For quite some time I was looking forward to bake something from yeast dough again. From two reasons. First is I love yeast dough pastries, they might be my favourite type of pastries. The second reason is I want to perfect my technique of working with the yeast dough.
These sweet yeast buns (“buchty” in Czech) are probably the top yeast dough pastry for me. For those who know kolache (“koláče” or “koláčky” in Czech), these buns are very similar. The main difference is that the filling is not on the top, but inside of the buns. I understand kolache are now very popular (not only) in Texas, thanks to its strong community of immigrants from Czechoslovakia, and I can’t help but feel proud…
I used the recipe from the cookbook “Sladká první republika”, which could be translated as Sweet First (Czechoslovak) Republic. I mentioned a bit more about the book in my previous post . I combined the recipe with the do’s and dont’s of working with the yeast dough I found in a very old Czech cookbook my grandmother got as a wedding gift from her mother. The book’s name “Rok v České kuchyni” could be translated as A year in a Czech kitchen.
Mistakes you should avoid when working with the yeast dough:
- Don’t work in a cold room or with cold ingredients (not only the milk which is specifically mentioned in the recipe and should be of a body temperature, but other ingredients you use also cannot be used straight off the fridge, but should be of a room temperature)!
- On the other hand, the milk you use should not be too hot. The body temperature (around 37ºC) is ideal. Don’t place the leaven or the dough in a too hot place during the rising. If you place it e.g. on a heating radiator, be careful, it should not be too hot.
- Yeast should not get close to the salt, it would kill it. Never add salt directly to the leaven.
- Don’t let the dough rise too much. Stop the process when the dough doubles in size. If you are not yet ready to roll the dough etc. when the dough is already risen enough, you can slow down the rising process by kneading the dough.
- Be sure the oven is of the required temperature when you put the dough in. Don’t open the oven for the first 15 minutes.
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 100 ml warm milk (at temperature close to a body temperature, 37ºC)
- 21 g regular yeast
- 150 ml warm milk (at temperature close to a body temperature, 37ºC)
- 3 yolks
- 1 egg
- 160 g melted butter
- pinch of salt
- 500 g all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons caster sugar
Quark filling (the amount is for the whole batch, if you are using other fillings, adjusts the amounts of ingredients accordingly)
- 500 g quark
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of cream (10% or 12% fat)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 55 g powder sugar
- Optional: rum or rum essence, almond essence, raisins
Poppy seeds filling (the amount is for the whole batch, if you are using other fillings, adjusts the amounts of ingredients accordingly)
- 70 g poppy seeds
- 100 ml milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 40 g powder sugar
- Optional: If you need to make the mixture more solid, you can add ground almonds
Or you can use fruit jam.
Make the leaven
In a small bowl, mix milk and sugar. Be sure that the milk is neither too hot nor cold. It’s crucial its temperature is close to body temperature (37ºC). Add small pieces of yeast. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm (not too hot) place, I put it onto a wooden desk placed on a heating radiator.
After 10 or 15 minutes, the yeast should be dissolved and there should be a foam on the top of the milk. If not, wait another 15 minutes. If even then there is no foam, it means that the yeast is likely not alive. In such case, you should start again with new yeast mixture. On the pictures below, you can see how the mixture looked at the beginning (left picture) and at the end, after 30 minutes (right picture).
Make the dough
In a large bowl, mix all the egg yolks, the egg and the milk. Add half of the melted butter and the pinch of salt. Mix in flour and sugar. Add the leaven. Knead the dough carefully with a wooden spoon or in a kitchen robot with a dough hook. If you are doing it by hand, it can take around 15 minutes to knead the dough properly.
Once the dough stops stick to the bowl and to the wooden bowl, you can stop kneading. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set it in a worm place to let the dough rise until double in size. This should take around 45 – 60 minutes.
Make the filling
In the meantime, prepare the filling you are going to use.
Poppy seeds filling
In a teflon pan, mix all the ingredients except sugar and bring it to boil. Boil slowly until the poppy seeds are soft. Add sugar and cook for additional 2 – 3 minutes. Add milk for the mixture to be more liquid, if needed, or ground almonds if you need it to be more solid.
Mix the quark and egg yolks in a bowl. Add the cream so that the mixture is not too solid, but be careful not to make it too liquid. 2 teaspoons should be maximum for 500 g quark.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
Bake the buns
Preheat oven to 180ºC (356ºF). Butter a baking tray.
Once the dough has doubled the size, cut off around half of it. Place it on the floured surface and roll it out to around 1 cm thick. Cut out around 5×5 cm squares. Place a full teaspoon of the chosen filling in the middle of the square. Wrap the dough around the filling so that you get a ball. Place it in the baking tray. Continue with assembling, leave a small place between the balls on the tray, the will continue rising in the oven.
Once done, leave the dough rising on the tray for 15 minutes before you place it in the oven. After 15 minutes, butter the buns thoroughly, including the sides. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden.