I made that!

The Hottest Buns in Town

Posted in All Things Pork, I Like Salt Too, Playing With Yeast by brandi on July 5, 2010

Whew. My first 4th of July in Seattle and wow, it was fun. Old friends in town, new friends coming over, lots of food and fireworks and slap scrabble. It was our first party in a Seattle and I’m so glad we did it. But WHEW! There was cooking going on in my tiny kitchen, SO much cooking. Four pies were baked: cherry almond, black raspberry (I didn’t even know such a thing existed until this week!), strawberry rhubarb custard and blueberry lattice. A gigantic cabbage salad with a peanut dressing. More baked beans than I think anyone wants to see in one place. And pulled pork sandwiches. I wanted pulled pork sandwiches badly. Having never made them, I turned to the Lee Bros. for their recipe. Did I mention that we’re talking about 13 lbs. of pork?

It was an intimidating amount of meat. And while the flavor was fantastic (think tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, cane syrup), I have to fault the Lee Bros. for tricking me into thinking that pork shoulder would get as meltingly tender as I wanted in the amount of time they claimed. I now know that pulled pork wants at least 8 hours if you’re on the low-oven-roasting path. It was a close one and I have Sam and Brandon to thank for pulling a delicious dish out of the mess I started, because by the time we realized that the pork needed several more hours of roasting to liquify all that fat, we had already eaten all of the salads, sides and pies in the house. Not to mention the copious amounts of wine I had befriended by then. Thank God for chef friends who are more than competent at drunken cooking!

At some point John made a diagram about when to stop cooking the meat. It was a question of quality vs. time, measuring the increasing quality of the pork as it cooked and our changing expectations relating to our hunger levels. I swear it was genius at the time.

By now you’re maybe thinking “Gee Brandi, your last 3 posts are about meat. What gives?” It’s true, we’ve been awfully carnivorous this month. Which is why I will now turn my attention to the real reason I’m here talking about a pulled pork dish that I can’t even begin to explain how it came to be. My point? The bun. I will admit that when I mentioned to some people that I wanted to make my own buns, there was some skepticism. It was too much work, they said. There are perfectly good buns out there that somebody else made. But I just didn’t buy it. I mean, EVERYONE has a pulled pork recipe up their sleeve (well, except me apparently), but when a girl really wants to take it to the next level, then it’s the bun that gets people’s attention. So I made them anyways. Even though with 4 pies (3 requiring pre-baked crusts), an ungodly amount of beans, and half a day’s worth of pork, we were totally out of oven space.

And you know what people talked about the most at the BBQ? Those sexy little buns of mine.

There were lots of them, rising all over the house.

They were glazed with egg and sprinkled with seeds.

And then baked until they were puffed and golden.

I don’t care how much effort they were (not THAT much really), I’m never buying a bun from the store again.

And just so no one thinks I’ve stopped caring about dessert, here’s a blueberry lattice pie that was devoured in about 15 minutes flat.

LIGHT BRIOCHE BUNS RECIPE (adapted from Comme Ça restaurant, printed in the New York Times):

3 TBSP warm milk

2 tsp active dry yeast

2 1/2 TBSP sugar

2 large eggs

3 cups bread flour

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 TBSP unsalted butter, softened

Sesame or poppy seeds (optional)

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a large spoon, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. You can either transfer the dough to a clean surface for this or knead it right in the bowl. It’s a touch sticky, but resist the urge to add more flour.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in the fridge. This long proofing time will make a nicer flavor and also make it easier to shape while cold.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours, until they almost double in size.

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. If desired, sprinkle with seeds. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 17-18 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.


17 Responses

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  1. Molly said, on July 5, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I LOVE THOSE BUNS! Brandi, you are the greatest.

  2. Chanteuse Designs said, on July 6, 2010 at 9:39 am

    What a great story……loved it. Can’t wait to try the buns but your pie also looks amazing!
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Eric said, on July 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Great post. what was your BBQ pulled-pork recipe??

    • brandi said, on July 11, 2010 at 8:00 pm

      I used the recipe from “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners”.

  4. Amber - Loves Food, Loves to Eat said, on July 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Is it weird for a complete stranger to say “I want your buns!”!?!? Because I do… these look fantastic… especially overflowing with pulled pork!

  5. Rebekah said, on July 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    These look lovely! How long did you let the dough proof in the refridgerator?

    • brandi said, on July 11, 2010 at 7:58 pm

      Thank you! I let the dough proof in the fridge for about 24 hours.

  6. Caroline said, on July 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    These look perfect! I’ve been dying to try making my own buns since I’m never satisfied with store-bought ones. This might be exactly what I’m looking for 🙂

  7. baobabs said, on July 13, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    looks amazing!!

  8. Petalbelles said, on July 31, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I love your diagram! I never thought about making my own buns but they make adorable little pull pork sliders.

  9. Parker House Rolls « I made that! said, on November 29, 2010 at 9:06 am

    […] Oh Thanksgiving. What a fantastic day. A day fully devoted to food. And in my world, slippers and board games. I’ll admit that there were some culinary blah moments: leaky pie crust, not quite right brussels sprouts, a realization that even spending a lot of money on a locally raised heritage bird does not make turkey taste better than the side dishes. But there were some super happy moments: playing the train game, cauliflower caramelized in browned butter with pears and hazelnuts, and most important – parker house dinner rolls. Yes, just like July 4th […]

  10. Annie said, on March 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I’ve been looking for a good hamburger bun recipe. I mean, you can make a bun out of any bread recipe but still…

    Those pies look killer. And John’s diagram – priceless.

  11. Teresa said, on March 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Beautiful! I am very excited to try these! Question though: how long did you proof them in the fridge? The recipe doesn’t say…. 😦

    Thanks! These will be a huge hit at the next BBQ.

  12. Ray said, on March 16, 2012 at 5:13 am

    How long for step 3?

    Great stuff. I wanna make these dudes fer supper.

  13. carol said, on June 14, 2012 at 6:51 am

    how many buns do you get from one recipe? how big are the buns?

  14. That other cook... said, on December 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    love your blog!

  15. 15 Delicious Homemade Pie Recipes said, on January 11, 2014 at 8:16 am

    […] Recipe and Photo credit to lookimadethat.com […]

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