5.29.2012

a success story about buns

we have been in the process of transitioning our food preparation and consumption into more of a traditional diet for the past year (i will have to save that for another post), and one of the things i'm learning is how to work with soaked grains for baking.

side note: i have learned that it's not enough to switch from refined carbohydrates and sugars.  if it's not prepared properly, consuming whole grains doesn't really do your body any good (don't ask about breakfast cereal).  even though whole grains have all the good for you nutrients, it also contains phytic acid (so do legumes, by the way) and other anti-nutrients.  if not neutralized, phytic acid actually blocks the absorption of those vital nutrients found in whole grains.  unprepared whole grains are also more difficult for your body to digest.  soaking will also break down the complex starches and difficult to digest protein (like gluten) so that your body can digest it better.  soaking is just one way to neutralize phytic acid in grains and make them more digestible.   you can also ferment (sourdough) or sprout but i haven't gotten that far yet.

ok, back to the success story.

i made homemade buns last week using a recipe i've used many times before.  except i decided to soak the flour first.  well...it was a major FAIL.  i was so sad to have to toss it all.

that was my first attempt at soaking flour for use in bread.

yesterday we had burgers on the grill and i decided to try again at making homemade buns using soaked flour.  this time i got smart and googled for a recipe to try since i'm still quite a novice when it comes to working with soaked flour.

of course i found one within minutes!  this recipe was simple to follow and prepare...very good for beginner soakers like me.  the down side is that it still calls for white flour and uses instant yeast (i'm not sure yet how using instant yeast affects the integrity of the soaked flour/nutritional value...must do more research on it), but it served its purpose until i'm ready to experiment with something more.


homemade soaked hamburger buns from heavenly homesteading  
yields 8 hamburger buns

soaking/the day before baking

ingredients:

1 cup water
1 Tbs. of water kefir, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (i used raw apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup or 4 Tbs. of coconut oil (mine was in liquid form since i made this on a hot day, but the site says you can cut the oil into the flour before adding the water and acidic medium.)
2 cups whole wheat flour

combine the 4 ingredients until all the flour is moistened in a ceramic or glass bowl.  cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and place in a warm place and let sit 12-24 hours.

baking day

ingredients:
1 egg
1 cup unbleached white flour (preferably organic)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. whole cane sugar (i used rapadura, but i'm sure honey would be good too)
3 tsp. SAF instant yeast (i didn't have any of that so i used the active dry yeast i had on hand)
your pre-soaked flour mixture

add the ingredients to the pre-soaked flour mixture and knead until all ingredients are incorporated and dough is smooth.  i ended up having to add a bit more than 1 cup of white flour since the dough was still quite sticky.  the dough should be smooth and elastic (tacky but not sticky) once you're done kneading.

lightly dust with flour a rectangular pizza/baking stone (if you don't have a pizza stone, i think a baking sheet covered with parchment paper should work too).  place dough on floured surface or counter top and divide into 8 equal pieces. i left the divided dough in the bowl, working with 1 half piece at a time, because i'm lazy and didn't want to clean up a flour covered counter.  roll each piece in a ball and flatten a bit.  place the pieces on the baking stone.  lightly dust top with flour and cover with a towel.  place in a warm place until it doubles in size (about 2 hours).

preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.  bake buns for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  once done, cool buns on rack.  you can brush a little melted butter on top of each bun.  slice horizontally and stick a burger in between 'em.

these buns turned out so well that i don't think i'll go back to my stand-by recipe until i've figured out how to adjust the ingredients for soaking.  they are quite soft, though more dense compared to grocery store hamburger buns.  they didn't turn out so crumbly like the buns i used to make, and they were still soft the next day (usually my homemade bread and hamburger buns get stale much faster since there's no preservatives or dough conditioners).  i am very happy with the results!

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