Yesterday evening was the last of our summer series in bread-baking as an act of worship. We gathered around good food and great company, around the word of God, prayer, blessing, and work. We tried something new, we learned more about each other, and we glimpsed God's joy. We'll continue to make our rustic country loafs for Central City Co-op each week, but here's the special recipe we made last night:
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon cooking oil (canola or vegetable), plus more for brushing
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1. In a mixer bowl, add the warm water, oil, yeast and sugar. Let sit for 1 minute, until the yeast begins to bubble a bit. Next, add in the flour, baking powder and salt, in that order. With the paddle attachment, mix on low for 2 minutes. Add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl. Change to a dough hook, and on speed 2, knead for 4 minutes, until dough is smooth, supple and clear the sides of the bowl. If the dough sticks to the side of the bowl, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time.
2. Dust your counter with a little flour and turn out your dough knead it a few times and Shape the dough into a smooth ball. Return the dough ball to the mixing bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm, dry spot for 1-2 hours, until it nearly doubles in size.
3. Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half. Gently roll each half into a log shape. Cut each log into little balls. Roll the dough ball out to a long, oval shape about 6"x3". Brush the top with a little cooking oil. Fold over one side of the oval. Use your rolling pin to gently roll and press one last time. Place bun on a parchment paper, place into the bamboo steamer and cover with lid to prevent drying. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
4. Fill your pot or wok with 2" of water. Place the steamer ring (if you have one) bamboo baskets on top. Do not turn on the heat yet. Let rest for 10 minutes. Then, turn on the heat to high. When you begin to see steam coming up from the top of the steamer, reduce heat to medium-high. Let steam for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, without opening the steamer. Let rest for 1 minute. Open steamer and gently lift the steamer off one another to let the buns cool.
Don't have a steamer basket? No problem! Here's how you can do it with everyday household items.