Yields 2 1-lb. loaves, 12 buns or 18 dinner rolls.
This recipe, though very basic, is still very good.
Now, I’ll say this – if you really like to play with bold flavors or just have fun creating in the kitchen, this recipe serves wonderfully as a sort of springboard. It can be shaped into torpedo rolls and brushed with EVOO and fresh garlic, herbed, spiced, cooked on a stone on a grill…
So many options here. I suggest practicing a couple times with this recipe then just running with it.
1½ teaspoons Sea Salt
3 tablespoons Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar
2 teaspoons Instant Yeast
1 large Egg (vegan substitute 1 tbsp Ground Flax pre-mixed with 3 tbsp water)
¼ cup Virgin Coconut Oil or Organic Butter
1½ cups Buttermilk (I substitute with Almond Milk, using a ratio of 1 cup Almond Milk pre-mixed with 1 tbsp [Apple Cider] vinegar)
1 Egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water until frothy, for egg wash (optional). May also be brushed with a touch of honey, agave or maple.
Sesame Seeds or Poppy Seeds, for garnish (optional)
Mix together the flour, salt, buttermilk/almond milk substitute, sugar, and yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer).
Pour in the egg, coconut oil/butter, and 1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon water and mix with a large metal spoon (or on low speed of the electric mixer with the paddle attachment) until all the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a ball. If the dough seems very stiff and dry, trickle in more water until the dough is soft and supple. (Note: if modifying with Whole Wheat Bread Flour, additional water may be needed; add by the tablespoon to yield desired consistency.)
Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mix on low speed with the dough hook[see manufacturer’s instructions}), adding more flour, if necessary, to create a dough that is soft, supple, and tacky but not sticky. Continue kneading (or mixing) for 6 to 8 minutes. (In the electric mixer, the dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick ever so slightly to the bottom.)
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Ferment at room temperature for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size (the length of time will depend on the room temperature).
Remove the fermented dough from the bowl and divide it in half for sandwich loaves, into eighteen 2-ounce pieces for dinner rolls, or twelve 3-ounce pieces for burger or hot dog buns. Shape the pieces into boules (round balls) for loaves or tight rounds for dinner rolls or buns. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
Lightly oil 2 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pans and place loaves in the pans.
For rolls and buns, line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment (rolls may also be arranged in 2 cake pans). Rolls require no further shaping. For hamburger buns, gently press down on the rolls to form the desired shape. For hot dog buns, gently roll into your elongated bun shape being mindful not to taper at the ends. Transfer rolls or buns to pans.
Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof the dough at room temperature for 60-90 minutes, or until it nearly doubles in size.
Preheat the oven to 350°F for loaves or 400°F for rolls and buns. Brush the rolls with optional egg wash. And garnish with seeds, if desired. Sandwich loaves may be brushed with egg wash and garnished or score them down the center and rub a little oil on the slit.
Bake the rolls and buns on the middle rack for approximately 13-15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and register just above 180°F in the center. Bake loaves on the middle rack 35-45 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through for even baking, if needed. The tops should be golden brown and the sides, when removed from the pan, should also be golden. The internal temperature of the loaves should be close to 190°F and the loaves should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.
When the loaves have finished baking, remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing or serving. Rolls should cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before serving.