Grandiose, isn't it? These wonderful little jewels are worthy of the title and the effort it takes to make them as well. I'm a thrifty person. Ok, ok, I'm cheap. I'm okay with that. These are cheaper and tastier than what you can buy at the grocery store, plus who wouldn't be impressed when you tell them you MADE the buns?! Nobody, that's who. Anyway, you will always find that there are never enough of these in your life, so go ahead and double the recipe, freeze the dough or already baked buns, because you'll want them again.
There are only a couple tricks to these that I can think of adding here; one of which is to microwave the milk/butter (or whatever vegan alternatives you choose) in the microwave in order to get them up to temp. Start with 45 seconds or so, and then work your way up until it feels like bath water to the touch. Somewhere around 10
0 degrees. Sure, you could heat it on the stove, but it would take longer that way. Save yourself the time, and use the microwave. Another trick I use, because I'm kind of a perfectionist, is to weigh out the dough, divide it by 8 or 10 or however many buns you want to make (8-10 works for one batch) That way you get evenly sized buns and you don't have to guess about it. If you don't have a kitchen scale, no worries- Just eyeball it. And then on top I like to dust it with a little flour and a sprinkle of thyme for a beautiful rustic look. The buns in the photo are before I started doing that, so they have the more typical glazed egg-wash look. I prefer the other method, having tried both.
Here's recipe! Feel free to vegan-ize it and let me know how that goes! Should be pretty easy to just swap out the standard ingredients with vegan ones, but hey, I'm no expert!
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 cup skim milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (sub some wheat flour here, it works beautifully. If you do use wheat though, try using honey instead of sugar, as they work well together.)
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
sesame seeds (optional topping)
a little white flour and a sprinkle of thyme
Set a side a *large* bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
In a bowl, combine the sugar, salt and yeast.
In a smaller bowl, microwave the milk for 30 seconds at a time until it is about 100°F or feels like bath water.
Slowly whisk in the milk to the sugar, salt and yeast and stir until the yeast and sugar are basically dissolved (a couple of seconds).
Add the egg, butter and 1 cup of the flour and stir until there are no clumps.
Slowly add in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour until the dough is covered enough to start kneading with your flour covered hands or feel free to use a stand mixer!
Knead for about 3 minutes.
Transfer the dough into the bowl that you set aside earlier. Please don't try using a small bowl. It will overflow insanely if you let it.. =/
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours until it has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down, reshape into a ball, recover, and let it rise again for another 1 hour, until it has doubled in size again.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Weigh the dough and then divide and shape into balls, letting them rise while the oven is preheating.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on how browned you like them. Enjoy with the sweet potato burgers that I'll be posting next time around! :)