Sweet Yeasted Buns: recreating mom’s recipe

Numerous times I tried to recreate these sweet, fluffy buns that mom used to make when we were children. I don’t have a recipe because mama always made these without one! I think today they have turned out just right – right amount of sweetness, softness, right texture and above all the right taste! I know she would be proud of me – Happy Birthday Mama! 🙂

Sweet Yeasted Buns                    Printable recipe

(KORPICE- is the name of these buns, which in Bosnian language means “little baskets”)

Dough:

  • 4 cups (512 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2.8 oz (80 g) sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup (295 ml) warm milk
  • 0.7 oz (20 g) fresh yeast
  • ½ lemon (zest only)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2.8 oz (80 g) butter (softened)
  • Flour for kneading

Filling:

  • 3.5 oz (100 g) finely chopped walnuts
  • 3.5 (100 g) fresh blackberries (mashed)
  • 5.2 oz (150 g) blackberry jam
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

***1 Tablespoon powder sugar + 1 pack of vanilla sugar for dusting

Preparation:

For the dough combine the flour, sugar and vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl. Make an indent in the flour. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and lightly pour the milk into the flour. Mix the dough until almost combined, add the egg and the yolks, mix some more and at the end add butter.

Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for a few minutes. Form into a ball, place into a buttered bowl, cover and let it rest until double in size. The dough supposed to be medium firm. Once is rises is will be stretchy, soft and easy to work with.

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Just mix all ingredients together and set aside until needed.

Once the dough is ready place it on a floured surface and roll it into a rectangle (approx. size 12 X 24 inches or 30 X 60 cm). With a pizza knife cut it into 24 squares.  Place some of the filling in the middle of each square, pick up opposite corners together as to form a little basket. Pinch the sides good so the filling doesn’t come out.

Cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 15 minutes or until you see nice golden-brown tops.

While still warm, dust with mixture of sugar and vanilla sugar. Serve warm with coffee or a cup of milk.

YUM! ENJOY! 🙂

Easy Sandwich Buns

I so enjoy making my own bread and buns. What’s better than a fresh, golden-brown bun right out of the oven?! Here is just a quick and simple recipe for some excellent sandwich buns.

Easy Sandwich Buns                              Printable recipe

 Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (512 g) all-purpose flour (used King Arthur)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup +/- ¼ cup (250 ml) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Flour for kneading

Preparation:

In a large bowl combine flour, active dry yeast, sugar and salt. Mix well and start adding water. Quantity of water will depend on the flour.

Add the olive oil at the end and mix for 4-5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for about 5 minutes.

Now turn on the mixer for another 5 minutes. The dough will look nice and smooth. Shortly knead it by hand on a flour dusted surface. Shape it into a ball, place it back into the greased bowl, cover and let it rise until double in volume (1 to 1.5 hours).

When double in size, place the dough on your working surface, roll it into a square and cut into square shaped buns. I made bigger buns, so I had 9.

Make sure buns are nicely dusted with flour when you place them onto a baking sheet. Cover them and let rise for another hour.

Heat the oven to 450 F (230 C). Bake the buns for about 12-15 minutes. For extra crunchy buns place a cup of water on the bottom of the oven.

Bon Appétit!

Wheat-Rye Bread with Kefir

About a year ago we started using kefir as a part of our daily nutrition. Kefir has multiple benefits for your body and can be used as a plain drink, a smoothie, and can also be mixed into pancakes, breads and other baked goods since it contains some beneficial yeasts. Fresh (24 hour kefir) is very mild and yogurt-like tasting. After 48 hours it becomes somewhat sour and after 72 hours quite sour. It is still good to use, it just depends on what you prefer. Today I was experimenting a little with the 72-hour kefir just to see what kind of flavor my bread will have. In the back of my mind I had this idea that it may taste like sourdough bread…

 WHEAT-RYE BREAD WITH KEFIR            Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (500 g) bread flour (wheat)
  • 1 cup (100 g) rye flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) kefir (room temperature)
  • 1 ¼ (300 ml) warm water
  • Flour for kneading
  • ½ cup (125 ml) water for baking

Preparation:

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer combine wheat and rye flour, add yeast and keep mixing for a minute or two.
  2. Now add kefir, warm water and salt and keep mixing for about 5 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes and again mix for another 5.
  3. Put the dough on a flour dusted surface and knead for a few minutes. Form into a ball, place it back into bowl, cover it and let it rise for about 1 – 1 ½ hour.
  4. When the dough looks double its size, place it back on the working surface, knead it thoroughly and form it into a desired shape. Dust it with flour, cover it and let it rise for about 30 minutes.
  5. While the dough is resting, heat the oven to450 F. Placea baking dish (oven safe) into the oven for 10 minutes to heat it.
  6. With a sharp knife cut a lengthwise ½ inch slit in the bread. Pick it up from the working surface and place it in the hot baking dish. Place a ½ cup of water on the bottom of the oven. This will provide necessary moisture and the bread will get a nice thick, crunchy crust.
  7. Lower the oven temperature to 430 F and bake for about 40 minutes.
  8. Cool down completely and enjoy!

*** This bread made with sour kefir tastes so much like a real sourdough bread!

Pretzels – Remembering southern Germany

At the beginning of the 90’s when there was a war going on in Bosnia, we spent about six years in south-western Germany. That time was kind of a bitter-sweet time for us. Bitter, as we were adjusting to the completely new life, new language, new country, new people, and we worried about the loved ones that were still in Bosnia. Sweet, because we got married and had our babies, and we have learned a lot about life and to always look forward no matter what the circumstances are.

Well, how do the pretzels tie into this whole story? Simply, every time I see them, a wave of memories splashes over me and brings back the pictures of the beautiful German towns, walks and bike rides along the Rhein river and Fairytale-like Black Forest villages and small bakeries filled with the best bread and pretzels in the World.

The preztels have somewhat crispy crust and are soft inside. In southern Germany, they are called Laugenbrezeln because of the specific way they are made. Before baking they are dipped in a NaOH solution, which is neutralized during baking and gives the pretzels their distinctive taste.  When made at home they are dipped in solution of baking soda and they taste fantastic (maybe not 100% as the German original, but 90% for sure).

Ingredients:                                  Printable recipe

  • 3 ¾ cup (500 g) bread flour (used King Arthur)
  • 1.5 oz (42 g) fresh yeast***
  •  ½ TSP salt
  • 3 ½ TBSP (50 g) butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) warm milk
  • 3 quarts (3 liter) boiling water
  • 5 tbsp baking soda

Preparation:

  1. Sift the flour mixed with salt into a bowl and make a small hole in the middle. Thinly slice butter and place around the hole.
  2. Dissolve the fresh yeast in the warm milk and start pouring into the flour, mixing at the same time.
  3. Knead the dough by hand for at least 5 minutes. Dough will be quite firm and smooth and not sticky at all. Form a dough ball and let it rest covered for about 30 minutes.
  4. Place the dough on a work surface and cut into 10 equal pieces. Form the pretzels or rolls.
  5. Butter the baking pan. (Do not use parchment paper!)
  6. Boil the water and add the baking soda. Adding soda to the boiling water will make quite a reaction, so be careful!!! Let the water simmer and place each pretzel in the solution for about 30 seconds.
  7. Take out pretzels with a skimmer spoon and place them onto a well buttered baking pan.
  8. With a sharp knife or a razor cut the small slit on a top of each pretzel or a small cross on each roll. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
  9. Bake at 395 F (200 C) until golden brown.

Bavarian pretzels are usually served sliced horizontally and spread with butter.

*** Fresh yeast can be substituted with the dry yeast (use 1 and ¾ TSP). Mix the yeast with flour and salt, then add butter and warm milk and make the dough.

Buchteln – Sweet pull-apart Rolls

Buchteln are Bavarian/Austrian sweet rolls or dumplings usually filled with jam. I’ve seen them served with warm vanilla sauce poured on the top of them. They are also popular in other regions of Europe, including my homeland, Bosnia. They are very simple to make. I love how they snugly fit together in the pan and how easily they come apart when you need one. They are great for breakfast or any other time of the day. My Grandma often used to make them filled with rosehip jam.

This cold winter morning seemed perfect for Buchteln, so I made them for breakfast filled with homemade plum jam and nutella.

Buchteln                                                         Printable recipe        

  • 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast (or 40 g fresh yeast)
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 vanilla sugar (1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • Zest of one small lemon
  • 7 tbsp (100 g) butter (soft)
  •  1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup (250 ml) warm milk

For filling:  Your favorite jam, nutella, sweetened cream cheese and raisins, etc.

For brushing: 1 tbsp melted butter

For dusting: Powder sugar

  1. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and mix well for few minutes.
  2. Add half of the milk and start mixing.
  3. Add egg, egg yolk and butter and remaining milk, continuing mixing for another 3-4 minutes or until the dough stops sticking to the walls of the mixing bowl.
  4. Knead the dough by hand for few minutes, form it into a ball, cover with kitchen towel and let it rise for about 1 to 1 ½ hours or until double in volume.
  5. Now roll it into a 1/3 in (about 8 mm) thick rectangle and with a pizza cutter, cut into smaller squares (about 3 x 3 in, 8 x 8 cm)
  6. Place a tbsp of jam on each square and close by bringing together opposite corners, pinching them tightly and making a small ball.
  7. Place formed buchteln into a round spring form lined with parchment paper. Melt 1 tbsp of butter and brush over buchteln, cover with kitchen towel and let rise until double in volume.
  8. Bake at 380 F (190 C) about 30 minutes. Cool down slightly, dust with powder sugar and serve warm.

Enjoy!

Dinner Rolls from scratch

Delicious dinner rolls are pretty simple to make if you have a little time. They are great, not only for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but for special occasions and holidays as well.  I like to shape them like knots, pull-aparts or crescents, just for a fun of it! 🙂 Homemade dinner rolls are super yummy and soooo much better tasting than the store bought ones! In addition to that, they don’t contain any preservatives and questionable ingredients. You may sprinkle them with your favorite topping or just leave them plain!

Ingredients for about 15-16 rolls:

  • 4 cups ( 512 g) all-purpose flour*
  • 2/3 cup (75 g) dry milk powder
  • 1 pack of active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar*
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp (42 g) butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • about 2 1/4 cup (500 ml) warm water
Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
1. In a large bowl (or a stand mixer bowl) combine and mix well all dry ingredients, add thinly sliced butter. Pour little by little water into the bowl and mix slowly for 2-3 minutes, add oil and continue mixing for the next 5 minutes.
2. When the dough doesn’t stick to the walls of the bowl and it looks shiny and smooth, form it into a ball, cover with a clean dish towel and let it raise over night or at least 1 to 1 1/2 hour. The dough needs to double its volume.
3. Sprinkle your working surface with flour, roll the dough into a 10 X 15 inch (25 X 35 cm) rectangle. Prepare a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Grease your muffin pan.
4. For the knot shaped rolls cut the dough at the shorter end into 1 in (2.5 cm) strips. Tie a strip into a knot with ends placed on the bottom. Allow some space between knots as they will raise and expand during baking.
5. For the pull-apart rolls, form 1 inch balls, putting three together into a muffin pan.
6. For the egg wash, lightly beat an egg with two table spoons of milk, brush over rolls and sprinkle with your favorite topping or just leave plain. Let the rolls raise for about 30-45 minutes.
7. Pre-heat oven to 400 F (200 C) and bake about 20 minutes or until beautiful golden-brown color.
*Note:
For bread and rolls I always use “King Arthur” all-purpose or bread flour. I think it is the best flour on US market.
If you like sweeter rolls add 2 more tbsp of sugar into the dough.
Bon Appetite!

Homemade Bagels

On weekend mornings our family eats what we call a “Big Breakfast”. We take time making food we love, we take time setting the table and take time eating. It is important for us just to slow down, relax and eat this most important meal of the day. Everyone in our family always looks forward to the Big Weekend Breakfast! 🙂 Usually we have what we call an “European Breakfast”, but on some days we have also an “American Breakfast”. This weekend we had an American Breakfast and homemade bagels were on the menu.

Homemade Bagels

Ingredients for 8 large bagels:

  • 4 1/2 cups (520 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) warm water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp water
  • sesame seeds, poppy seeds, shredded cheese, onion flakes, etc.
  • 3 quarts (about 3 liters) water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp molasses
Note: To have fresh homemade bagels in the morning, I always start the dough the night before. I enjoy making the dough by hand, but Kitchen Aid is a great helper too. 🙂
1. Combine all dry ingredients and mix well for about 1-2 minutes. Combine warm water and oil. Slowly pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and start forming the dough.
2. Bagel dough needs to be firm. It is ready when it becomes smooth and doesn’t stick to the walls of the mixing bowl.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it doubles its volume or over night.
4. Transfer the dough onto a flour dusted surface and knead for a few minutes. Roll it into a rectangle and cut into 8 equal pieces. I weighed mine and they were all about 4.4 oz (125 g).
5. Knead each piece into a small ball, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 30-45 minutes.
6. Poke a whole in the middle of each dough ball (swirl around your point finger a few times) to form a bagel.
7. In a bigger pot boil the water, add salt, molasses and mix well. Reduce the water to simmer. Place each bagel into the simmering water and cook 30-45 seconds on each side. If you like chewier bagels you can boil them for about 2 minutes. Take them out and place on a wire rack.
8. For egg wash mix together egg white and water, brush over bagels and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, shredded cheese, onion flakes (or whichever topping you prefer).
9. Pre-heat the oven to 420 F (215 C). Line a large baking pan with parchment paper, sprinkle with corn meal and place the bagels on the pan.
10. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nice golden-brown color. For a crispier bagel, place a cup of water on the bottom of the oven, while baking.
All is left now is to enjoy them! 🙂
Here they were just the dough balls.
Already looking like bagels! 🙂
Our favorite toppings – sesame and poppy seeds!
They smelled so good, even a wasp came to have a taste! 🙂