Yummy, yeasty buns & rolls

Yeast dough is easy to prepare and perfect for fall.

(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
With the weather changing and fall already here, we pray for rain and especially for winter – an excellent time to make rib-sticking, comforting pastries, both sweet and salty. That is why I chose to dedicate this week to yeast dough, one of my favorites.
In contrast to the popular belief that yeast dough is very difficult and complicated to work with, I think the exact opposite is true. The fact that I make yeast pastries every weekend, whether they be halla or cake, bread rolls or other pastries, serves as proof.
Yeast dough is easy to prepare and perfect for manual kneading, although I have to admit that I prefer to always prepare it in an electric mixer with a kneading hook. From this I learned that different processing speeds are required when using the electric mixer, in order to best imitate kneading the dough by hand. Of course, from the outset you can prepare the dough with manual kneading, without an electric mixer or food processor.
Yeast dough must rest – or, rather, it must be given time and the ideal conditions in order to double in size. One of those conditions is warmth. If you are short on time, you can definitely let the dough rest in the refrigerator and work with it the next day.
I have chosen to present you with a number of yeast recipes. They are quick to make, and all share a similar technique of preparation and an intriguing design. The three sweet pastries start, of course, with soft and airy yeast dough, which is divided into small and medium-sized balls, which are arranged on a baking tray side by side. The magic happens when baking them, as the dough balls expand and connect.
The differences between the pastries are in the materials that connect them, their fillings, their coatings and, of course, the flavors that vary from one pastry to another.
The first recipe is a cinnamon yeast cake. Dough balls are rolled in butter, sugar and cinnamon and arranged in a circular mold – and they connect during baking and turn into a mountain of sweet, brown dough balls that you eat by pulling the balls away from the cake.
The second recipe contains medium-sized yeast balls with a filling of raisins, almonds and jam, which are dipped in melted butter. These dough balls are arranged on a well-oiled round pan and connect while baking. They are then coated with sugar syrup.
The third recipe includes rolls of rich, airy yeast dough, bathed in butter, which are arranged and flattened in a baking tray. They are soaked in sugar syrup after baking.
These three kinds of sweet buns should never be cut with a knife. They are served at the center of the table and the guests pull them off one by one.
Translated by Juliane Helmhold.
Bundt mold, 26 cm.
4 cups flour, sifted
30 gr. fresh yeast
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
80 gr. butter, or melted butter
1-1½ cups milk or water
½ tsp. salt
For the coating:
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
100 gr. butter/melted butter
To prepare the dough, mix the flour, yeast and sugar in an electric mixer. Add the egg, honey, vanilla extract and melted butter. Mix the ingredients, gradually adding the milk/water and salt. Mix until the dough is smooth and separates from the sides of the bowl. If necessary, add a little milk or water. Sprinkle the dough lightly with oil and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rest in a warm place for about an hour and a half or more until it doubles in volume.
Transfer the dough to a working surface and roll it out until it’s about 1 cm. thick. Cut the dough into squares of about 2 cm. Take each cube of dough and roll it to form a ball. You can also skip rolling out the dough and just take small or medium portions and shape them into balls.
Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and place the melted butter in a separate bowl.
Grease the Bundt mold. Dip the dough balls in the melted butter and roll them in the cinnamon sugar. Arrange the dough balls in rows on the baking tray. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them sit for about 40 minutes to an hour. Preheat the oven to medium-low heat (170°-180°) and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a dough ball comes out clean and dry. When they are ready, remove the buns from the baking tray, let them cool a little, and they are ready to serve.
Baking tray, 24/26 cm.
For the dough:
3½ cups flour (500 gr.)
½ cube or ½ bag of yeast (25 gr.)
½ cup sugar (100 gr.)
3 Tbsp. oil or butter
2 large eggs
About ¾ cup water or milk (170 ml.)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or orange/lemon peel)
For the filling:
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. sugar
50 gr. white almond chips (½ cup)
50 gr. small, light raisins (½ cup)
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. mixed/apricot jam
For dipping:
50 gr. melted butter
For brushing:
1 egg, beaten, with a little water
For syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp. lemon juice
Place the flour in a bowl, sprinkle it with yeast and sugar, mix lightly. Add the oil, eggs, water, salt and vanilla, and mix. Cover the dough and place it in a warm location for about an hour, until it doubles in volume.
Filling: Heat the oil in a pan and add the sugar. After about a minute, add the almonds, raisins and cinnamon. Melt the sugar until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down. Divide the mixture into two bowls and add the jam to one of them. The mixture in the other one is kept for sprinkling over the finished pastries.
Syrup: Place all the ingredients in a pan and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to get the right consistency. Let it cool down.
Rolls: Grease the baking tray well, divide the dough into pieces that are approximately 3 to 4 cm. in diameter. Make a hole in the center, put in a teaspoon of the filling and close. Brush the filled balls with the melted butter.
Place a ball in the middle of the baking tray and arrange the others around it. Cover the dough and allow it to rise further in a warm place for about 25 minutes.
Brush the dough balls with the egg mixture and sprinkle them with the remaining almonds and raisins.
Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 180° or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and dry. Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool slightly. Pour the syrup over the pastry while it is still slightly warm.
Rectangular baking tray, 27 cm. x 35 cm. (or other)
25 gr. fresh yeast
½ cup water
1 Tbsp. sugar
A little regular flour
½ kg. yeast flour
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. oil
1 bag vanilla sugar
1-1½ cups of water
100 gr. butter/softened margarine cut into medium-sized cubes
½-1 tsp. turmeric (according to desired color strength) or 2 Tbsp.
instant Vanilla pudding powder
½ tsp. salt
100 gr. of light raisins
For dipping:
50 gr. butter or melted butter
For brushing:
1 egg, beaten, with a little water or oil
¼ cup sesame seeds
Syrup for brushing:
¾ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Dissolve the yeast in sugar and water in a medium-sized dish and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
Place the flour in a bowl, create a hole in the middle and place the remaining sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla sugar and the yeast in it. Mix gradually, adding the water, butter, turmeric, salt and raisins, until it is soft and flexible.
Cover the bowl with a damp towel and put it in a warm place for about an hour and a half, until the dough has doubled its volume.
Grease a rectangular pan.
Divide the dough into small pieces of about 3-4 cm., roll them into balls and place them on the baking tray next to each other. Brush the dough with a little bit of melted butter.
Brush the rolls in the baking tray with egg and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Let the dough rise again in a warm place for about half an hour. Bake it in the preheated oven at medium heat (180°) for 20-25 minutes.
To make the syrup, cook all the ingredients in a pan and reduce it to the right consistency. When the rolls are baked, brush them with the syrup.
For more recipes from Pascale's kitchen, visit her website.