Sourdough Discard Day: Rye-Raisin-Nut Buns
It was time--again--to feed the starters. This time I decided to make breakfast buns, specifically rye-flour-based raisin buns with walnuts. The process for making the buns seems long, but it's easy, and you don't have to do any kneading--just stirring. Plus, the rise time is pretty accommodating. You can start the buns the morning of the day before you want to serve them. Or, better yet, get the buns started on Saturday evening (hey, big night at my house!), let them rise overnight, stir them and add some flour the next morning, let them rise while you're at church or out and about, add the remainder of the ingredients after lunch, let the dough rise again, and then bake the buns on Sunday afternoon or evening for Monday morning (with a little taste-testing Sunday night). It may seem complicated, but it's actually pretty easy and, to me, less hassle than making bread with commercial yeast. Why? With these buns, there's no setting the timer, kneading, or fussing with shaping the dough.
Unlike most ordinary breads, you won't need jam to give these buns taste. The buns are sweetened with a bit of brown sugar and molasses, which helps tame the sourness of the dough. Nonetheless, because of the long rise times, the sourdough flavor comes through, lending an incredible, complex, almost fruity taste to the buns. Raisins and walnuts lend the buns sweetness and crunch, and a combination of rye and all-purpose flours keeps the buns light. The buns make a wonderful, quick, and filling breakfast toasted and served with a slice of cheese. Of course, the buns also are good spread with a little peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese, if you'd prefer.
Sourdough Rye-Raisin-Nut Buns -- Makes 18+
1 cup of starter (I use rye-based)
1 cup of water
1 cup of rye flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 cup of molasses
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/4 cup of canola oil
In a large bowl, mix the starter and water well. Stir in the remaining ingredients until everything is well blended. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 8-10 hours (overnight is good). Stir the mixture down. Then add:
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Let the mixture sit another 4-6 hours (until after lunch is good). Then add:
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and drop 9 golf-ball-sized blobs of dough on each sheet, spacing the blobs about 2 inches apart. Moisten your fingers with a little water and shape the blobs into little discs or pucks. Sprinkle the tops of the discs with a little turbinado (raw) sugar, if you'd like, and let the dough rise until about doubled--1-2 hours. Bake the buns at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes or until browned and just firm.