We all love buns in our house and I bake them as often as I can. When Priya chose Buns as the theme for this month’s Home Baking Challenge, I was really excited. Buns make as a perfect after school snack or as a dinner accompaniment with soup or salad. When I saw this recipe for savory buns, it reminded me of my days as a kid in India, when I used to relish all the freshly bakes buns and pastries from local bakeries.
I always loved breads and buns and still do and terribly miss the Indian flavors in the bakes here. I have personally not tasted the Bangalore Iyengar bakery’s savory buns, but knew that with onions and green chilies, this cannot go wrong. My older son loves all the Indian flavored bakes and I made this as his evening snack. He loved it with a big dab of butter stuffed inside the bun. My little one also ate half of the bun and said that he really liked the soft crust.
Preparation time – 15 minutes plus 3 hours of inactive time
Cooking time – 15 minutes plus 25 minutes of baking
Difficulty level – easy
Ingredients – Makes 8 buns
- All purpose flour – 1 ½ cups plus ½ cup plus more for dusting
- Active dry yeast – 1 ½ tsp
- Sugar – 1 ½ tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Milk – ¼ cup
- Water – ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp (if needed)
- Butter – 2 tbsp plus a little for brushing the buns
For the onion mixture –
- Onion – ¾ cup (finely chopped)
- Green chilies – 3 or 4 (finely chopped)
- Cilantro – a big handful (finely chopped)
- Oil – 2 tsp
- Salt – as needed
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Prepare the Onion mixture –
- In a pan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. When the seeds crackle, add the chopped onions along with green chilies and salt and fry it until the onions are translucent and well cooked.
- Now add the chopped cilantro, give it a good mix and turn off the flame. Let the mixture cool down a bit.
To make the dough –
- Heat the milk and water together until warm and then add the sugar and yeast to the mixture. Make sure that the milk/water is just warm to proof the yeast.
- Mix well and keep it aside for about 10 minutes. You will notice that the mixture froths up really well. This is now ready to use. If the mixture does not froth up, then the yeast is inactive and you have to use a different batch of yeast.
- Melt the butter and let it cool down to room temperature.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of the stand mixer, add the flour and salt and give it a mix. Add the melted butter and the proofed yeast and start mixing. Knead it into stiff dough. Make sure that the dough is pretty stiff as it would liquefy a bit when adding the onions. Knead the dough for about 7-8 minutes.
- Now take it to the work surface and pat it out into a rough rectangle. Place the onion mixture in the rectangle and fold it up well. Now start kneading the dough again. I placed my dough back in the mixer and kneaded it using the mixer. The dough loosened up quite a bit and I needed to add about ½ cup of flour to bring it to the right consistency. Placing the onions inside the dough ensures even mixing.
- Once the dough is kneaded well, place it in a greased bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap. Let it rise in a draft free place for 1 -1 ½ hours or until doubled in volume.
Shaping the Buns
- Once the dough has doubled, punch it down gently and divide it into 8 equal parts. I weighted my dough portions to approximately 80 gms each.
- Make a tight taut ball from each portion and place it a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen cloth and let it rise again for about 45 minutes to an hour or until doubled.
Baking the buns –
- Preheat the oven to 425 F during the last 10 minutes of the rise time.
- Brush the top of the dough with milk.
- Once the oven has preheated, turn the temperature down to 350 F and place baking sheet into the oven.
- Bake it for 20 – 30 minutes or until the buns are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. It took me 27 minutes to bake.
- As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush the top with some melted butter to keep the crust soft.