Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Honey Buns - A Better Use for Pizza Yeast

I bought a three-pack of pizza yeast to test it, and after making one pizza crust with it, I decided that I wasn't interested in making another.

The package very clearly said that this yeast wasn't designed for bread-baking. So of course, I took that as a challenge. Yeah, I'm a risk taker.

When I used it for pizza dough, the pizza yeast made the dough rise super-fast, but it didn't have the flavor or texture that I wanted in my pizza crust. It also wasn't what I wanted in a loaf of bread.

I figured that not only could I fix the flavor, but I could take advantage of the quick rise at the same time.

While these buns don't rise as fast as that pizza dough, they only rise once, and they're done a lot faster than if I had used regular yeast.

This dough is sweet enough that you could use it for cinnamon rolls, but without the cinnamon/sugar combo these resemble dinner rolls I've had at some barbecue restaurants as well as at a local chain. So, sweet or savory, it's up to you.

Honey Buns

1 cup milk
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 package pizza yeast*
3 cups (13 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the milk to boiling in a small saucepan, then pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the butter and honey. Stir occasionally to encourage the butter to melt. When the milk has cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast and about 1/3 of the flour and stir to combine.

Let the mixture sit until it bubbles, just a few minutes. Add the rest of the flour and the salt and knead with the bread hook until the mixture is smooth an elastic.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet. I used a quarter-sheet pan because I wanted the buns to touch during baking so the sides would be soft. Use a larger pan and spread the buns out if you don't want them to touch.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface and divide it into 15 pieces. Form each into a ball and place them seam-side down on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled, about an hour.

When the buns have risen, bake at 350 degrees until golden, about 25 minutes.

*If you don't have pizza yeast, you can use instant or active dry yeast. In that case, let the dough rise once in the bowl, then punch it down and form the rolls and let them rise a second time before baking.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.


Laura said...

Fascinating about the pizza yeast. Those buns really do look like restaurant bread!

Chris Brown said...

Perfect! I have a jar (yes, a jar!) of pizza yeast in my fridge, mainly b/c of a short-lived whim of my husband who wanted to help make the dough but didn't have the time when he got home from work... But I too have been less than impressed with the dough quality, yet continue to use it only because it stares me down everytime I open to fridge to grab my regular jar of yeast. I will have to try these buns. Thanks!

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