Wednesday, June 22, 2011

White Whole Wheat Buns

Buns are so versatile. You can serve them with breakfast to sop up your egg yolks or make a breakfast sandwich, you can make handy little lunch sandwiches, or you can serve them with dinner. If you make too many to use all at once, freeze some. They thaw quickly for bun emergencies.

This bun recipe uses white whole wheat flour, which is a bit confusing. White flour is one thing and whole wheat flour is entirely different. So, what is this stuff? White? Wheat? Whole? Partial?

It’s not as complicated as it seems. Most of the flour that’s milled for baking comes from what’s called red wheat. The outer portion of the grain is a reddish brown color and it’s what makes regular whole wheat bread so dark. The red pigment also has a bitter flavor. Some people like that flavor, but many don’t.

White wheat is a lighter color. Not white, but tan. Since the red pigment is what carries the bitter flavor, white whole wheat flour is not only lighter in color, but milder in flavor. It still has a stronger flavor than white flour, though, because it includes the whole grain.

White wheat could be refined into regular white flour (and sometimes it is), but it doesn’t make any difference that people would care about. So the only flour you’ll see labeled “white wheat” will be the whole wheat product – white whole wheat.

White whole wheat flour is usually milled a little finer, so it doesn’t have the rough and uneven texture typical of standard whole wheat flour. That makes it much easier to substitute white whole wheat for white flour in most recipes.

There are differences, however, so if you’re experimenting, I’d suggest swapping no more than half of the white flour for white whole wheat on the first try. Then you can try increasing it. For some recipes, you may need to increase the amount of liquid or reduce the amount of flour when you swap white whole wheat for white flour.

The benefit of using white whole wheat is that it adds more fiber and nutrients, just like regular whole wheat. Since the flavor is milder, it’s perfect for people who aren't crazy about the flavor of regular whole wheat.

If you don’t have white whole wheat flour, you can use regular whole wheat in this recipe - or use all white flour.

The potato flakes are simply instant mashed potatoes. Look for the ones with no additives or flavors for the best results. If you read labels, you’ll find some that are little more than dried potatoes.

White Whole Wheat Buns

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (1 ounce) potato flakes
2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the water, yeast, sugar, white whole wheat flour, and potato flakes in the bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk to combine and set aside until the mixture is bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Add the bread flour and salt, and knead with the dough hook until the mixture is smooth and beginning to become elastic. Add the olive oil and continue kneading until the oil is incorporated.

Drizzle a little bit of olive oil into a zip-top plastic bag and transfer the dough to the bag, making sure it's coated with oil on all sides. Seal the bag and refrigerate the dough overnight.

The next day, remove the bag from the refrigerator, open the bag to expel the air, and massage the dough - still in the bag - to knock the air out of it. Seal the bag and let it rest on the counter at room temperature for at least an hour, or up to two.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet.

Flour your work surface lightly. Turn out the dough and knead it briefly, then divide it into 16 roughly equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange them, seam-side down, on your baking sheet, leaving room between them to rise.

Cover the buns with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until nicely browned, 25-30 minutes.

If you aren't serving the buns warm, let the cool on a rack. If you prefer a soft crust, cover the buns with a clean kitchen towel as they cool.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

1 comment:

mc.farine said...

I too like white whole wheat. Lovely looking buns!

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