Tips To Make Better Buns!
There are a few things you need to know to make better, homemade, melt in your mouth buns! I will share with you what I have learned in my bread baking adventures.
First off enriched doughs make better, soft, squishy buns than lean doughs. What does that mean you ask? A lean dough is just flour, water, yeast and salt. This will yield a crusty bread, so for all you baguette lovers I will eventually do a recipe on that in the future. A lean dough is all about the gorgeous exterior crust as the focus although the crumb is open and soft. In an enriched dough there is additives to your basic flour, yeast and salt in order to soften the crumb and crust. Sugar will soften the dough but the additive of your fats will by far improve the texture of your crust and crumb. Adding milk, sugar and butter to the flour makes a big difference.
Secondly kneading your dough enough to produce a windowpane. We want to make sure we develop the gluten in our dough so that we get good structure and rise.
Thirdly if you are not pressed for time I would ferment the dough slowly AKA (Put it in the fridge). The dough will take longer to rise in colder temperatures, the slower fermentation will develop more complex flavors when you are ready to bake it. I make my dough in the mornings and then throw it in the fridge till late afternoon when I then take it out and let it get to room temperature and finish its rise.
Fourthly weighing your dough will ensure an equal cooking in the oven. I usually make 2 ounce buns. Once all pieces are equal size I then go to shaping them.
Fifthly lets talk about surface tension. What is surface tension? This is the shaping stage, whether you are shaping loafs, boule, baguette, buns etc. Having the dough shaped tightly that puts tension on the dough will produce up to a 25% better oven spring. Oven spring is how much our dough rises up in the oven. Up I say :) Not out, not to the side but springing up producing a nicer more open crumb structure and lighter fluffier bread.
Ok see the not so smooth ball first picture? I take this and make a "c" with my hand and in small circular movements I apply downward pressure to the ball and this will form a nice tight firm ball.
Sixthly Do not over proof!! Your bread will fall during cooking and you will lose your 25% oven spring yielding a squat loaf.
Seventhly brush some melted butter on the risen buns before popping them in the oven, this really helps to brown the buns and the more golden caramelization we can get out of those starches the more flavor we add!
Ok so here is my recipe:
[recipe title="Homemade buns" servings="6-8" time="4hrs" difficulty="medium"]
- 4 3/4 cups of flour
- 1 1/2 tsp of salt
- 2 tsp of instant yeast
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
Take all dry ingredients and whisk together. Add your wet ingredients and knead dough till window pane test is achieved. Spray a bowl with Pam and place dough in the bowl, spray the dough with Pam and place plastic wrap directly on your dough ball. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place it in the fridge to ferment slowly.
Two hours before baking time. Take out of fridge and allow the dough to come to room temperature and finish its initial rise. This will take about 30-45 minutes. Divide dough evenly for buns and shape as described above. Place on sheet pan to rise, spray once again with Pam and place plastic wrap directly on dough cover with tea towel once more and allow for the final rise. Aprox 30-45 minutes
Turn on the stove to 400 degrees F Once your buns have risen brush the tops with some melted butter and place in the preheated oven and set timer for 15 minutes. If you are using only 2 ounces of dough per bun like I do then they do not take long to cook! Once golden brown remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack. Enjoy!