Bun Dough

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A friend of mine took me to the Flour Bakery in Boston, where I fell in love with the pastries.  This bun dough recipe comes from bakery owner Joanne Chang’s cookbook, Baking with Less Sugar.  I’ve made this dough a few times now, and even though I always freak out over how sticky and gooey it is, it’s always turned out well.  I’ve used it for sweet rolls so far (still tweaking that recipe), but I plan to try it with savory filling as well.

Bun Dough
From Baking with Less Sugar

Yield: Enough dough for 8-12 buns

1 cup (240 g) water, at body temperature
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast OR 0.1 oz (3 g) fresh cake yeast
2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (50 g) olive or other mild vegetable oil

  1. Lightly oil a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Fit a stand mixer with the dough hook.
  3. In the mixing bowl, put the water and yeast and let stand for 20-30 seconds.
  4. Add salt and flour to mixing bowl.
  5. Turn mixer on and off on low speed a few times until the flour is mixed into the liquid.
  6. Mix dough on low speed for 10 seconds.  It should look shaggy.
  7. Add oil and mix on low speed for 4-5 minutes.  The dough will be sticky with an  elastic and stretchy consistency.  If it is significantly stiffer, mix in 2-3 tablespoons water; if it is significantly looser, mix in 2-3 tablespoons flour.  (My dough always turns out extremely sticky and gooey even after adding the extra flour.)
  8. Scrape dough into the oiled bowl using a rubber spatula.
  9. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in a draft-free, warm place (ideally 78-82ºF) for 2-3 hours.  (I put mine in my oven with only the pilot light on.)  The dough will roughly double in volume.
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