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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Garlic Buns for One

Bread has a bad reputation for being a big deal to make. It can be; I’m not denying that. But when you’re making just enough for you, or just enough for you and a friend, it’s really very easy.

Makes two hamburger-sized buns. 

       ·         ¾ cup warm water (hot tap water will do)
·         1 tablespoon yeast (1 packet of rapid rise)
·         1 cup bread flour
·         1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
·         1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
·         1 tablespoon lemon juice
·         ½ teaspoon sea salt
·         ½ teaspoon dried oregano
·         ½ teaspoon rosemary, crumbled in your hand or ground in a mortar
·         5 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed in the garlic press

Toppings (choose any of these, or combine them)
       ·         1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
·         4 cloves garlic, put through the press
·         Zest of ½ lemon
·         1 teaspoon garlic powder
·         2 tablespoons grated vegan mozzarella cheese
·         A small handful fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano)
·         A few sprinkles of sea salt
·         1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
  1.  Combine the warm water with the yeast and stir until it has been dissolved. Leave it be for a bit. It should look a little foamy around the edges in a few minutes. If it doesn’t, you may have dead yeast. If you think it might be dead, put the tiniest pinch of sugar in there. Live yeast will react cheerfully. If it doesn’t react to the sugar, start over with new yeast.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the two flours, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, oregano, and rosemary. Press the garlic straight into the bowl.
  3. Combine the yeast and water with everything else and mix it with a spoon for a minute or so. You’ll want to switch to your hands to get it all combined.
  4. Knead the dough with your hands until it becomes elastic and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with a lid or damp towel and leave it in a warm place to rise for a couple of hours. I like to turn the oven on for 5 minutes while I’m kneading, then turn it off and put the dough inside there.
Tra-la-la and a fiddle dee dee.

After the dough has risen, preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  1. Punch the dough down (with so little dough, this is a matter of poking your fingers into it) and knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic again. Cut the dough in half and roll each half into a ball. Pat each into an oval shape—or any shape you like (I wanted burger buns). It should be about half an inch to a whole inch thick.
  2. Lay the flat dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Sing hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny no!

  1. Even though I claim it’s optional, you’re really going to want to infuse some olive oil with garlic by pressing a few cloves into a small bowl with a tablespoon or so of olive oil in there. Moosh it around with the back of a spoon, and then let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare the other topping items. I like to make the two buns different from each other. Yummm.
a)     Make some lemon zest, perhaps a teaspoon’s worth.
b)    Get out the vegan mozzarella cheese. Maybe combine it with some dried herbs.
c)     Combine fennel seeds, sesame seeds, dill seeds, caraway seeds, salt, and poppy seeds in roughly equal parts. You won’t need much, so these measurements should be pinches.
d)    Do your own thing.
  1. Smear the garlic-infused olive oil on the top of each bun. Be generous. Top with whichever topping you choose from my list, or make up your own. The topping will stick to the garlicky oil.
  2. Bake them in the oven for approximately 13 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.

Let them cool as long as you can bear it. They’ll probably still be hot. They’re that good. You won’t be able to wait!

These little breads taste great as an accompaniment to breakfast, as a sandwich surrounding, or you could make them smaller and serve them as dinner rolls and save one or two for the morning to have with your tofu scramble

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