Savoury Bacon and Onion Buns
Bread buns with a savory filling of bacon and onion. One of those family favorites that goes way-back. Light to eat, slightly savory to the tongue, quick to prepare and nice to look at. The original version uses onions, bacon and herbs, but the possibilities for variation are endless.
25g fresh yeast in a cake, or 20ml/4 teaspoons of powdered yeast.
100ml milk and a further 275ml milk
7,5ml sugar and a further 40ml sugar
500g flour – white produces a light bun, but wholewheat is fine
125g melted butter or 130ml olive oil.
In a small pan, over a low heat, warm 100ml milk – just less than half a cup; and 7,5ml of sugar / 3 level teaspoons.
Heat the milk till it is lukewarm = if you dip your little finger in, it should just feel normal, not hot in the slightest.
*You’re the one who is going to eat the buns, so why shouldn’t you dip your finger in the milk . .
Stir to dissolve the sugar in the milk – use a small wooden spoon or dessert spoon
Crumble the yeast cake into a bowl – size about as in the foto – and pour the milk/sugar mixture over the yeast. Stir until the yeast has dissolved.
Pour the milk/sugar mixture into a bowl and sprinkle the powdered yeast onto the surface. Give it a quick stir and leave it until it is frothy, about 10 mins. It smells fabuloso ! !
Measure 500g of flour into a large mixing bowl. White bread flour produces a lovely light bread, and the recipe works equally well with wholewheat flour.
Mix together 275ml milk, 40ml sugar, and 10ml salt. Add either 125g melted butter or 130ml olive oil. Heat to lukewarm.
Olive oil gives a definite taste and is great for savoury suppers, especially with the wholewheat version.
Make a well in the centre of the flour. Using a dough hook or a wooden spoon, mix in the frothy yeast liquid, then add the lukewarm milk mixture.
You will probably find the dough at this stage to be fairly liquid, almost like a batter. A lot depends on the flour you have used. No problem.
Add extra flour a little at a time until you find a working consistency where the dough does not stick to your hands. Or camera.
Using the wooden spoon, beat the dough vigorously for a few minutes. When your arm tells you ’Enough!’, then start to use your hands to form the dough.
Knead lightly for a few more minutes until the dough reaches a smooth consistency.
Shape the dough into a round ball, dust it lightly with flour, and place in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a cotton cloth, and leave the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, around an hour and a half.
While that is rising, prepare the filling.
Chop 2 large onions very finely. Fry gently in butter or olive oil until they are golden. Add 250g finely chopped bacon and a generous sprinkling of whatever herbs you like from Scarborough Fair.
* OK, not everyone is into Simon and Garfunkel . . Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme . .
This is the basic filling, but the possible variations are multiple. Leave out the bacon - add some finely chopped garlic - use whatever herbs are in season. It’s up to you.
Leave the filling to cool.
Prepare the baking sheet by oiling it and dusting it with flour.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down gently.
Break off in sections about the size of a head of garlic.
Work these briefly to flatten them into a disc.
Place a teaspoon of filling on the disc and close it up into a ball.
The dough may get a bit sticky again because of the oil in the filling. Again, no problem, just work as quickly as possible.
Place the filled buns on the baking sheet with the closure side downwards and with spaces between the buns.
*They will rise to fill the gaps, then while they are baking they will join lightly at the seams.
Cover them with a cotton cloth and leave them to rise for 15 minutes.
Turn the oven on to heat to 230°
When the buns have risen, brush lightly with beaten egg and place the baking sheet around the middle of the oven.After 5 minutes, reduce the heat to 200° and bake for another 15 minutes.
The recommended way to test if these are done is to break off the bun in the corner closest to you, and sample it!
*The bread recipes always say your bread is done when it ’sounds hollow when tapped underneath’ - but how are you supposed to discover that without taking it out and upending it from the baking tin.?’ And what if it’s not done? are you supposed to put it back again?
My method means that you get cook’s privilege – first taste!