A bread machine can do more than just make bread. I haven’t made bread in it for ages. I’ve found that it’s quicker and easier to make flat buns. I’ll talk about the recipe at the end.
The advantages of making these buns instead of bread:
- you can freeze the buns in ziplocs, six or eight to a bag and take out one or two as you need them
- you don’t have half a loaf of bread that is less than fresh, sitting in the fridge
- the buns are almost as fresh as if they were just out of the oven if you put the frozen bun in the microwave for 20+ seconds
- they make great sandwiches
- toast them if you want
- you don’t use your bread machine for baking as much because you only use the dough setting, and so you prolong the life of your paddles and the “plastic” seals that seat them (you don’t bake the seals, which always seem to be the first to go in a bread machine).
When the two hours of the dough setting have timed out and your dough is mixed and has risen, place the dough on a board and cut in half.
Press one half into a rectangle. You can use a rolling pin or just press with your hands. I just use my hands. Then cut the piece once lengthwise and then make cuts for eight pieces. Place those pieces on a buttered baking sheet. Do the same for the second piece of dough and place on a second baking sheet.
Whisk one whole egg in a small bowl. If my whisk isn’t handy I use a fork.
With a pastry brush, paint the beaten egg over the top of each bun. If you have a dog or cat, you might want to put that leftover egg in the microwave for a few seconds and after it cools, give them a treat.
After I brushed these buns with egg, I sprinkled cardamom and cumin on them, having ground some cardamom and cumin seeds in an old coffee grinder. I also sprinkled a few grains of coarse salt on the buns, but these are things that you can omit if they don’t suit your taste buds. You can make up your own toppings to sprinkle on, or have none.
I put my oven on very low for a few minutes and then turn it off. When it is just barely warm, I place the two baking sheets in the oven to rise for about 20 minutes or so.
Then I take them out, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the buns, one sheet at a time, for 22 minutes each. If I had a bigger oven or a convection oven I might be able to bake both baking sheets at once, but you know your own oven and will be able to figure out what works for you.
For these buns, you can change the basic recipe and play around with your ingredients to suit your own preferences.
2 cups of lukewarm liquid
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. honey (or sugar)
2 tsp. salt
5 cups flour
2 tsp. fast acting (instant) yeast
What I do:
I pour two cups of milk into a big measuring cup and put it in the microwave for two minutes.
Pour the milk into the bread pan in the bread machine.
Add the butter, salt, and honey.
Then, instead of using 5 cups of flour, I substitute for one of the cups of flour and use rolled oats, or Sunnyboy cereal, or cracked wheat, or whatever I feel like adding. Sometimes it’s a mixture of the above.
If I have them handy, I like to add a tablespoon of fennel seeds from my garden. I collect them in the fall and dry them, and they are so handy for baking or for adding to a mint tea.
On top of the flour, I add two teaspoons of the instant yeast.
One last thing:
The buns work well for making garlic toast. Just cut a bun open as if you were making a sandwich, and then cut the two pieces in half. Spread with crushed garlic and butter. Toast under the broiler for a VERY short time. Use a timer, one minute at a time.
They also work really well for making paninis.