Thursday 2 November 2017

'Hug-a-sausage' & 'Hug-a-hamroll' Cute Bear Buns

I have a request for some cute bear buns hugging sausage or ham rolls and wearing different expressions. I thought it would be a challenge to make many cute buns in Singapore's hot weather due to fast proofing rates but I am so happy I am able to overcome this difficulty. Let me share with you how to make sure all buns proof at roughly the same rate and how to split the work over two days so you don't end up having to work under time pressure for one long day, making the dough, shaping, proofing, baking, decorating and packing.

I make the work more manageable by preparing the dough the day before baking. Although the bun recipe is adapted from Victoria's killer toast recipe (which I have been using for all my cute buns for birthday parties), I reduced the amount of yeast used to slow down the rate of proofing. I did a trial bake before this actual bake so I will provide the recipe portion for 14-15 buns and 20-21 buns. This recipe produces bread that stays soft for a few days so it's perfect for parties when you have to bake a day before the event.

Recipe for sausage and hamroll bear buns in 35x44mm cupcake cases
(For 14-15 buns)
260g bread flour
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1tsp (2g) salt
20g caster sugar
180g one egg plus fresh milk
30g unsalted butter
Mini sausages and ham (cut ham in appropriate size)

(For 20-21 buns)
340g bread flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1 and 1/3tsp salt
30g caster sugar
230g one egg plus fresh milk
40g unsalted butter
Mini sausages and ham (cut ham in appropriate size)

Note: feel free to reduce the amount of yeast further if you want the luxury of taking your time to shape the buns. Simply allow longer time to proof the buns before baking.

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add egg and milk and mix with a spatula until a rough dough forms. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. This is optional but helps the flour to absorb moisture more. Transfer dough to nonstick mat and knead until it passes windowpane test, adding in the butter after the first 8-10 minutes of kneading. Alternatively, you may use a bread maker or stand mixer with dough hook attachment to knead.

2. Place the dough in a greased airtight container that has room for the dough to expand at least twice is original volune. Refrigerate the container. You may prepare the dough any time of the day the day before baking. Just degas the dough every several hours and return it to the fridge. I used a measuring jug lined with cling wrap to contain the dough, and placed the jug in a jumbo Ziploc bag. This way I can monitor the bulk fermentation of the dough although it is not absolutely necessary. Letting the dough have a longer fermentation time helps the bread to develop a deeper flavour too.

3. On the day of baking, first portion out dough for the bear arms as we are baking it separately from the head. Weight of dough should be 3-4g x number of buns you are making. Prepare a tray lined with baking sheet. Place it on top of a freezer pack if you happen to have. If not, just work as fast as you can as the yeast activity will start to pick up at Singapore's hot room temperature. Degas the portion of dough by kneading it a few times to deflate any trapped air bubbles in the dough. Portion out the dough and shape the arms, lightly dusting the work surface with some flour if it gets sticky. Each arm is about 1.5-2g. Place the whole tray in a jumbo Ziploc bag and refrigerate.

4. Portion out the dough for the main body --- 26g x number of buns. The remainder of the dough is for the ears. At any given time, work with about 6 portions of dough. The rest should be in the fridge. Portion the dough for main body, leaving most of it on a tray or airtight container to be refrigerated. If using tray, place it in a jumbo Ziploc bag. Lightly flour the work surface. Shape 26g of dough into a ball and place inside a cupcake case. Carefully insert a mini sausage or hamroll next to the ball of dough. Pinch two small balls of dough for the ears. Attach the ears firmly onto the head using a toothpick. Please refer to this post on how to do this. Place assembled buns in an airtight container in the fridge.

5. When you have a few buns left to assemble, take the tray of bear arms out of fridge and let it proof at room temperature for about 1h to 1h 30min or double its size. When all the bear buns have been assembled, take all the buns out from the fridge and proof until double its size at room temperature with the lid of the container covering the top but not necessarily airtight.

Freshly assembled buns. Note that the rate of proofing is about the same.

After about an hour of proofing and ready to be baked.

6. Towards end of proofing time, set oven rack to second highest rack and preheat to 170℃ with the fan off. Bake the tray of arms for 8-10 min or until browned. Move the oven rack to second lowest position. Bake the bear main body for 7-8 min before placing another tray on the upper rack to block the upper heating element of the oven. Alternatively, use aluminum foil to tent the tray of buns. Bake for another 13 minutes or until baked through and browned. Cool completely in a place without strong draft.

Freshly baked!

Ingredients and tools:
30g White compound chocolate
5g vegetable shortening (optional)
Small round chocolate sprinkles (optional, for the nose)
Black edible marker
Charcoal powder
Uncooked spaghetti or toothpicks

1. Melt white chocolate and shortening using microwave or double boiler. Vegetable shortening helps to prevent the white chocolate from firming up too fast while working so it is optional to use it. Transfer into piping bag. Pipe on the bear snout. Use a tweezer to carefully attach a chocolate sprinkle for the nose. If you don't have the sprinkle, you may skip this step.

2. Use black edible marker to draw the eyes.

3. Place some of the melted white chocolate in a small microwaveable bowl. Add a pinch of charcoal powder. Mix well to make black paint. Microwave the mixture again if it firms up too much. Use a toothpick to paint on the mouth. If you don't have chocolate sprinkle, you may add on the nose using this black paint as well.

All decorated with expressive faces!

4. Attach the arms using pasta sticks or toothpicks. I tried pasta sticks at first but find that they break a little easily. Perhaps it's because I only have angel hair pasta at home, which is rather thin. If using spaghetti, bake at 120℃ for 8 min before using. I used toothpick instead as it is a lot sturdier.

And you are done :). Pack them all to be ready for the party!

Thank God that the buns were very well received! This is a savoury alternative to cupcakes for birthday celebrations that you may want to try as buns are gaining popularity as a healthier alternative to butter and sugar laden birthday treats.

With love,
Phay Shing

No comments:

Post a Comment