This is the first recipe I try from the bread bible for Italian home cooks “Pane e roba dolce”. The book was written by the Simili sisters. Baking twins who made bread history in central Italy, first by owning a popular bakery, then with a cooking school and lastly with this book that (I reckon) is the most quoted by Italian home bakers.
My daughter does not yet share my passion for crusty bread, so I felt like I had to do something kid-friendly. These buns do not contain butter (only first quality olive oil) and have just a little sugar (in my case unrefined organic) added.
You need: 1 kg (about 9 cups) bread flour; 60 gr (2.2 oz) fresh yeast, 150 gr (about 10 table-spoon) olive oil, 80 gr (1/3 cup) sugar, 500 gr (2.1 cups) water, 15 gr (1 table-spoon) salt.
How to: melt the yeast in 1/5th of the water, luke-warm. Mix the flour with the remaining ingredients and at last add the yeast mixture. Knead 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a machine (using the lowest speed not to over-heat the dough). When the dough is elastic and not sticky, divide into two balls and let rest, covered, for 50 minutes. Make into 2 cylinders without pressing or working the dough (you have to keep all the gasses in). Divide each cylinder in about 10 parts and shape into buns. Do as described here. Place the buns over 2 oven trays covered with parchment. Let rest covered for about 1 hour (they have to double their size). Pre-heat the oven to 210 degrees (Celsius, 410 Fahrenheit). Brush the buns with milk or egg yolk and bake for 8 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 180 degrees (Celsius, 356 Fahrenheit) and bake for further 10 minutes. Check for doneness by actually opening a bun and let cook more if needed.
CONSIDERATIONS: the buns were a total hit in my household. Before the end of the day 2/3 of them were already gone. Part was stolen by a couple of friends (to whom I was planning to offer only 1 bun each), 3 were my daughter’s dinner (she refused to eat her food after seeing the buns) and a few more were part of our dinner: they were in fact great as hamburgers’ buns and made a last-minute dinner into something special. Try them, you won’t be disappointed.