Sesame seed, white burger bun

Bread making is not my forte. I wish I could say I can make it with my left hand blindfolded, but I cannot. I have been enchanted with the way Saccharomyces crevisiae or Yeast, which also a fungi, just so you know (Sorry that was the biology student in me talking!) and gluten work harmoniously together making wonderful smelling bread.  Not just western bread, but Indian breads too. Ever heard of Bhatura (Indian deep fried flat bread). Or Naan (Indian baked flat bread)? I hope so. OK, doesn't matter, I'll explain sometime.

So what happens when you add yeast to flour? There is a lot of chemistry that goes into bread making, and I am not going to pretend to know all (or any) of it. Sure I know what the yeast does biologically but know very little about the 'food' part of it. Here's the basic - If you have ever made any kind of bread with yeast before, you’ll know of a step where you might soak the yeast in water and sugar until it turns frothy, also called 'activating' the yeast. You just want the tiny yeast cells to 'reactivate' and the sugar is to 'feed' them. The yeast use the carbohydrate in the flour as 'food' to divide and produce carbon dioxide which is what forms the bubbles inside the bread.

Obviously there's a lot more that goes into bread making and it takes years to get the bread just right. But remember this, if you ever make bread at home, do not compare it to the prepackaged stuff you buy from your local kirana store. Factory made bread has way more ingredients and chemicals added to it (and robotic arms to knead dough) than you can ever imagine adding to your homemade bread. Homemade bread is often hard on the outside, has got a chewy crust and much much denser than the packaged bread, but that's the beauty of it. My previous attempts had obviously not convinced me, but recently a lot of reading/watching, I realised that there is no point in comparing and you have to really enjoy that chewy kind of homemade bread to appreciate it.

The recipe I made is adapted from Rachel Allen's (Bake! series) white yeast bread. I only have a large cake loaf tin, so I shaped them into small rolls. The following recipe makes about 6 medium rolls/buns, so feel free to double the recipe to get more rolls, or to turn it into a loaf.

White Sesame seed Buns

What you need -

1/2 tsp caster sugar
425 ml warm water
7gm/1.5 tsp dried yeast (or use 10 gms fresh yeast); I used fast action dried yeast.
750 g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp  oil
1 tbsp milk
sesame seeds, for the top of the rolls (optional)

To make -

1. In a small bowl take 150ml warm water and add the sugar and yeast to it let it stand in a warm place for about 10 minutes or until the mix is frothy i.e. air bubbles form on top of the layer. Once that is done, Add the oil to this liquid.

2. In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Do this so that the yeast will not come in direct contact with the yeast.  Pour in the yeast mixture and most of the remaining water into the flour and mix to a loose dough. Here you may need some extra water, because the amount of of water depends on how much you flour soaks up. Make sure the dough is soft and just slightly sticky (softer than the roti atta)

3. Knead the dough for about ten minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch. Put the dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover the top tightly with cling film and keep it in a dark and warm place until it doubles in size (usually takes up to 1-2 hrs)

4. Preheat the oven to 220C.

5. When the dough has more than doubled in size, knock back and knead again for 2–3 minutes. Leave the dough to relax for 10 minutes .

6. Shape the bread into loaves or rolls. To shape into rolls, divide the dough into 6 equal parts – you can do this by eye, or if you prefer, weigh each portion. Then knead each roll, and shape it into a smooth roll.

7. Transfer the rolls to a baking tray lined with greased butter paper and cover with a clean tea towel. Allow to rise again in a warm place for 20–30 minutes, until the shaped dough has again doubled in size. When fully risen, it should leave a dent when you gently press the dough with your finger.

8. Gently (as the bread is full of air at this point and therefore very fragile) brush with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using)

9. Bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes for rolls, depending on their size. Turn the heat down to 200C 6 after 5 minutes for the remaining cooking time. When cooked, the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the base. Cool them, before slicing. They’ll keep in the fridge for about 2 days.

P.S - This recipe worked, using the above measures, and ingredients, but if you want to make any changes, please do read the original recipe first. And let me know how it turned out!


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