Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Overnight Buns

The really great thing about bread is that you can delay it, if need be, to fit your schedule. The even better thing about bread is that if give it a long, cool rest, the flavor improves. Win-win.

When I'm bringing buns to someone's house for dinner, I like to bring fresh buns. Baked that day. They don't have to be warm, but if I'm going through the trouble of making home made bread, I want it to be as good as it can be. And that means I don't want it to be a day old.

But sometimes the whole process of kneading, rising, shaping, rising, baking doesn't fit neatly into the hours before we're going out. What's a baker to do? Make an overnight recipe, of course.

I usually make small recipes - just one loaf or a dozen buns, but if I'm bringing them to a dinner or a party, I want to have enough for dinner and enough left so the hosts have some buns for themselves for the next day. So this one makes a whopping 24 buns.

For my own convenience, I baked these all on a half-sheet pan, so they snuggled together during rising and baking. If you prefer buns that remain separate, you'll need two baking sheets. I don't mind when buns have those soft - pulled-apart sides, but it's up to you.

Overnight Buns

1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons room temperature butter
White rice flour, as needed

Combine the water, honey, instant yeast, bread flour, semolina flour, dry milk, and potato flakes in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the salt and butter and continue kneading until the salt and butter are completely incorporated and the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 45 minutes. Line a half-sheet rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Divide it into 24 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking pan, sprinkle the tops white rice flour. If you don't have rice flour, you can use bread flour or all purpose flour.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and put the pan in the refrigerator.

When you're ready to bake, take the buns out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Let the oven heat for 20 minutes.

Uncover the buns and bake until nicely browned, about 25 minutes.

Let the buns cool on a rack.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.