FOOD

No knead for it to be difficult

By Pascale Perez-Rubin

IN contrast to the popular belief that yeast dough is very difficult and complicated to work with, the exact opposite is true.

The fact that I make yeast pastries every weekend, whether they be challa or cake, bread rolls or other pastries, serves as proof.

Yeast dough is easy to prepare and perfect for manual kneading, although I have to admit that I prefer to prepare it in an electric mixer with a kneading hook.

From this I learned that different processing speeds are required when using the electric mixer, in order to best imitate kneading the dough by hand.

Of course, from the outset you can prepare the dough with manual kneading, without an electric mixer or food processor.

Yeast dough must rest or, rather, it must be given time and the ideal conditions in order to double in size. One of those conditions is warmth.

If you are short on time, you can definitely let the dough rest in the refrigerator and work with it the next day.

I have picked yeast recipes that are quick to make, and all share a similar technique of preparation and an intriguing design.

The three sweet pastries start, of course, with soft and airy yeast dough, which is divided into small and medium-sized balls.

The magic happens when baking them, as the dough balls expand and connect.

Sweet buns should never be cut with a knife. They are served in the centre of the table and the guests pull them off one by one.


Stuffed Buns

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 500g flour
  • 25g yeast
  • 100g sugar
  • 3 tbsp oil or butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 170ml water or milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or orange/lemon peel)

For the filling:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 50g white almond slivers
  • 50g small, light raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp mixed/apricot jam

For dipping:

  • 50g melted butter

For brushing:

  • 1 egg, beaten, with a little water

For syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

METHOD

Place the flour in a bowl, sprinkle it with yeast and sugar, mix lightly. Add the oil, eggs, water, salt and vanilla, and mix. Cover the dough and place it in a warm location for about an hour, until it doubles in volume.

Filling: Heat the oil in a pan and add the sugar. After about a minute, add the almonds, raisins and cinnamon. Melt the sugar until golden brown.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down. Divide the mixture into two bowls and add the jam to one of them. The mixture in the other one is kept for sprinkling over the finished pastries.

Syrup: Place all the ingredients in a pan and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to get the right consistency. Let it cool down.

Rolls: Grease the baking tray well, divide the dough into pieces that are approximately 3 to 4cm in diameter. Make a hole in the centre, put in a teaspoon of the filling and close. Brush the filled balls with the melted butter.

Place a ball in the middle of the baking tray and arrange the others around it. Cover the dough and allow it to rise further in a warm place for about 25 minutes.

Brush the dough balls with the egg mixture and sprinkle them with the remaining almonds and raisins.

Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and dry. Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool slightly. Pour the syrup over the pastry while it is still slightly warm.


Flat Rolls

Ingredients

  • 25g fresh yeast
  • cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • A little regular flour
  • kg yeast flour
  • cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 bag vanilla sugar
  • 1-1 cups of water
  • 100g butter/softened margarine cut into medium-sized cubes
  • -1 tsp turmeric or 2 tbsp instant Vanilla pudding powder
  • tsp salt
  • 100g of light raisins

For dipping:

  • 50g butter or melted butter

For brushing:

  • 1 egg, beaten, with a little water or oil
  • cup sesame seeds

Syrup for brushing:

  • cup sugar
  • cup water
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

METHOD

Dissolve the yeast in sugar and water in a medium-sized dish and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Place the flour in a bowl, create a hole in the middle and place the remaining sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla sugar and the yeast in it. Mix gradually, adding the water, butter, turmeric, salt and raisins, until it is soft and flexible.

Cover the bowl with a damp towel and put it in a warm place for about an hour and a half, until the dough has doubled its volume.

Grease a rectangular pan.

Divide the dough into small pieces of about 3-4cm, roll them into balls and place them on the baking tray next to each other. Brush the dough with a little bit of melted butter.

Brush the rolls in the baking tray with egg and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Let the dough rise again in a warm place for about half an hour. Bake it in the preheated oven at medium heat, 180F, for 20-25 minutes.

To make the syrup, cook all the ingredients in a pan and reduce it to the right consistency. When the rolls are baked, brush them with the syrup.


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