If you’re looking to impress your guests with last-minute fresh bread, then these are bound to be your simplest go-to recipe. Make them with unbleached flour and they’re airy and light like clouds—ready in a couple of hours. Make them with whole wheat flour and you’ll have equally delicious buns with a touch more density. Make them with gluten-free flour blends and you’ll have a dense bun with more added texture. Each is a matter of preference and with its own great flavour. Jazz up any mixture with finely chopped fresh or dried herbs, garlic, and a dusting of Parmesan.
For up to a month longer storage, wrap in plastic and freeze.
Use an equal amount of gluten-free flour, if you wish. Buns will be denser and are best served the same day they are made.
In large bowl of electric stand mixer, add 2 cups (500 mL) flour, sugar, yeast, herbs (if using), and salt. Using paddle attachment, blend until mixed. Add hot water and continue to stir with paddle attachment until blended in. Add 1 whisked egg and oil, continuing to stir until fully blended. Dough will be very shaggy. Switch paddle attachment with dough hook and add remaining flour. Continue kneading dough with dough hook for 10 minutes. Dough will be quite soft and sticky.
Generously coat large bowl with oil and transfer dough to greased bowl. Tightly seal with greased plastic wrap. Set aside in warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
Punch dough down and transfer to lightly floured surface. Roll into long rope about 14 in (35 cm) long. Divide dough into 12 equal-sized pieces and shape each into a ball.
Lightly grease 9 x 13 in (23 x 33 cm) metal baking dish and evenly distribute balls in pan. Cover with greased plastic wrap and damp cloth and set aside in warm place to rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Lightly brush surface of buns with remaining whisked egg. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if using. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden on top and buns sound hollow when lightly tapped. Turn out onto rack to cool. Separate buns and serve warm with savoury soup.
This recipe is part of the New Breads collection.
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