No food history today. I'm excited to introduce a special guest post from one of my favorite food bloggers, and I know he is one of your favorites too. Peter from http://thekitchennoob.blogspot.com/ is a great cook. I have been a fan of Peter since I found his blog. Peter's blog is worth checking out. Now I hand my blog over to Peter.
I'm thrilled to be doing a guest post for Christine's Pantry! Of course, I wanted to present something special, and with the holidays coming up there are plenty of great dishes to choose from.
It's amazing to me, looking back, that what I remember most fondly about the holidays during my childhood is not the toys and presents, which at the time were at the top of the priority list, but the food and family gatherings. As the cook/chef in the house and as a father, I want my daughter to have similar fond memories, not of plastic toys, but of family fun and especially the food.
This will be my third year including these Lithuanian Bacon Buns as part of a new family holiday tradition. My dad's side is mostly Lithuanian, and my wife's mom's side also had a substantial Lithuanian heritage as well. Maybe that's why we like these so much, it's inherent.
We start off with a pound of bacon and a large onion, both chopped, in a heavy skillet and barely covered with water. At medium heat, boil off the water until you have a rich, brown filling.
We roll out the dough after 2 risings and cut out circles that will be our buns.
I still have yet to master the rolling technique. As seen in the picture of the finished bun my bacon filling always ends up off-center. I think I need to do more pinching and less rolling. We let these buns rise again for another hour before baking them for a quick 20 minutes. Then they're finally ready!
These buns are a savory treat, and everyone who has ever sampled them has absolutely loved them. I especially make sure to send a small batch over to my neighbor every time I make them. It's sort of a nice Thanksgiving gift too.
Thanks for reading everybody, and thank you Christine for inviting me over for a guest post! I hope you all enjoy and have wonderful holidays coming up.
This recipe is from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. It makes about 3 dozen or so buns.
1 lb. Bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 C milk
½ cup butter
2 eggs, lightly stirred
4 C bread or AP flour, approximately
1 package dry yeast (about 1 Tbs if you buy in bulk like me)
1 tsp salt
¼ C sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten, mixed with 1 tsp milk (for egg wash)
- Place chopped bacon and onion in heavy skillet; barely cover the mixture with water. Place skillet over medium heat and boil off the water. In about an hour, the water will be gone and the mixture will have cooked into a rich brown filling. It will crackle and pop to announce it's done. Remove from heat. Drain the grease through a sieve and allow it to drop while it cools. When cool, chop again or run through a food processor to ensure the mixture is fine.
- In a small saucepan heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted. Don't scald. Remove from heat and add eggs when milk has cooled a little.
- Combine yeast, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Slowly pour the milk/egg mixture into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients to make a batter. Begin adding flour ¼ cup at a time until it forms a rough mass that can be lifted from the bowl. Switch to the dough hook and continue adding flour until the dough under the hook cleans the sides and forms a ball around the hook. See note below
- Knead the dough by hand or by mixer for about 10 minutes
- Place dough in greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until it doubles in size, about 45minutes.
- Punch down dough, gently, cover bowl again and let it double in size again, about 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from bowl and knead a little to press out bubbles. Roll out the dough until it's about ½” thick. Cut out circles with a 2 ¼” cutter placing the circles aside as you cut them. Repeat process until all of the dough has been used.
- With you palm flatten the circles and spoon about a teaspoon of the cooled bacon mixture in the center of each circle of dough. Draw the sides of each circle up and over the bacon. Tightly pinch the seam together, and place each bun, seam side down, on a baking sheet.
- Cover the buns with wax paper or parchment and allow to double in size, about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375, let the oven preheat for about 20 minutes.
- Brush the buns with the egg wash.
- Place the buns in the oven on the middle or bottom shelf. Baking takes about 20 minutes for glossy brown buns. Buns can be served warm out of the oven or frozen and reheated for later.
Note: I typically add flour until the dough no longer sticks to my hand if I touch it. You should be able to smack the dough with the palm of your hand, and while it may feel wet, it shouldn't stick to your hand when you pull it away.