I have a strange fear of fireplaces. I dare you to even hazard a guess as to why. I can all but guarantee that it’s not what you’re thinking. I’m not afraid that they will cause a fire, thus burning down the house, me, and everything in it. No, that would be too straightforward, almost mundane, dare I say predictable. Instead, I’m terrified that a creature, which I have no image of in my head, will slither out of the fireplace and drag me back into it, screaming in pain and agony. You see, in my offbeat world, fireplaces are portals to an evil dimension, where these lurking and secretive creatures wait in repugnant silence for an individual to unknowingly venture too close to the opening of their damnable world. So, if you should happen to see me cleaning my house, and perhaps wonder why I stand three feet away from the fireplace while vacuuming, this is the reason. Due to this careless and rushed attempt at sweeping, there may or may not be several dust bunnies gathered near the fireplace opening which reeks of stinking terror; I’ll leave those for B.O.B. Bob to clean up, since he is unaware of the evil that awaits him. So what exactly does this fear of fireplace insanity have to do with bread? Well, my fear of baking bread doesn’t seem quite so scary in comparison now, does it?
- 1 Cup Warm Water
- 3 Tablespoon Warm Whipping Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Warm Honey
- 1 Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
- 1 Egg
- 3 Cups Bread Flour
- 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Whipping Cream
- Sesame Seeds
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted
- Whisk together the water, cream, honey, sugar, and yeast in a measuring cup; set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy.
- Beat the egg in a small dish; set aside.
- Place the bread flour, all-purpose flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with a paddle attachment for two minutes on low speed.
- Add the water mixture and the beaten egg; mix for 1 minute.
- Swap out the paddle attachment for a bread hook, increase the speed to medium-low, and mix for 10 minutes.
- Oil a large bowl and your hands with extra virgin olive oil. Roll the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl, cover with a damp dishtowel, and place the bowl in a warm area of your kitchen until the dough has doubled in size. This may take anywhere between 1 and 3 hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the risen dough into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a smooth bun shape, and then place on the parchment paper lined baking sheet 1 1/2-inches apart from one another.
- Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area of your kitchen for 1 to 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Place a large glass baking dish on the bottom rack of your oven filled with an inch of water, and then preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Using a pastry brush, brush each bun with whipping cream, and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake buns for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top of each bun with melted butter.
- Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Warm water, cream, and honey are needed to activate the yeast. Not hot, not cold, but warm. It’s not an exact science. Just use common sense.
- The glass baking dish filled with water will create steam inside of your oven, which will help keep your buns moist and allow them to cook evenly.
- Make sure to lightly brush the buns with butter after taking them out of the oven. If you brush too hard, the sesame seeds will fly off of the buns, and you wouldn’t want that to happen.
- Replace the sesame seeds with poppy seeds.
- Add 1/4-teaspoon of garlic or onion powder to the flour mixture.
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