I’m going to ask just a teeny bit of it from you today, and I promise the return will be immeasurable. This post was originally going to be a post about sliders, but then something really profound happened. The hubbs and I had bought some “dinner rolls” from the store to test out said sliders, and in one word – gluey. Glue-y? Yes, they were like glue. Not cool, nor appetizing. I could try to hop around to the grocery stores and farmer’s markets, but I still didn’t think that would cut it. I tested some bread recipes, and these buns are what I came up with! The craft beer component alone will give you bragging rights!
First thing’s first – you’ve got to get the beer up to about 100 degrees. From a freshly cracked beer out of the fridge, I measured the amount of beer needed, and microwaved it in 20 second intervals 5 times before this was achieved. It’s best if you make certain with a thermometer, as you must create the perfect bath for the yeast. Once you get the beer at the right temperature, add in the honey, stir until dissolved, then add the yeast. Let it sit while you procure the other ingredients – those being your melted butter, egg, and your flour/salt mixture. Put the flour/salt mixture in the bowl of your stand mixer. When it’s go-time, add the butter and egg to the beer/yeast mixture, and stir to combine. With the flour/salt in your stand mixer, turn that puppy on, and slowly, gently pour in the liquids. Use a rubber spatula to get it all into the flour. What the flour needs here is the perfect amount of hydration. We’re going for tacky ~ not sticky (too wet), and not crumbly(too dry). You want the sides of the mixer to come clean, yet still stick to the bottom of the mixer bowl a bit. If it’s sticking to the sides of the bowl after being completely mixed a bit, add flour one tablespoon at a time. If it’s too crumbly, add a teaspoon of beer at a time, and mix until you think you’ve got it right. You can do this. Okay, let’s move on!
The next step is to switch over to the dough-hook attachment. This is where the real magick happens, babe. You MUST. I repeat: YOU MUST let this go for 6 to 8 minutes. You may have to baby-sit your mixer during this time, because it may jump right off the counter. At least mine was working pretty hard and jumping around! What’s happening here is that the gluten is developing, which makes hard walls inside the dough, that become bubbles as the yeast eats the sugars, and produces carbon dioxide – bubbles!!! You need that time with the dough hook, baby. TRUST.
See what’s happening here? It’s the window pane test. Break off a piece of dough, and in your hands, slowly pull. If the result is something like what you see here, you’ve got it! You want to be able to see the light through the dough without the dough tearing.
Well oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and wait for 1.5 – 2 hours.
When the dough has finished rising and doubling in size, with a pastry cutter (or a knife), cut the ball in half. Cut the halves in half, and repeat until you’ve got 32 cute little pieces of dough.
Then, you roll them into balls (see recipe for technique) and put them on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment.
After 20 minutes of rest, smoosh them down like so – I smooshed them down one way with three fingers, then the other way. They will rise considerably, so don’t worry about flattening them too much.
Now you have to wait for at least one hour, and up to 1.5 hours until they go through their “proofing” stage, which is the secondary fermentation of the yeast. The first fermentation was the initial rise, where we waited 1.5-2 hours for the dough to double in volume. Once the secondary fermentation is done, brush with egg wash, and top however you like! Here we have sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and granulated garlic. Can you say, YUM!?
After 14 minutes in a 400F oven, this is what we’re left with! Little golden pillows of deliciousness!
Once they’re golden and 180 degrees in the center, they are done, boyeee! After cooling for about 5 minutes on the pan, remove to a wire rack to cool completely for at least one hour. After that, pop those puppies in gallon ziplock bags, seal and put in the refrigerator until ready to use! In my experience, they last for at least a week in the refrigerator. Any more than that, and I can’t say, because they just go THAT FAST!
Allow yourself 4 and a half hours to do this. Much of that time is waiting for the dough to ferment, so you can fill your time with other things (like shaping slider patties), just make sure to set your timer!
ANNND, like I said in the beginning of the post, this was supposed to be for sliders. HUGE hint for what is coming tomorrow! Stay tuned!
Gotta looooove fermentation,
- 1 1/4 Cups Craft Beer, heated to 100-110 degrees (I used Stone Brewing Co.’s Arrogant Bastard)
- 3 Tablespoons Honey
- 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
- 4 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
- 3 1/4 Tablespoons Butter, melted, or at room temperature
- 1 Large Egg, room temperature, beaten
- 1 Egg white
- 1 Tablespoon Water
- Sesame/Poppy Seeds (optional)
- Measure out beer in a microwave safe dish, and microwave on high for 20 second intervals until you reach 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Add in the honey, and stir until dissolved, then add the yeast, and stir. Let sit for 10 minutes until it starts to bubble.
- Add the flour and salt to your stand mixer bowl (4 quart capacity).
- Add the butter and one beaten egg to the yeast mixture, and mix until just combined.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until the dough forms a ball. If the mixture is stiff, add in a little more beer, 1 teaspoon at a time. If it is too wet, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough is not so stiff and has become easliy flexible. The dough should pull away from the sides of the mixture, but still stick to the bottom of the mixture.
- Once you reach the right dough consistency and texture, switch to your dough-hook attachment. Let the mixer work it’s magic for six to eight minutes on medium speed. If you don’t have a mixer with the dough hook attachment, knead on a floured surface adding more flour as necessary. Overall the dough should be slightly tacky, but not overly sticky.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to sit and rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The dough should double in size.
- After the dough has risen, remove from the bowl, and divide in half. Divide those in half to yield four pieces, and repeat until you’re left with 32 small balls of dough. They should be around 1 – 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
- Wipe your cutting board clean to increase friction. Place one of the balls on the cutting board, and press down gently with your hand. Cup your hand over the ball and firmly rotate your hand until the dough tightens up and forms a nice ball. You may need to pull in your thumb to tighten the cup of your hand for these size dough balls.
- Place three rows of four on two parchment lined baking sheets. Mist with spray oil, cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.
- When the 20 minutes is up, flatten the dough to the shape desired for your slider buns. They will continue to rise in the oven, so get them as flat as you can. Mist with spray oil again, and cover for the secondary fermentation period (or proofing) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until they just about double in size.
- Ten minutes before the proofing is complete, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the egg white and water, and brush the mixture on the tops of the buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake the buns in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown on the top, and 180 degrees in the center.
- Remove from the oven when done, and place on wire racks to cool.
- Let the buns cool for at least one hour before enjoying.