Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Harvest Buns

Pumpkins just about scream "fall," and pumpkin pie is a regular feature at Thanksgiving. If you're anything like me, before all the Thanksgiving prep is over, there's some canned pumpkin left over from another recipe, or an extra can in the pantry "just in case."

Why not get creative with some of that pumpkin?

I often add mashed potatoes to my bread recipes when I want them to be fluffy. Pumpkin plays that same role in these buns, but it also add wonderful color, moistness, and subtle flavor.

These buns are a little bit sweet and a little bit earthy. but they don't hit you in the head with pumpkin taste. Since they don't have the usual pumpkin pie spices they won't clash with dinner, and they'd make nice little sandwich rolls for the next day.

I'm suggesting that you divide this dough into 15 buns, which is sort of strange in terms of division, but when you put it on the baking sheet, it makes three rows of five buns. The easiest way to do this is first divide the dough into 16 pieces by cutting the dough into quarters, then cutting each of those into 4 pieces. Then find the smallest piece and use that to add a bit more dough to all of other smaller buns to even out the sizes. Because there are always a few that are just a bit smaller than the others.

Harvest Buns

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 1/4 cups (13 5/8 ounces) bread flour
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons room temperature butter

Combine the water, yeast and honey in the bowl of your stand mixer and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Add the flour and pumpkin and knead until the dough starts becoming elastic. This is a very soft dough and may still be a little bit sticky. Add the salt and butter and continue kneading until the dough is silky, shiny, and elastic.

Form the dough into a ball, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and put it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about 50 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet. Flour your work surface and knead the dough briefly. Divide the dough into 15 pieces.

Form each piece into a ball and place them onto the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the buns are doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees until nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

This recipe appeared on Serious Eats and has been submitted to Yeastspotting.