have any whole milk so I used 1 cup plus 2 tbsp of 2 % milk. And I went with the melted butter.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the milk and water in a pyrex measuring cup and warm in the microwave to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stir in the sugar until it has dissolved and then stir in the yeast. (Make sure the yeast is well mixed in or you may find hard lumps of yeast granules in your dough. ) Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is bubbly.

In a large mixing bowl add 2 cups of flour. Add the salt and mix well. (If making the savoury variation, also add the cheese, garlic and onion powder.)

Add the proofed yeast, oil or melted butter and beaten egg and stir with a large wooden spoon until you’ve got a smooth batter.

Add, the rest of the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until you can no longer stir the batter and it starts to pull away from the edge, forming a ball. You want a soft but not sticky dough. Depending on the humidity you should have about 1/4 cup of flour left.

Cover the bowl, place in a warm spot, and let rest for about 10 minutes. (I just left the ball of dough on a sprinkling of flour on the kneading surface and covered it with the overturned bowl I’d made the dough in.)

Shape the dough into 8 (or 12 balls), flatten so they’re about 4 inches in diameter and place into a lightly oiled 9 inch x 13 inch baking pan. For 12 buns you’ll need a second baking pan. If you have a half sheet pan, you can spread out 8 buns on it with a parchment paper on the bottom. You won’t need to oil the pan in that case. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let sit for 10-12 minutes.

Sprinkle/mist water over the buns and then sprinkle some sesame or poppy seeds over the buns, if desired, as decoration.

Bake the buns for 12-14 minutes or until the top and bottom are browned and a gentle tap on the bottom sounds dull.

NOTE: For a glossy, brioche style look, instead of misting with water, brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle some sesame or poppy seeds over the buns. The buns in the picture above just had water brushed over them.