Tuesday, July 14, 2009
School holidays are here! Hooray for sleeping in. Hooray for no homework. Hooray for afternoon naps and hooray for kids helping in the kitchen.
The mini-critics are big fans of finger buns (or ‘finger bunch’ as MC junior calls them). But every time we get one from the bakery, she just licks the icing off, then leaves me the naked bun. I can’t say I blame her though, the bun is pretty boring.
So into the kitchen we troop, to see if we can come up with a new and improved finger bun.
First off, I look up my favourite baking science website. Maths is not my strongest suit but, after some fiddling around with the calculator, I draw up what I hope will be a workable recipe. We attempt a brioche-like soft bun, flavoured with cinnamon.
I quickly prepare the dough (recipe to follow) while the two mini-critics have a nap - there is only so much help I can take in the kitchen.
Then the fun begins. “Mummy, I want to make a teddy bear shaped bun!” MC senior announces. “Me too!” MC junior pipes in. Rightey-o, let’s start.
After much rolling, pulling, twirling and giggling, two surprisingly clean helpers produce a love heart, a snowman, a snail, two surfboards and a whole lot of rolls (I helped with the rolls).
The buns smell gorgeous as they bake and we can hardly wait to taste them. I scoff one straight from the oven and it’s beautiful: soft, cinnamony and very sweet (which appeals to my Asian palate).
The texture firms up a bit once cool (it’s still soft, but not as fluffy as when fresh from the oven). A quick glace icing on top, the obligatory sprinkles, and the buns are a hit. “These are the best buns in the world!” MC senior declares (she has learnt the art of flattery well). MC junior says nothing much as she chomps away – bun and all.
The TWS version of the finger bun
500g plain flour
2 tsp dried yeast
1/2 cup (90g) sugar
90 g butter (melted)
1 tsp cinnamon (ground)
1/2 cup (100ml) milk (warmed slightly)
200ml water (may not need all of it)
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
Stir 1 tablespoon sugar into the milk. Mix in the yeast. Leave to activate (froth up).
Sift flour, remaining sugar and salt into large mixing bowl. Make well in centre, pour in the butter and lightly beaten egg yolk, Start mixing the butter and egg while drawing in flour from the sides. Add the milk/yeast mixture, keep drawing more flour. Pour in almost all the water and mix thoroughly (adjust water if needed). You should have a quite sticky dough. Start kneading the dough (I did this part by hand so it took a little while, maybe 10 minutes or so). Knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Put dough into well oiled bowl and cover with clean tea towel. Leave to rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough, then roll into desired shapes. (I used a pastry mat so I didn't really need more flour, but lightly flour work surface if needed). Put shapes on baking sheet lined with baking paper. Let rise for about 20 minutes (cover with clean tea towel).
Brush tops of bun with an eggwash (1 egg beaten plus 1-2 tbsp milk). Bake at 180˚C until risen and golden. When cool, ice with glace icing and cover with sprinkles.
(I used a simple glace icing made from 1 cup icing sugar, a knob of butter and enough hot water to mix it into a thick icing - thick enough to coat the back of a spoon).