I like to make our bread as nutrient dense as I can, and I am also a fan of soft bread, especially for dinner rolls. I add left-over sweet potatoes for lots of nutrition and wonderful flavor, lard from our pastured pigs, eggs from our wonderful chickens, and maple syrup from our very own sugar bush. Talk about nutrient-dense bread, huh? And it’s so good! (Click on the photo for the recipe for basic sweet potato bread, perfect for holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving, if you ask me.)
Today, I made a variation of these onion buns from King Arthur Flour, but adding sweet potato into the bread dough, and actual onions, mushroom and garlic rather than dried. I love to use the rolls for hamburgers. To be honest, I just love them and will serve them as dinner rolls with a little butter. Yum. If I need to caramelize onions for a recipe, I often double the amount needed, then save half, just stick it in the icebox. Then when I make the bread, I don’t have to wait for the onions to cool off before spreading them on the bread dough. (Trust me — don’t put it on hot. It’s too much for the yeast or something and they come out icky in the middle.)
For the dough:
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lard
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon yeast
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
I use my Kitchen Aid and the dough hook. Mix all ingredients except the butter together and knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2. Add the diced butter and mix until incorporated. Put in a warm space and let rise until doubled. (I also sometimes put it into the bread maker on the dough cycle. That works well, too.)
If you double the recipe (everything except the yeast), it will make a lovely loaf of bread as well as the rolls. I almost always do that. I just love the color. I love the flavor. It has a lovely texture. It’s nice and soft. It also toasts up really nicely and I can’t say enough good things about it. Oh, and it keeps well.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle. I like to use a cutting board that is the right shape and just roll it out to the edges. It sure makes it simpler, and it’s a quick way to get a clean surface when my counters are dirty because I’ve not had time to clean the kitchen lately. (When is that cleaning fairy going to show up?!)
For the filling:
2 onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
(Dice it all into very small pieces so it works well as the filling. Big chunks are bad.)
Cook until it’s nice and caramelized. I add the garlic at the very end, only cooking it for about a minute. If I have left-over vegetables from last night’s dinner, I’ll add those in as well. You basically want about a cup of onion veggie filling. I often cook more than I need for other recipes, then add it to a container in the icebox. When it gets full, it’s time to make bread!
Spread the goop out on the dough. Try to spread it as thinly as you can, leaving only a single layer spread as evenly as possible everywhere over the dough surface. Be sure that the goop is at least room temperature. If I’ve just cooked it up, I’ll stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes or so. But have some patience and don’t spread it on if it’s still warm. Ask me how I know. It totally ruins the bread!
Roll it up into a log, and then I cut off the ends. Then cut the log into one inch slices with a serrated knife. Be gentle! You want them to turn out circles, so don’t be too fast and sloppy, and don’t squish the log with your fingers, either. Just nice and gentle slicing. I use a serrated bread knife.
Put the individual slices into a 9 inch cake pan that you’ve brushed with some sort of fat. I like to use bacon fat or lard. You want it nice and snug so that they’ll rise up instead of out when they bake.
Let rise until double. My house is so cold this winter that the only way I get bread to rise is to put it in the dehydrator. I hate to use plastic wrap, so I just cover the pan with a clear pie plate so I can see how it’s doing. Then bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Enjoy! I like to use for hamburger rolls. For sandwiches. For breakfast. Or even just with some butter for a dinner roll. Yum.