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
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
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.
For the dough:
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 180°C 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.
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,
180°F, 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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