Childhood memories are the best. Growing up we had a bakery that made these wonderful butter buns. They were flaky and buttery and melt in your mouth. The bakery went out of business when I was in my 20’s and I haven’t been able to find these buns anywhere since. I started my search a few months ago, trying to find a recipe. I figured the internet had everything, so I would be able to find it there. Right? No. It took days of searching to find a recipe that was “close enough” to what I remembered. But the recipe that I found makes little tiny buns. Mmmmmm. Yup, little tiny buns. So you can just pop them in your mouth. You can make these buns larger if you want, but I didn’t want to mess with the recipe the first time I made these and now, I can’t imagine them being bigger. They are perfect the way they are.
The original recipe I got was from http://www.smallsmallbaker.blogspot.com. She actually halved the original recipe. I ended up doubling her recipe to get the original recipe and then doubling that as well. I also added more water, there just wasn’t enough in the original recipe and I had to add more. Otherwise, the recipe is perfect.
First you start with the butter filling – butter and powdered sugar, with a pinch of salt. (By the way, everything is in weight measurements and I like it that way, as it creates a more consistent end product)
Once this is combined, divide the butter into two little sandwich baggies and press it out flat, then put these boys into the fridge to chill out. The butter needs to be cold. (This can be done minimum 1 hour before making the buns, but up to 3 days ahead of time.)
Then we start with the bread dough. Everything goes into the mixing bowl at once (except the second portion of butter). I love instant yeast, no proofing. Saves a step. If you don’t have instant yeast, proof your yeast in the warm water before hand. Otherwise, everything goes into the bowl. (If you want to halve this recipe, it really doesn’t make enough dough to use the stand mixer so you will have to knead by hand.)
I like to mix things up first by hand, to make sure everything becomes a cohesive dough, and then I place it on the stand mixer with the dough hook (speed 3) for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes you will have a nice smooth dough.
Now turn the mixer back on and start adding your butter in, piece by piece (this is the second portion of butter – 40 grams), room temperature. And let the mixer go for another 5 minutes. You want to get the dough to the windowpane stage, which is basically pull off a piece of dough and if you stretch it out into a sort of windowpane without it tearing, you’re good to go. The dough, when the mixer is running will clear the sides of the bowl, but once you stop the mixer, it will start to stick to the bottom and the sides. This is a rather sticky dough.
Turn the dough out into a greased bowl and turn it over to make sure the dough is greased as well, so it doesn’t dry out. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to proof for at least 1 hour, depending on how warm or cold your house is. It could take longer to double in size, it could happen sooner than an hour. Start checking at 45 minutes.
Once the dough has doubled in size it’s time to start dividing the dough. Before I do this, I take the butter packages out of the fridge and cut them up into 50 pieces of butter each and then put them back in the fridge, so they stay cold. (Cold butter is key here, soft butter is just way too difficult to stuff the dough with) Now divide the dough into 10 gram pieces of dough. (I know, this is going to take a long time and if you are not as OCD as me, you can just divide the dough as evenly as you wish, however, I weigh each piece of dough to approximately 9, 10 or 11 grams each). Cover the cut up dough with plastic wrap so the little pieces don’t dry out while you are filling them with butter.
Once you have the pieces of dough all separated, take one package of butter out of the fridge and leave the other in there, so it doesn’t soften. And start filling the pieces of dough. Take a piece of dough and flatten it into a circle and place one piece of butter in the center and pull the dough up around the butter and pinch the dough together. The better you can seal it in there the less butter that will leak out. (Sorry I didn’t get any photos showing how to do this).
Now this recipe makes 100 (or more), but my sheet pan could only hold 96, so 4 of them were sentenced to death in the garbage can. Cover them up with plastic wrap and a dish towel and place in a warm place to do their second rise for another 60 minutes.
About 45 minutes into the second rise, start pre-heating your oven to 360 F. When they are ready for the oven, give them a quick egg wash. (Try and do a better job than I did though – I only used 1 egg yolk, and I should have used 2 for this amount of buns, oops).
Then bake the buns for 25 minutes. After this time they should be nicely brown and will be done, but I find they are quite pale underneath, because of the butter, so I flip them over onto another pan and place them back in the oven for approximately 5 more minutes, just to “crisp and brown” the bottom of the buns. (This isn’t necessary, if you don’t mind the paleness of the bottom of the buns)
Now you should let them cool, but these are unbelievably good and tiny, so you can just pop them into your mouth. When you open them up, there’s a nice little void in the middle where the butter/sugar was.
And as you can see my animals (I mean my sons) have already gotten to them and eaten a dozen.
You can make the buns larger if you like, but you will have to adjust the baking time accordingly. Also, if you want a savory filling instead of sugary filling, simply change out the sugar for garlic and parsley or rosemary, thyme, parmesan, whatever you want. Or just simply use butter, and they will still be amazing.
Mini Butter Buns
(Original Recipe from smallsmallbaker.blogspot.com)
200 grams butter (softened)
40 grams powdered/icing/confectioners sugar
Pinch of salt
600 grams All Purpose flour (you can use bread flour here if you have it)
60 grams sugar (white)
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
400 ml warm water (100 to 110°F)
40 grams butter (softened)
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. water
Mix ingredients for the filling. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour (you can do this step in advance and leave in the fridge for a few days. (I put the butter mixture in zip-loc baggies and press it flat, so when it comes to dividing it, you just need to cut the butter into equal pieces.
Mix all ingredients for the dough together except the butter, in your stand mixer and knead until the dough is sooth. 7 minutes at speed 3.
Add the butter and continue to knead the dough until it comes smooth and elastic and back to stretch into a thing film without breaking (approx. 5 minutes longer).
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let proof for about 60 minutes in a warm place.
Lightly press the dough to punch out the gas. Divide the dough into small balls of 10 grams each.
Slightly flatten the small dough, wrap in the butter filling and pinch to seal well. Roll the balls round and place them in a greased baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and proof for another 60 minutes. (At about 45 minutes into the final rise, preheat your oven to 360°F).
Gently brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash (you can sprinkle sugar on top as well, but I find the sugar inside the buns make them sweet enough.)
Bake for 25 minutes and then remove from the oven and flip the buns over into another pan and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes (this is optional) Turn out onto a cooling rack and let cool. The buns can be stored in zip-loc bags on the counter for a couple of days or separated into smaller portions and wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen.