Saturday, May 15, 2010

BOTD: Nice Buns

Got leftover mashed potatoes? They're great in bread. When I don't have leftover real mashed potatoes, I use dried, but I prefer the real thing. So when I make mashed potatoes, I make extra and I freeze the leftovers.

I use a 1/4-cup scoop and put the scoops onto a small sheet pan. That goes into my freezer until the scoops are solid, and then the scoops go into a freezer bag for easy measuring when I need them.

When I add instant mashed potatoes, I add them dry, but obviously my leftover mashed potatoes add some moisture. Another difference is that the leftover mashers have, at the very least, salt, butter and some sort of milk product, all of which adds extra flavor to the bread.

Most people strive to make buns all the same time. That's fine if you're doing production work in a bakery. But I'm usually feeding a few guests and planning for leftovers. I'll usually make some smaller buns that will be perfect for dinner and maybe a few larger ones that would work for a small sandwich for my lunch. I put the smaller ones in the center of my baking sheet and the larger around the outside where they'll cook faster.

In this recipe, I used all purpose flour instead of bread flour. It takes a little longer for the gluten to develop, but with a stand mixer doing the work, it's not significant. I use whey because I have it left over from other projects, but water is fine. Use sugar or any other sweetener you prefer if you don't have honey crystals.


Nice Buns

1 cup whey (or water)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons honey crystals (or sugar)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix whey, honey crystals, yeast, and one cup of the all purpose flour in the bowl of your stand mixer, and set aside for 10-15 minutes until it gets frothy and foamy.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and knead with the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the dough is smooth, shiny and elastic.

Form the dough into a ball, put it back into the stand mixer bowl (or a clean bowl, if you prefer), drizzle with a little more olive oil to coat the ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and sprinkle cornmeal onto a baking sheet.

When the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl, knead briefly, and divide into the number of buns you want. Last time I made this recipe, I made 15 medium-sized buns, but you could make a dozen larger ones or two dozen small ones, or any number you prefer.

Form the dough into tight balls and set them on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (depending on the size of the buns) until nicely browned.
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