Soft White Buns

Although “basic soft white sandwich loaf” has been marked in my bread book for quite some time, the inspiration to actually follow through came from a delicious Valentines’ Day dinner. We went to a newly opened restaurant, the Lakehouse, where they served these delicious, soft, tiny white buns. They almost melted in your mouth. I’m going to admit right now…I had about 4 of them. But hey, it was a special night so why not!

Side note: shout out to the Lakehouse because it was ABSOLUTELY delicious. If you live in Calgary I highly recommend you check it out. In fact, here is the link: http://lakehousecalgary.com.
Now, back to my blog post. After asking the chef what type of bread these magic buns were and receiving the response “basic white bread dusted with flour,” I was set on baking my own.
 
It takes some time (mine took about 15 hours), but the ingredients are pretty basic and most, if not all, you should have at home. The crust wasn’t crunchy, and the inner bread was soft, warm and fluffy. Unlike most breads I have made, these buns were not dense at all and it was very easy to eat a few of them. Dusted with some flour, they tasted just like the ones I had in the restaurant.
The dough requires a sponge starter first, which needs to ferment for at least 1 hour. The Bread Bible states the optimal time for flavour development is 8-12 hours. I left mine in the fridge overnight (about 8 hours), so the dough was ready to begin the following morning. This meant not only was I able to sleep in, but the buns were ready come dinner time.
The following recipe will make enough for 2 sandwich loaves. For approximately 10-12 small buns, halve the recipe.
Ingredients:
 
Sponge:
– 2 1/4 cups + 2 1/2 Tablespoons unbleached flour
– 1 3/4 cups water (room temperature)
– 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey
– 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
Flour Mixture:
– 2 cups + 3 Tablespoons unbleached flour
– 1/4 cup dry milk (I used nonfat)
– 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
– 9 Tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
– 2 1/4 teaspoon salt
Step One: Let the sponge rise, then spoon the flour mixture (minus the butter) over the top and let sit for 1-4 hours at room temperature.
Step Two: Add the butter to the bowl and mix everything until a rough dough is made. Cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Step Three: Knead the dough again for 7-10 minutes until it pulls away from the bowl, yet is also smooth and sticky. Knead in some flour, cover, and let it rise for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Step Four: Give the dough 2 “business letter” turns (gently), cover, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours.
Step Five: Shape the dough in loaf pan or into small buns, cover, and let rise for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Step Six: Bake at 350F (steam with ice cubes for 10 minutes). I baked my buns for approximately 35 minutes.
They were the best! I can’t wait to make them again 🙂photo (5)