Friday, 7 April 2017

Brown Sugar Killer Toast Pull-Apart Buns (Gospel message included!)

I have a request for pull-apart buns later part of June but since I haven't baked bread for ages due to the many requests for macarons, cakes and cookies, I decided to do some practice bakes. I have always marvelled at the softness of the killer-toast recipe recommended by Victoria Bakes and decided to give it a try. Do check out Victoria's blog post for the original recipe! The buns really are able to stay soft for a few days!

With Good Friday and Easter coming up, I thought it would be good to reflect on what the Gospel message (good news about Jesus) mean. Here's my simple drawing taken from Matthiasmedia's "Two ways to live", with its simple illustration to show God's salvation plan and the choice all of us have to make, and some "hot cross buns". In summary, God the loving ruler of the world didn't let us rebel forever because separation from God leads to death. God in His love for us provided Jesus to take our punishment for our rebellion by dying in our place and brought forgiveness (that's why we celebrate Good Friday). Jesus was raised to life (therefore we celebrate Easter) and now gives new life to those who believe in Him.

The buns here are slightly underbaked as I was still trying to optimize the baking conditions when I adapted her recipe from loaf to pull-apart buns. Do follow Victoria's recommendations for loaves. The proofing time and baking conditions I wrote in the recipe here is recommended by Kerry Tan, an experienced artisan bread baker. I seeked her advise after I baked these buns so do follow her advise as I blogged here.

Close-up view

Ingredients (makes 9 pull-apart buns in 7x7"baking tray):
260g bread flour
180g 1 egg + full fat milk
30g dark brown sugar (I will increase to 40g in the future)
3g instant dry yeast
3g fine sea salt
30g unsalted butter

1. Mix all ingredients together (except butter). Let the mixture sit for 10-15minutes with cling wrap covering the bowl. This step of letting the dough rest is optional but allows time for the flour to absorb more moisture.

2. Knead until smooth then gradually knead in the butter. Continue kneading until the dough passes the windowpane test. I prefer hand-kneading to machine kneading as I like to have a feel of the dough. It takes about 20-25 minutes to knead by hand.

3. Victoria recommends skipping bulk fermentation of the whole batch of freshly kneaded dough but I went on to let it proof anyway but not really double in size. Kerry recommends doing this step as it will improve the structure of the bread. Proof for about 20 minutes in Singapore's hot kitchen of 28℃ cling wrap loosely covering the top of the proofing bowl.

4. Gently knead the dough to expel trapped gas. Divide the dough into 9 equal balls (about 50g each).

5. Line the baking tray with baking paper. Place the balls of dough into the baking tray and cover loosely with cling wrap. Proof for about 40 minutes or until about 2x in size.

6. While proofing, preheat oven to 180℃ and set the rack to lowest position.

7. Place the baking tray into the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or until done. Tent the buns with aluminum foil at about 15 minutes into baking time to prevent browning. If you would like the buns to brown normally, omit the tenting. The buns are done when it makes a hollow sound when tapped lightly.

8. Let the buns cool in the tray for 5 minutes before carefully lifting them out from the tray onto a cooling rack to cool. I was careless in the transfer and damaged the buns a little =.=

Freshly baked buns!

I dissolved some Dutch processed cocoa powder in water to make a paste and piped out the drawings on the cooled buns. You may use melted compound chocolate to draw too.

Do give the recipe a try and I guarantee you will be enjoying good homebaked super soft buns for a few days!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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