** http://www.handcraftedbyradar.com for more recipes **
I decided we were having Vietnamese subs the other night for supper and this required sub buns to be made. I thought I’d try a different recipe, though, because the sub buns you get when you buy Vietnamese subs are crispy on the outside and fluffy inside (and commercially made). I wanted something a little closer to that so I went prowling.
Warning, this is not even remotely keto or low carb.
Anyway, bread & bun recipes are basically all the same, it’s the methods that differ, generally, so I found a recipe that I decided to try simply because it was a much smaller recipe than I usually make and there was a new method involved – which I modified to something I do when I’m baking sourdough bread.
- 2 TB yeast
- 2 TB honey
- ½ cup warm water
- 3-1/2 to 4 cups flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp salt
In a large bowl or your mixer bowl, mix the ½ cup of water, honey & yeast together and leave to bloom for about 5 minutes.
In another, smaller bowl, mix the flour (the 3-1/2 cups) and salt together.
Once your yeast has bloomed, add the additional 1 cup of water and about half of the flour mixture. Mix well. Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix again. If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour – generally about 1 TB at a time, leaving time between each addition to rehydrate and give an accurate idea of stickiness.
Once the dough bounces back when you press on it with your thumb or finger, turn it out onto the counter and knead it for a minute or two, just until it’s smooth.
Set it somewhere in an oiled bowl to rise (I usually put my dough in my oven with the temperature set to 100F – I know others use their oven and just turn on the light inside.
Let it rise until about doubled in size, approximately half an hour to an hour.
Turn out the dough and form into sub shaped buns. I made four footlong buns and could have made 8 shorter ones, so it really depends how many you need – bear in mind, these are far better texture-wise on the day you bake them than they are a day or two later. I finished the last piece two days after initial bake and, while still tasty, the crispiness of the crust was gone and it was heading quickly towards getting stale. Reheating it in the oven for a couple minutes might have improved it, but I was too hungry to wait….2 in the afternoon is much too late to be having breakfast!
I did learn how to make sub buns flatter than I usually manage – normally, mine look like little pointy ended torpedo’s, so in order to make these flatter and somewhat squared at each end, cut your dough into the number of pieces you require.
Take one of the pieces and spread it out, using your fingers to sort of punch/push the dough out, into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle along each long side towards the middle and seal. Spread again, and again, fold in the long sides towards the middle and together with your fingers. Keep doing this until your bun is as long as you want it and about 2 inches wide. Each time you punch/push, your bun will get longer as well as wider. So you control the wider by doing the fold, but let the longer happen as it will. I did fold my ends down just a little on my last punch/push and then sealed the long edge fold over it and they came out much better than any bun I’ve ever attempted before. I’m sure they will improve as I make more and get more practice at the shaping.
Once the buns are the right size for you, lay some parchment paper down on your baking sheets and put the buns on them to rise. Let them go until about doubled – half hour or so.
Preheat your oven to 400F and, when it’s ready, pop a pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
The trick here is to either toss a couple of ice cubes into the bottom of your oven and quickly close the door to keep the steam in, or put a metal pan of water into the oven and leave it in there to steam while your buns are baking.
Because I have a glass window on my oven, I chose to use the metal pan with the water in it that just stays in the oven during baking. There was a disclaimer that if you have a window in your oven, you should cover the window with a towel while you throw in the ice cubes so you don’t get a cold drop of water on it and shatter it, then whip the towel out and close the door really quick so you don’t lose the steam.
I chose to be safe and not throw ice in. 🙂 I’m a chicken like that.
Either way, although one is less dramatic, you are just providing a method for steam to help make the crust a little crispier.