|Print Recipe||Yield: 8 Buns|
• 3 1/2 cups (18.5-oz wt) bread flour
• 1 teaspoon fine salt
(use fine sea salt, kosher, or table salt)
• 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
• 1 1/2 cups water (room temp)
• additional flour for dusting
For seeded Buns
• large egg, whisked
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
The key to success for any good recipe is to always use the freshest ingredients.
Related Baking Photos:
1. In a medium bowl, mix the salt in the flour with a fork or whisk, then stir in the yeast. Slowly add the water1 and stir using a wooden spoon until you have a moist, (but not soupy), sticky dough. Don’t over mix, but make sure that all of the dry flour has been thoroughly incorporated into the dough and is sticky to the touch, otherwise mix in another tablespoon of water. With your spoon, clean the sides of the bowl as much as possible, then form a rough dough ball in the middle of the bowl. Double seal the bowl with plastic wrap, cover with a towel and set aside at room temperature (about 72°) for 8 to 18 hours. Usually after 12 hours the dough will be ready. You can tell by the dough developing lots of bubbles and more than doubling in size.2
(click images below to enlarge)
2. When the first fermentation is complete, dust your work surface with flour. Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and lean the bowl at an angle to slowly “pour” out the dough onto the floured surface. Use a plastic scraper if necessary, but try to keep the dough in one piece. The dough will be extremely clingy and sticky. Dust the dough lightly, and with floured hands, uniformly form the bread into a long log about 3 inches in diameter. Cut the log in half, then cut each of the halves in half, and finally cut each of the 4 remaining halves in half to create 8 equal portions (almost 4-oz each).
Line a large sheet pan with lightly floured parchment paper and set aside. For each of the 8 pieces, fold under each of the four sides of the dough toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to shape a round ball, then place with the tucked seam side down to proof in rows on the sheet pan (see photo at left). Place a moistened cotton kitchen towel (not terry cloth) loosely over the dough to cover then let it rise in a warm area for another 60 minutes.
• Also see: How to Make Bread Dough
3. About a half hour before the dough has finished its second rise, move your oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. After 30 minutes with the oven preheated, score the dough with an angled slit across the top of each bun with a serrated bread knife and add the optional sesame seeds (slightly beat an egg, lightly brush bun crowns with wash, then sprinkle on a few sesame seeds over the top). Carefully place the sheet pan in the oven and bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. When done, remove pan, separate the buns, and place them on a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Note: While this recipe is very forgiving, as with all baking recipes, it is important to follow it as closely as possible for the best results.
1. You can also substitute the 1 1/2 cups of water with a combination of 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of lager beer. Use any mild lager beer (pale/light) such as Heineken, Amstel lager, Molson, Busch beer, Miller high life.
2. Fermentation time depends on a number of factors, especially the room temperature. A cooler environment takes longer (18 to 24 hours), while warmer temperatures may take as little as 8 to 10 hours. Salt is also a factor. The more salt added to the dough, the slower the yeast develops and longer the fermentation time. To determine when the first fermentation is finished and the gluten has developed, the dough should have more than doubled in size with lots of bubbles and will cling in long strands on the side of the bowl when you tilt it. To speed up the fermentation time, use warm or hot water (never boiling), a touch more yeast, a little less salt, then set the bowl aside to proof in a warmer room where the temperature is 78 to 80 degrees rather than the typical 72 to 74 degrees. If you accelerate the fermentation, keep in mind that more aroma and flavor is developed with longer rise times in cooler temperatures.