About two or three weeks back, when I was resting in my living room (I was sick by then), I happened to watch this show in AFC called "Bake with Anna Olson" and she was making braided egg buns which she said are staples in bakeries everywhere (maybe in the US and other western countries as I hardly find these buns in Malaysia or Indonesia).
Anyhow, I was inspired by this particular recipe of hers and suddenly, I was also on-fire to test her recipe right after her show in AFC ended. I knew I was not feeling terribly well that afternoon but when my fever had not come back as yet, I used that opportunity to make the bread dough and so on. In the end, I managed to produce a dozen of braided egg buns by night before collapsing and actually got admitted to hospital the next night.
Here's the recipe of the buns that I made few weeks ago, adapted from Anna Olson's recipe. I am not a master in braiding hair, even the simplest one, but somehow I could braid my buns and they looked fine - using four strands braid method.
The buns look so sophisticated but they are not.
Braided Egg Buns
3/4 cup Fresh Milk
1 tbs Condensed milk
2 tsp Dry yeast
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Sugar
2 Eggs, at room temperature
1 Egg yolk
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
3 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Egg yolk, whisked with 2 tbsp Milk for brushing
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, grated cheese for sprinkling (optional)
1. Double boil or heat fresh milk and condensed milk in a heat-resistant bowl until lukewarm.
2. As per the general bread maker function: Place fresh milk, condensed milk, oil, eggs, sugar and salt first in the bread maker.
3. Pour the all purpose flour then make a small hole in the flour.
4. Put the yeast in the flour hole (make sure the yeast is not in contact with the liquid ingredients before kneading).
5. Turn your bread machine on (I use the basic program). Knead once, which takes about 10 mins.
6. Take the dough out of the machine and place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 90 minutes until doubled in size.
The dough 90 minutes later after the first proofing.
7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into 12 pieces.
8. To create the braided buns with 4 strands: Cut each piece of the dough in half and roll out each half into a thin rope about 12 inches long. Place one rope of dough over the second and create a cross. Bring the ends of the bottom (vertical) rope over the top rope, crossing completely. Repeat this step with the horizontal piece of dough and continue crossing the ropes over until you reach the ends of the dough. Tuck the end of the pieces and place the braided buns in lined baking trays. Repeat this step with the remaining buns. For easier and clearer instructions in braiding the buns, check some tutorial videos in Youtube, you'd learn a lot from there.
The braided buns, ready for their second rise.
9. Cover the trays with plastic wrap and let the buns rise for another 45 minutes or until almost double in size.
10. Brush the buns with egg wash and sprinkle the buns with sesame/poppy seeds (I didn't have any so my buns were plain). I did, however, top some of the buns with grated cheese as per my husband's request.
11. Bake the buns in a preheated oven (160-170 degree Celcius) for 20-25 minutes or until the buns are golden brown.
Done and done.
By far, I think this was my first time handling a dough that's very smooth and not difficult at all to handle. Not sticky or too hard, the elasticity was just perfect to braid or form to other shapes.
Moving on, the first thing my husband said when he ate the bun was that the bun tasted like bread (Duh!). Then, he also commented that he felt so healthy eating fresh home made buns.
That night, I sent my buns pictures to my brother who was holidaying in my parents' house. Minutes after he received the pics, he sent one picture back to me. I don't know how he managed to edit the picture so fast using 9gag style and he successfully made me laugh with this one.
My brother is a funny guy.
Since MIL was in Thailand that week and we couldn't finish a dozen of buns in two days or so (home-made buns don't use any artificial preservatives so they don't last fresh that long), I gave more than half of the buns to Naomi's teachers and friends the next morning.
We always have this happy problem in our house to finish all the stuff that I bake because we are a small family of three and Naomi generally doesn't really eat bread or cookies yet. So, yeah.. I normally give away half or more than half my home-made baked goods to family members, neighbours or Naomi's school.