Saturday, August 30, 2014

because... well, why not?

Vegan Potato Whole wheat Hot dog buns!
 We love hotdogs as a treat in this house, but not so much the fluffy buns which  usually have milk and high fructose corn syrup. The sturdier potato buns are more expensive, and some have egg. So I took on the challenge this holiday weekend of substantial-but-soft, flavorful allergy-friendly hot dog buns. This is an amalgamation of a few recipes -- RLB's potato buns (a shaping variation on the Potato Flatbread Pizza in the Bread Bible), this one, and my own sourdough sandwich bread. Potato buns have been on my list of to-try since yeast loves the starch, and they supposedly add a nice moist, tender quality. Sourdough for flavor and better keeping qualities -- I used/fed mine two days before and left it out, so it's not at peak rising power, but still within a good time frame.
First, potato water, yeast, mashed potatoes and some whole wheat flour, then the starter. After a 30-minute rise, more flour, salt, and sweetener and a bit of fat for tenderness. After about 45 minutes' rise (it was hot today), the dough looks promising!

Knocked down then scaled into 75 g each and rounded... the dough is a bit sticky but I didn't want to add too much flour so the pre-shape is on a nonstick mat.

Once they are benched, I just shaped like you would a (tiny!) batard... about 1 x 6 inches. I spaced them so the sides would touch. (I used a nonstick mat and perforated sheetpan, but parchment would probably work fine.) Covered, risen about 25-30 minutes, then baked. No wash or steam, because we want them soft. They took about 20 minutes at 375 to get nicely colored on both top and bottom. They were a good color and internal temp but seemed a bit wet or heavy still,  so I turned off the oven and let them dry out a bit before removing to a rack to cool.

Perfect for lunch the next day! Lightly toasted,  they hold up well to loading up with condiments. Happy nomming!

This quantity makes 21 normal-sized buns, approximately 2  x 6 1/2 inches -- it's a good-sized batch for a KitchenAid mixer, and this type of bread freezes well anyway.
 You'll need 1 large baking potato, about 250 g/half pound before cooking; I just poked it all over with a knife, covered with water and boiled in the skin until the knife went through easily, and let cool until I could handle it. Peel and mash (with a little energetic help from a 6-year-old), saving the warm cooking liquid.

Potato sponge: Measure 227 g./1 cup of the potato water and sprinkle with 15 g. dry yeast. Let sit until it sinks, then whisk in. Measure 240 g/1 generous cup of cooked potato into a mixer bowl and paddle it until free of lumps. Add yeast water and 200 g/1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour, mix until smooth. Add 365 g/1 1/2 cups liquid (50/50) starter, mix until smooth again. Remove the paddle, cover and let rise until puffy and light. (I just leave it in the mixer and cover the whole thing with a towel.) 

Completing the dough: Mix together 350 g/3 cups unbleached AP flour, 50 g/1/3 cup ww flour, 15 g/2 1/4 tsp. sea salt, 50 g/1/4 cup raw sugar. Add to the bowl together with 60 g/1/4 cup chilled coconut oil or kosher margarine (you can use another oil, but the dough will be softer); if you want to use a liquid sweetener like agave or honey, add it with the oil. Mix with the hook until the dough is very smooth and elastic, a good 5-7 minutes. It will pull up from the sides; if it doesn't, add a handful more AP flour. 

Push down with a scraper and turn the dough out onto the counter. Fold and knead a few times to combine and distribute the moisture evenly, then lightly spray or grease the mixer bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let rise, then follow above!
(I fit 17 on a half-sheet pan, and 4 on another pan, with them completely touching once risen and fused together but easily separated once cooled. If you want them with more defined sides, better off doing 10 or 11 on each of two pans.)

This batch is enough for 4-5 more meals for us! Yay stocking up. To try next: cut back on yeast and use peak sourdough, equal parts Yukon gold and sweet potatoes, some besan flour for extra nutrition, and sesame oil/mustard; then perhaps a gluten-free version.