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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baker's Corner: Homemade Potato Buns


If you have been following my blog, you will probably remember that I posted a recipe for Homemade Pizza Buns not too long ago. I was so high on the success of that baking venture, that I decided to carry it out again - this time with a different filling for the bun, the desire for a little more finesse in technique and not to mention, much better photography! 

Among the many fond childhood memories that I have, one of them was of getting back home from school with my mom and stopping by at the local bakery (Iyengar bakery) to pick up some freshly baked goodies to enjoy on the way home. Always being one to favor savory over sweet, I would invariably pick either a potato buns or an egg puff. Oh how I used to love those potato buns! The buns were soft and warm and the filling was a simple yet delicious combination of potatoes, onions, green chillies, ginger and herbs. At that point in time, I never imagined that I would try making them at home myself! 

So, here is my recipe for Potato Buns. The recipe for the bun is almost identical to what I had previously posted for Pizza Buns so I just did a copy-paste and then incorporated some minor revisions. The last time, in my baking frenzy I forgot to sprinkle the buns with sesame seeds....you can see that I didn't forget this time! I think it makes the buns look even more appetizing, don't you agree? If you need to see the step-by-step pictures, I suggest you go over to that post. The recipe for the potato filling is a very basic one. It is quite similar to the potato bhaji that I make for Masala Dosa. I wanted it to be as simple as possible because that is how I remember it from my childhood. 

I hope you try this recipe because it is a good one (if I do say so myself!). I took one leftover bun to my workplace for breakfast on a Monday morning and I swear my colleagues did not believe me when I said I had made them myself!




Preparation time: ~ 90 mins
Baking time: 20 mins
Recipe level: Intermediate
Makes: 8 large buns
Source: Various websites and blogs and a little bit of me :)

Ingredients:

For the buns:
3 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
1 large egg
1 envelope of active dry yeast or 11/2 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp white sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
1 egg white whisked - for brushing on top of the buns
Melted butter - for brushing on top of the buns

For the potato filling:
3-4 large potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
6-8 curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida/hing (Optional)
1 large red onion, sliced thinly
1 inch ginger, finely minced
3-5 green chillies (depending on your spice level), finely chopped
a pinch of turmeric powder
1 tsp lime juice
1 large bunch coriander leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
A few tsp vegetable oil/ghee

Method:

1. Heat the milk until lukewarm and dissolve 1 tsp of sugar. Add in the yeast (swirl the cup gently to dissolve) and keep closed for 10-15 min until frothy. This step is done to proof the yeast.
2. Take the flour is a large bowl. Add in the remaining sugar (3 tsp), salt and mix well. Make a dent in the middle, add the milk-yeast mixture, melted butter, a whisked egg, warm water and knead well (6-10 min) until you get a smooth, pliable dough. If the dough is too dry add in a few tsp of water or if it is sticky, add in more flour. Wrap the bowl with cling wrap or a tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.
3. While the dough is rising, boil the potatoes, peel the skin and coarsely mash. Keep aside for later. Heat oil/ghee in a skillet and add in the mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida. Fry till the urad dal turns golden brown and the curry leaves are crisp. Now add in the onions, chopped green chillies, minced ginger and fry till onions turn translucent. Add in a pinch of turmeric and then the boiled potatoes, salt to taste and lime juice. Turn off the heat. Garnish generously with chopped coriander leaves. Check the seasoning and keep aside to cool.
4. At the end of the hour, you will notice that the dough has doubled in volume. Punch the dough down and knead it again.
5. Shape the dough into a log and cut into 8 even pieces. Shape them into balls. You can weigh the dough balls if you are very particular about the uniformity in size.
6. Flatten the dough balls with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin and add a lime sized ball of the filling in the centre of it. Pinch the edges of the dough to cover the filling. Make sure there are no gaps. Reshape the dough ball with your hands into a ball.
7. Place a sheet of parchment paper/aluminium foil over a baking tray. Place the buns on it leaving some distance between them. Leave to raise for another 20 min. While this is going on, preheat the oven to 190 deg C. Brush the raised buns with the whisked egg white and sprinkle white sesame seeds over the surface. (Alternatively, you could brush the buns with milk and then sprinkle the sesame seeds on top).
8. Bake (on level 3 of the oven) for about 20 min until the buns turn golden brown. Once done, immediately brush them with melted butter.
9. Serve hot with chutney/sauce of your choice. 



Notes:
  • When you heat the milk, it should not not be scalding hot. When spooned over your wrist, it should feel warm.
  • If you are using active dry yeast, one envelope amounts to roughly 2 1/2 tsp. If you are using instant yeast, reduce the quantity i.e. use 11/2 tsp for this recipe.
  • Adding kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) to the bun dough may give it some added flavor and would compliment the potato filling. You can try it if you like!  
  • If you want more texture in the filling, you can add in other vegetables like carrots and peas. 
  • Don't thin out the dough ball too much when your filling it otherwise the filling can escape. Also make sure that the rolled out dough is of uniform thickness. 
  • Brushing the buns with milk before baking makes them softer and brushing them with egg whites, gives them a glossy surface.

10 comments:

  1. wow! yes, photos r really good :)

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  2. Wow, these look dangerous! I don't think I'd be able to stop at just one of these bad boys!

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  3. the photos are awesome, love the bokeh effect and presentation skills. The thickness of the bun is perfect too :) btw the link to your pizza bun in this post is incorrect (missing a 'l' in html). Nice to see the site hit count go up all the time :D

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  4. Thanks Rinks. Yeah the link was incorrect....have rectified it now....thanks for alerting me to it :)

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. Heya.. D-day it is! Am gonna try this out this evening. Will let you know how it comes. N thx again for the recipe! :-)

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  7. Despite some grave mistakes that I did (not worth mentioning here) it came out yumm!!! I experienced a rush of nostalgia in me, thinking of those good old mysore school days.. when I would stop over at an Iyengar bakery on Kalidasa road, after a long ride back from school.. only to relish the tasty Potato bun.. All thanks to you!

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  8. Hey Kunal...that's great! Don't worry about the grave mistakes...I made a few of my own when I tried to make buns for the first time! Practice makes perfect! I'm glad that you tried my recipe :)

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  9. Kunal was raving about these home made potato buns,,, Am gonna try them tomorrow... yipppppee

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