Sunday, September 26, 2010

First Weekend of Fall

I am the first to admit that summer is my favourite season.  I love the heat, the humidity and the fresh produce.  Having said that, this is the first year I can remember looking forward to fall.  I was in a bit of a cooking rut; the kids were eating crackers, tofu spread, cucumbers and grape tomatoes for lunch almost everyday.  Sometimes it was hummus and not tofu spread, and a baguette instead of crackers but basically the same thing every day.  They enjoyed it but I was frustrated.  And then came fall.  Bring on the soups and stews.

Since the arrival of fall I've made & frozen 2 batches of chicken stock in my crockpot, pureed & frozen 4 large-ish pie pumpkins, made a double batch of taco soup & frozen a batch, and made at least two batches of buns and frozen half of each batch.  It would seem that there's something about fall that makes me want to stock my freezer!
M's Buns

1 T yeast
1/2 c lukewarm water
2 t sugar
1/4 c oil
1/4 c white sugar
1 egg
1 t salt
1 1/2 c water
5 c all-purpose flour

  1. Mix together yeast, water and sugar in a bowl.  Let rise 10 minutes.
  2. While the yeast is getting it's groove on, mix together the rest of the ingredients.  This is a very very sticky dough so I usually do the mixing in my stand mixer.
  3. Add the yeast mixture and curse the stickiness.
  4. Transfer to a greased bowel, cover loosely with plastic wrap or the like, and then rise until doubled in bulk.  On a normal day in my kitchen this takes about 2 hours.  The last time I made these it was freakishly warm and took just over an hour.  If you're not sure, poked a floured finger into to the dough; if it stays indented, you're good to go.
  5. Ready to make the buns?  Flour hands and a sharp knife.  Cut off small portions of the dough and roll into balls.  Place onto a cookie sheet.  Re-flour your hands and your knife and make another bun.  Continue until you're out of dough.
  6. Cover the cookie sheet with greased plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in bulk.  Again, probably 2 - 2.5 hours unless you're yeast is particularly frisky.  Test with a floured finger.  If it stays indented, they're ready!
  7. Remove the plastic wrap.
  8. Bake at 375F for 18 - 20 min.


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