That B*tch Bakes … Baps!
Little Buns of Heaven for Summer BBQ weekends and more
Welcome back to "That B*tch Bakes,” in which I share with you recipes, witty asides, and my baking adventures.
I live in a top-floor apartment with a postage-stamp-sized balcony, so I can’t even use a Green Egg to barbecue. Whoa, Secretariat—that doesn’t mean I forgo barbecue Magik! Last week, I made a killer pulled pork and BBQ sauce (recipe fodder for 2 future posts) that just begged for the right bread for Pulled Pork Sammiches.
Voilá! I give you … Baps(?)
Uh, isn’t that British, Bethany?
Mebbe. Mebbe not.
See, I despise mushy, white, processed, store-bought bread, which is what store-bought hamburger buns are made of. My pulled pork deserves something sweeter, not-as-cloying, that won’t dissolve into aggregate mush at a dash of sauce and pork juice.
Bingo! B*tch Bakes Baps! Magikally easy to make, you’ll pride yourself on being pretty near nigh a professional baker when you toss out a dozen of these like Lowe’s flosses refrigerators from its teeth at inventory time.
Baps (Buns, Barms, Whatevah)
(I bake by mass/weight. Use this handy site to make mass-to-volume conversions. If you can afford it and see yourself getting as b*tchy about baking as I’ve gotten, buy a low-end digital scale. So worth it.)
Prep Time: 30 min prep, 3.5-4.5 hr total proving | Cook Time: 10-15 min | Total Time: 3.25 - 4.25 hrs | Yield: 12 baps/buns/barms/whatevah
Baps are a traditional British bread roll/bun, delicious warm with butter or as an all-purpose hamburger bun. Light, airy, and sweet, they're the perfect complement to savory meats or for a delicious peanut butter & jelly sandwich.
Scotch Blade (plastic or metal scraper to help with working the dough)
Pad & Pencil (if you're not into doing maths in your head)
Plastic Proving Bags
2 Baking Sheets/Trays
3-⅔C (500g) strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2-¼t (7g) instant dried yeast
1-⅛t (7g) fine salt
scant ¼C (40g) caster sugar
scant 3T (40g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, softened
1-⅓C (320 ml) cold water
Oil, for oiling
DOUGH & 1ST PROVE
1a. Sift flour into large bowl. Add yeast to one side and salt & sugar to the other. Add butter and ¾ of water.
1b. Mix with fingers, gradually adding more water, till you pick up all flour from bowl sides. (Depending on your climate and conditions of the day, you may use less, full amount, or more water to get a soft—but NOT soggy dough.)
2. Tip dough onto lightly floured workspace and knead 5–10 minutes. As you knead, dough will move from sticky to smooth and silky. (Baking B*tch Tip #1: Do the windowpane test with the dough: if you can stretch it between your fingers till you see light through it, without it tearing, then you’ve properly kneaded.)
2b. Put dough in lightly oiled bowl, place bowl in plastic proving bag, or cover bowl with tea towel. Prove 2-3 hrs, or till double in size. (Baking B*tch Tip #2: If you don’t have a proving drawer, but you do have an over-the-stove microwave with a stove light nestled under it, turn on the light over the stove. Close covered dough bowl in microwave. The warmth of the bulb and the sealed microwave interior creates an ideal proving environment. I do this for all my yeast-based doughs.)
SHAPING & 2ND PROVE
3. Tip dough onto lightly floured workspace. Fold inwards repeatedly till all air is knocked out. (I know this sounds stupid after you've waited some hours for the stuff to rise, but you're actually behaving like a molecular biologist: you're training the dough to puff up versus Moe's command to the other Stooges to "Spread out!")
4a. Weigh dough ball on kitchen scale, then divide dough ball weight by 12 to get master weight for each of the 12 Baps you're making. (Here's where the pad & pencil come in handy if you weren't listening to your 3rd-grade lesson on division.)
4b. With Scotch Blade, cut dough into 12 equal sections, weighing each one to match the individual Bap master weight. (If you're good at estimation, you can do this by sight/feel. You do you, Boo.)
5. On lightly floured workspace, roll each Platonic Ideal of 12 dough children. (I have big-ass hands, so I form a cage with each hand, cover dough children, and roll in a circular motion while applying light pressure. You can roll two dough children at a time this way.)
6. Put on lightly floured surface. Lightly sprinkle kids (the dough children; not your kids, if you have any on hand, though the gesture'll keep 'em honest) and cover with a clean towel to prove for 30 min.
7. While dough children prove, parchment-paper 2 baking sheets.
FLATTENING, 3RD PROVE, & BAKE
8. After 2nd prove, remove towel and roll with rolling pin to flatten each dough kid to 2x width.
9. Put 6 on each parchmented baking sheet, leaving expansion space in between.
10. Put each tray in a proving bag and prove 45–60 min, till double in size.
11. Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C (450°F/230°C high altitude).
12. After 3rd prove, pull trays from bags and lightly dust with flour.
13. Bake 10–15min, till risen and mystically golden brown. (You can poke dough kids graduating into Baps with a toothpick to test doneness, if you're not sure.)
14. Cool on baking trays 5 min. Transfer each Bap to a wire rack to finish the cool.
These little buggers store well for at least a week in an airtight container at room temp.
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