By the time you start baking buns / breads at home, you have reached a certain milestone in your culinary journey. You'd have started off the journey with chai and egg omlette, slowly moved onto making thorans, stir fries..then onto to fish, chicken..and so on.
I remember I used to like cooking even during school days, but my grandmom wouldn't allow me inside the kitchen for a long time. So my kitchen experience those days were limited to grating coconut, stirring in between, and tasting meat & fish dishes during lent / advent days. Sooner I became happy with this limited kitchen contact...until I reached Bangalore for my first job. I was staying there as a paying guest. Initial few days went by, where I enjoyed breakfast and lunch from office canteen and dinner from nearby restaurants. Soon the kannadiga food began to be boring for me, and I craved for some Kerala dishes. There started my culinary journey, with just one small cooker, one pot/kadai, one plate and couple of spoons. Since it was a kitchen shared with many inmates, my experiments were limited to vegetarian side dishes along with Kerala motta rice (I specifically bought the cooker for that). Even after I got married and settled in Dubai, vegetarian dishes were my forte, except for the occasional pressure cooker biriyani. I can safely say that it was after my son was born (6 years back) that I really started liking cooking / baking. I had a wonderful maid then, who was an excellent cook, and from her I learnt quite a few tricks and tips of cooking. I still remember that I wanted to bake the birthday cake for my son's first birthday, and one whole night I spent trying to do the icing. It was a flop, and my husband had to run on the eleventh hour to get a birthday cake. From then on, many experiments and flops later, here I am, presenting before you the super soft, delicious buns.
Ingredients - for buns
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups
Whole wheat atta - 1 1/2 cups (I used Ashirvad atta)
Instant yeast - 1 1/2 tbsp
Milk - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Salt - 2 tsp
Olive oil - 6 tbsp
For topping / milkwash
Milk - 2 tbsp
White sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
Warm the milk until its lukewarm. Dissolve the sugar in it.
Sprinkle the yeast over milk and keep it aside, undisturbed. It will take around 10 - 15 min for the yeast to get frothy. Wait till its really frothy, the softness of your bun depends on this and on the quality of your yeast.
Measure and add both the flours to the food processor bowl. Attach dough hook to the food processor.
Mix in the salt and olive oil.
Turn on the food processor and knead in medium speed.
Add the yeast mixture, keep kneading, approx for a minute.
Add 1/4 cup water, knead for couple of minutes more.
If you need more water add rest of the water. You should aim to get a smooth, non-sticky dough.
Keep adding water (I had to add around 3 tbsp more water) until you get the right dough consistency. Knead at high speed for about 5 minutes.
Cover the bowl containing dough with a clean cloth or cling film.
Let it rest for about 1 hr, for the dough to rise and double in size.
Once doubled, punch down the dough and make small balls out of it. Keep them neatly arranged on a baking tray. After 10 minutes, they would slightly risen.
Take each ball, flatten them a bit, place the filling of your choice, close the dough and roll on your palm to get a round shape without any creases.
Place them on the baking tray, cover with a cloth / cling film and wait for another 45 min.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Dip a pastry brush in milk and and brush over the buns. Sprinkle some sesame seeds
Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 30 min or until the top of the bun has become brown and crusty. In my cooking range, it took me less than 25 minutes for the perfectly baked buns.
The filling could be anything - chicken, beef, fish or vegetable masala. I chose vegetable filling as I didnt have meat or fish with me. Below is a quick recipe of the same.
Potato - 1 medium
Carrot - 1 medium
Beans - 4
Big onion - 1 small, finely chopped
Green chilly - 1, chopped
Garlic - 1 clove, finely chopped
Boil the veggies. In a kadai, add 1 tbsp oil and saute the onion, chilly and garlic. When they are translucent, add the boiled veggies and gently combine. Sprinkle salt and pepper as per your taste. Switch off the stove when the mixture is somewhat dry.