Sunday, 8 November 2015

Honey Milk Buns

I was checking through my emails, and have regular ones from Bakery Bits where they mentioned Ethiopian Honey Milk Bread.  This was the starting point for inspiration for my baking session yesterday afternoon.  Several other posts on the internet give more or less the same recipe for Yemarina Yewotet Dabo.

With The Book of Buns in mind, and Jane Mason's techniques, I turned to thinking of making some buns..honey milk, spices, and my best Organic Stoneground Khorosan Flour from Shipton Mill, as well from local honey from Mick Smith.


350g Organic Khorasan flour
250g strong white flour
1 large free range egg
125g runny honey
10g instant yeast dissolved in 50g warm water
0.5 tsp ground cardamon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
10g salt
250g whole goat's milk, heated then cooled to about 28 C
50g melted goat's butter
2 tsp fennel seeds, soaked for about 1 hr and drained.  I like to soak them as they are less likely to scorch

Glaze: 1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water, a pinch each of salt and sugar

Of course, you can substitute cow's milk and butter...we just happen to use goat's milk and butter.

Knead all the ingredients together with just 1 tsp of the fennel seeds for around ten minutes.  ( I might add more next time). Leave to double, then turn out carefully onto an unfloured work face, shape into a tight sausage then divide into 16, and allow to rest for 15 minutes under a cloth.  Roll each piece into a long sausage shape about 20cm long then coil into a loose snail snape.  Put onto two baking sheets, lined with baking parchment, and dusted with semolina or coarse polenta.  Allow to rise for 45 to 60 minutes until ready to bake.

Brush carefully with the glaze, then when you get to the last, brush a second time, and sprinkle the rest of the drained fennel seed on the buns.

In a preheated oven to gas no 7, they should take about 20 minutes to be baked.  As they have honey they may turn brown too quickly.  In my oven, I swap the tins at about 10 minutes, and then watch them carefully.  Its great having the light on in the oven...I take the tray out and turn the buns, and sometimes move the outer ones to the inside, so that they can all more or less get that lovely even brown shiny colour.

I am getting to like bun sized bread more and more.  With a large loaf, that you cut,  it 'calls' you to cut another slice, and you may end up eating too much, and when you have baked a particular flavoured loaf, it might not be quite right for the meal you have in mind, so you may have two or three loaves on the go, and may end up wasting the last bit.  Not that bread gets wasted in this house very often!  Maybe in larger households large loaves are great.  By having small buns, it is also easier and a nicer way of sharing bread with friends.  After all isn't it nicer to offer a few buns, rather than a couple of slices off as loaf?  I also find buns so much easier to pack in a napkin too for breakfast or lunch on the trot.

I have about three types of buns in the freezer and can take ones to suit each of us out of the freezer and warm up in the oven, or just within a couple of hours they are thawed at room temperature.  Buns usually are used up within a couple of weeks of first going into the freezer, and I find that it is no noticeable loss in quality.  In fact they are better than a bun that has been lingering in the bread bin for a couple of days.  I know some of my baking friends with children will laugh at this, as their buns rarely last longer than a few hours after baking, and are even all snaffled before they have had chance to cool down.

Despite this, each week I also bake a 'standard loaf tin'...there is nothing nicer than hot toast!

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