I am a little late posting this. I baked these buns on Sat 21 April, but life got in the way of me posting before now. Ah, well; it won’t be the last time this happens!
And now for something completely (well, slightly) different. This is my next bake, for the Mellow Baker’s, from Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf, and it’s not a loaf of bread. These are flaky butter buns – a sort of savoury croissant – and quite unlike anything else I have baked.
This was not a difficult bake, but it did take three days from start to finish. It’s not as labour intensive as that makes it sound; for most of that time the dough sat in the fridge.
This bake began, as most do, by weighing out the ingredients. This is where I made two mistakes: firstly, instead of letting the milk warm to 20°C, I used it straight from the fridge. What a mistake! No dough is going to rise like that… except my second mistake was to add three times the required amount of yeast, so I reckon they cancel each other out! The yeast error is due to me using instant yeast, whereas Dan Lepard’s recipes specify fresh yeast. In practice, they are interchangeable as long as you remember to divide the fresh yeast weight by three; I forgot until it was too late.
When mixed together, the dough was very stiff. The recipe tells us to “mix with your hands until you have a firm dough”. Well, to achieve that, I had to tip it all out onto the workshop and give it a good kneading.
…and layered with butter. I should point out that this is as close to a rectangle as I could manage to roll. If anyone has any good tips for improving that (other than trimming it down) then please leave a friendly comment!
Next the folding and rolling cycle began, which I found to be easier than I expected. Having failed at croissants in the past, I really appreciate Dan Lepard’s “slices of butter” approach, instead of the “roll out the butter” method which I have tried to follow previously.
I struggle to throw out any dough I work with, so I reformed the offcuts, rolled and cut again. The front five were the first set; those behind represent various generations of reformed offcuts. I know the layered structure will be malformed but, when the alternative is through them out, what did I have to lose?
Not much to talk about day three. Once I had been woken (far earlier than I would have liked!) I removed the buns from the fridge, heated the oven and then baked them in time for breakfast. I followed Dan’s advice and stuffed them with bacon.
It was a very nice breakfast. However, we struggled a little to find good ways to eat the rest. It seemed odd to eat then plain, but we didn’t want to add much in the way of toppings, considering how much butter was already present! Probably the best use we found was to accompany some home-made soup.
Would I bake them again? I’m not sure; probably not. But I am glad I baked them this time, and feel I have learnt a lot about how to handle dough/butter layers. Maybe I’ll give croissants another go.