The secret of mouth-watering buns

We asked our product developer Lasse Lindström how to make a good bun dough and what are the biggest pitfalls for home bakers. Lasse also revealed his favourite buns of the moment.

Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked rolls and that satisfying first bite when butter has melted on a crisp, freshly baked roll. But how do you reach this mouth-watering result? Lasse Lindström, Product Developer at Helsinki Mills, answered the questions.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF FLOUR

For the best buns, use ready-made bun flour mixes. Bun flour mixes take into account that the dough will be baked into bun shapes, and they contain crumbly ingredients, giving the buns flavour and a nice mouthfeel.

- Helsinki Mills products include bun flour mixes for all tastes. With Helsinki Mills Rye Bread Mix you can make delicious rye bread. Traditional light buns can be made from wheat flour, while the coarser versions are made from a dark or light mix of flour. Oats are what we are great at, and Helsinki Mills Oat Bun Flour also makes great oat buns at home. For those who love seeds, the best option is Myllärin Organic Multigrain Bun Flour. I would venture to say that Helsinki Mills’ products offer an alternative to any recipe you can try at home. In addition, our new product Myllärin Fine-Grained Bun Flour pays tribute to our 90-year history by combining wheat, oats and rye," says Lasse.

Lasse Lindström
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SOLVE THE BAKING METHOD

After choosing the flour, the next step is to choose the baking method. The alternatives are traditional direct baking, where the dough is kneaded and left to rise in a warm place immediately after, and more recently, cold baking, where the dough is prepared in the evening for example, risen overnight in a cold place and baked into buns in the morning.

- The first step is to decide whether to make the buns using direct baking or cold baking. Both have their own twists and turns," says Lasse. 

- When direct baking, knead the dough for at least five, preferably 10 minutes. This creates gluten in the dough, which gives the rolls texture and a nice mouthfeel, and also makes it easier to bake the dough into buns. In direct baking, the dough can be divided directly into buns and then raised on a baking sheet before baking, says Lasse.

- In cold baking, you can leave the kneading to a minimum, but you have to take your time with the rising. That's why it often recommends making the dough the day before. The idea is that the dough rises overnight in the fridge. Yeast also works in the cold, but more slowly. During the rising process, the dough acquires flavour and fluffiness. 

REMEMBER SALT, GLUTEN & RISING

Rising is important, because without careful rising, the buns will rise out of control in the oven and easily tear.

The cold dough is not rolled into buns but can be tipped out of the rising pan onto a floured table, where you can then use a pastry cutter or a knife to cut the dough into pieces on a baking tray and bake it directly in the oven. This way, the buns will retain the crispness they gained overnight.

- When baking both ways, I prefer an oven with at least 200 degrees Celsius, where the buns cook quickly and get crispy on the surface, Lasse says.

A good roll dough has enough salt, enough chewiness from kneading and rising, and a nice brown, crispy colour from baking.

- A good little trick is to remember to press the buns lightly against the baking tray with floured fingers. This way, the buns rise straight up and the have a flat bottom," says Lasse. 

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GLUTEN FREE BAKING REQUIRES ITS OWN TRICKS

Helsinki Mills also offers plenty of options for gluten free baking. Lasse has tips for that too.

- Gluten free baking is a world of its own. It is a challenge to form the gluten, because gluten requires wheat. You see a lot of xanthan gum and psyllium in recipes. I prefer psyllium, which gives the buns structure. Don't be afraid of the name, because it's a natural product made from the seeds of the plantain plant," Lasse reminds us.

When choosing gluten free flour, it's worth remembering that flour mixes from different manufacturers may have similar names, but the list of ingredients may be quite different. Helsinki Mills products always have a working recipe on the side of the package, made for the flour mixture in question. 

- I recommend following a recipe when you are starting out. With experience, you can start thinking about whether you want to try baking buns or bread in different shapes or spicing up familiar dough with herbs or spice blends, for example," says Lasse. 

AVOID THE MOST COMMON BAKING MISTAKES

So where does baking of buns fall flat, if it is to fail?

- Probably the most classic mistake is a measuring mistake. So be careful when using volumetric measurements. Always read the whole recipe and all of the instructions before you start baking. This way, no step comes as a surprise. Rising is always influenced by the temperature of the dough and the air. So also remember to keep an eye on the buns. The recipe may advise you to let the buns rise for half an hour. However, if they have not risen sufficiently in that time, feel free to give them more time to do so. 

So, what are some of Lasse's favourite buns at the moment?

- My current personal favourite is Myllärin Fine-Grained Bun Flour. This makes it easy to cold-bake fresh buns in the morning. I also like to season this dough with different vegetables, such as spinach, carrots and beetroot," he explains.

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