bread · Italian recipe

Flour Flower Power

This time I want to share with you a recipe of simple leavened buns, ‘white bread’ so to say – so no sourdough required, no two days of preparations etc etc. The recipe is said to be Neapolitan and is traditionally stuffed. It reminded me of our flower buns, which we used to buy sometimes when I was little. That was a real fun to tear the buns apart, especially if they had at least two different toppings (but more frequently poppy seeds was THE topping).

It’s spring in full swing here, with birds singing (I realised that was what was missing in Thessaloniki, although in Strasbourg there were lots of lovely singing birds around), children suddenly appearing in the streets (you don’t see them a lot during the cold times these days, my Mom always notices it, telling me that even during the naughty nineties she let us go and play in the yard, which seems to be not a habit of mothers any more… or simply all children are devoured by their computer mania?), drunken youth making all possible and impossible to ruin our sleep and of course fragile green leaves and first flowers here and there. It seems just yesterday I couldn’t believe the spring would ever come to these forgotten parts of the world!

Forgotten – for sure, cause it took our public bus 3 and a half hours to cover 23 km – we left at 9 and something and arrived at my lovely town at 1 a.m. =) But the whole bus – except for some deserters who apparently lived closer than the rest of us – took this ‘ride’ (we were actually NOT MOVING for the most of these hours, just trapped among trucks and other buses and cars) very stoically, reading their books, listening to music, writing SMS and watching movies on their players (I did all the things, including dancing to some golden hits of 50s and 60s in order to make sure my legs were still alive!). At the end of the journey we thanked our ticket controller for a very fast and entertaining ‘ride’=) I was lucky to get on a very calm and almost devoid of nervous and easily fainting people bus, hhaha.

Ok, so let’s celebrate spring now with a flour flower 😉

Danubiana or ‘Brioche al Pizzico‘ adapted from cindystarblog.blogspot.com will make a smart flower of buns with whatever you wish it to have inside =)

Ingredients

550 g strong flour + I added wheat bran and whole wheat flour and it seems I somehow used less flour this time!
250 g lukewarm milk – I combined hot water with milk
50 g extra virgin olive oil – I used sunflower oil and less
30 g sugar – I used less, but after reading an article on various dough enhancers, I added some ground cardamom =)
10 g salt
25 g yeast – fresh yeast, but I’m sure you can use dry active yeast in the appropriate amount
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg for brushing – you will not use the whole egg

{by chance, I forgot to top two of the buns}

The author also suggests the following fillings: for a savoury filling, Cindy suggests using any ham or salami or sausage and cheese, but also vegetables and leftovers of the fridge; for a sweet filling –  jam or marmalade, chocolate eggs, lightly sautéed and caramelized fruit. What I did was to put in each ball (future bun) various seeds or herbs, such as sunflower, pumpkin seeds, flax and golden flax seeds, poppy seeds, sesame, black sesame, oregano, rye flakes, oat bran, the same things I used for the topping, which the original recipe did not include. I’m sure the buns can be left as they are, without any fillings or toppings, it’s up to you.

Method (copied from the original recipe with my remarks in italics)

Pour the flour on the working surface and make a well, put in the milk, oil and egg, mix, dissolve the yeast, get some flour and start kneading. Then add remaining flour and salt. Mix and beat until pretty smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a lightly oiled bowl and covered in a sheltered place until doubled (usually an hour and a half, which was also the case with my dough).

Divide the dough into small pieces, flatten each, fill with the filling and form a ball (slightly larger than a golf ball, as the author explains). Place in a pan lined with parchment paper (I used my round silicone pan, just greased with no paper), brush with beaten egg and allow to stand still half an hour, yet covered in a sheltered place. Brush again with egg (here I also applied some toppings) and bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes, making sure to cover it with aluminium foil if it turns golden fast (which I did), even after 15-20 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

The author says that the buns can be frozen – defrost them at room temperature then warm at 150°C in the oven for a few minutes.

The result: These buns are very soft and I anticipate how deliciously easy they will come apart, mmmm=)

UPD: here how they break apart:

The bread was really nice for breakfast!

Will come back with more recipes, just stay tuned!

G.

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