Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Small-Batch Buttery Buns

One of the things that drove me a bit crazy when I was first learning how to make bread was that all the recipes made two loaves of bread or 24 buns. That's a lot of bread for two people to go through.

Okay, I'll admit that when you first start making bread at home, two people can plow through a fresh loaf pretty quickly. But when you've been baking all your bread for a while, you don't eat nearly as much of it. By the time you've finished one loaf of bread, that second loaf would be pretty darned stale.

When I started creating my own bread recipes, I scaled them down to one loaf at a time. Now that my husband is in the hospital, I've been working on even smaller recipes. This one makes just six buns.

I baked these in a pie tin because it was convenient - it happens to have a plastic dome cover which was handy when I was letting the buns rise. You could bake these in a cake pan, or, if you prefer buns that aren't joined together, you can bake these on a baking sheet, leaving space between them for rising.

To make these buns super-easy, I did the kneading in my bread machine. This also speeds up the process since the machine warms the dough. I used the "pizza dough" setting which runs for just 45 minutes. Then I  let the dough rest an additional 15 minutes before turning it out and shaping the buns.

You could also hand-knead the dough, letting it rise for an hour after the first knead (or until doubled in size), and 30 minutes after the second knead (or until doubled in size).

Small-Batch Buttery Buns

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar (I used cane sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
Eggwash - 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)

Add the ingredients to your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Set to a knead-only setting (I used the "pizza dough" setting on mine) and let the machine knead the dough. After kneading, let it rest an additional 15 minutes in the machine.

Sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom of a pie plate or cake pan (or on a baking sheet, if you prefer). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Flour your work surface and knead the dough briefly. Divide the dough into six pieces, Roll each piece into a ball and arrange the pieces in the pie tin. One in the center with five around the outside works well. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

When the rolls have risen, uncover them, then brush the rolls with the eggwash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 350 degrees until nicely browned, about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve warm or let them cool.

If you're interested, this is the bread machine I have: