There are some jobs that I dread for so long, but once I do them, I realize they aren’t as bad as I thought. This isn’t one of them.:) It’s not that baking buns is bad, really, but it is time consuming and tries my patience. By the time the dough is mixed, raised, formed, risen again, baked and cooled, and the kitchen is back in order again ~ hours have passed!
The payback is the joy from my boys and the smell from the oven. Ahh…there’s nothing quite like fresh baked bread. (Do you think they have an air freshener with that scent?)
These buns are my kids’ favorite lunch snack. I freeze them and the boys can quickly pull a few out to stick in their lunch before they run out the door to catch the bus. Well, the youngest boy, that is. The other two are already past the “catching the bus” stage…
In contrast to my impatient, hardly-ever-bake-buns ways, my mother-in-law is a faithful bun baker. I just love to watch her work her magic and she has taught me so much in this department. Although she never uses a recipe, her daughter carefully grabbed everything her mom used one day and measured it to come up with “Mom’s Buns” recipe.
The base for these lunch buns is the result of that exercise.
This is how I did it:
Measure 1/8 cup sugar and 1/2 Tablespoon salt into a large bowl. Then set out:
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons instant yeast
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 cups hot tap water
Melt butter and add to the sugar and salt. Add in the hot tap water and 1 cup flour. Whisk until smooth. Add egg, mixing constantly so it doesn’t “cook” in the hot mixture. Stir the yeast into another cup of flour and whisk into the bowl. Keep adding flour until you can’t stir in any more. Then add a little more, kneading it right in the bowl until the dough becomes smooth and not sticky. (I sort of lost count, but I think I added about 7 cups flour.)
Butter the inside of the bowl and the top of the dough. Let it rise about an hour, or until doubled. (*Note: Because my house is so drafty, I let the dough rise in the oven. This is how I do it. I preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Then, right before I put the dough in, I shut off the oven. That is a very important step! If you don’t shut off the oven, it will be too hot for the dough to rise properly..)
After it is risen, flip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 sections. Each section will become 1 dozen buns.
Lightly form each section into a ball.
Using a rolling pin, roll into a large circle. Spread on a thin layer of mayonnaise. (Pizza sauce is also really good!)
Using a pizza slicer or knife, cut into 12 pieces.
Layer on cut deli ham (I used prosciutto this time) and grated cheddar cheese.
Starting at the wide end of each triangle, roll up the dough until it looks like a little crescent roll.
Place on greased pan. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. (Baking time differs greatly depending on what type of baking sheets you have.)
Cool on wire racks.
Now, grab a warm roll with a little potato salad and have yourself a delicious lunch! You’ve earned the reward of putting your feet up for a few minutes!:)