Some days you just need to bake. It doesn’t really matter what you make in the end; you just need to feel the dough under your hands as you roll it out, or hear the clink of the fork against the bowl as you beat the eggs, or watch your clothes get progressively more caked with flour and wonder if it will ever wash out. Baking is incredibly therapeutic. Got into a fight with a friend? Bake it out. Lost that tennis match? Bake it out. Gained ten pounds and got nothing done at work and A&E’s Intervention is not on Netflix? BAKE THAT SHIT OUT.
Honey Milk Rolls (makes 12 rolls)
250 g + handful bread flour —100%
4 g salt —1.6%
5 g active dry yeast —2%
125 g warm water —50%
25 g nonfat dry milk–10%
25 g honey–10%
25 g oil–10%
25 g + pinch sugar–10%
1 lightly beaten egg
1. Combine 250 grams of the flour with the salt and milk powder and set aside. Proof the yeast in the warm water with a pinch of sugar, about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Beat together eggs, honey, sugar, and yeast mixture. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
3. Transfer the dough to the stand mixer and mix on low for 10 minutes. Add the oil and mix for another 8 minutes. Transfer dough blob to countertop and knead by hand, throwing in handfuls of flour, until the dough is workable and not too sticky.
4. Let rise in a covered, oiled bowl until moderately bulky, about an hour. If you have a kitchen thermometer, you can go ahead and stick it in the dough to see what its internal temperature is. Dough rises optimally at 75-85 degrees. Being the impatient soul that I am, I went with the high end of that range.
5. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle, fold over, and repeat a couple of times. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a long rectangle, fold in the sides, roll out gently again, and roll it up into a ball. See the picture sequence below (photographed by the talented Cindy).
9. Line the buns in a sprayed or oiled pan and let rise for another hour or so, loosely covered in plastic wrap.
10. Brush with an egg wash and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Take the buns out of the pan immediately after they are done and transfer them to a cooling rack.
Loooook guys. Look at the fluffy. But once again, despite adding buttloads of sugar, these buns were not sweet enough for my taste. I’ve been nervous about really going overboard with the sweetness, but I think I might have to next time. I don’t want buns that are decent and go well with soup. I want buns that blow your mind and can give Frosted Flakes a run for its money in the this-will-make-me-bounce-off-the-walls-and-later-get-diabetes sweepstakes.