OH EM GEE Cynthia of Two Red Bowls added a tiny human to her family! His name is Luke and I already want to borrow his cool hat. Cool Hat Luke, if you will. Anyway, to celebrate this exciting occasion, Stephanie from i am a food blog and Alana from Fix Feast Flair got a bunch of other food bloggers together to make things in BOWLS (get it) as our way of congratulating the Bs. Congrats, guys! You did it. I’m definitely drooling and wishing I had more than a few of these things to gnaw on for breakfast, but for now, I’ll have to be content with my yogurt (that I’m also eating out of a bowl) and think about weekend baking and cooking projects to come. Head over to the other blogs to take a look at what they’ve come up with, or scroll on and find out how to make these baby-sized challah buns made with the softest dough I ever did touch with my own two hands.
The dough, of course, comes from Molly Yeh’s new cookbook, Molly on the Range. I am in awe of how great this book is. There’s no banana bread recipe in there because we all have enough banana bread recipes. It’s truly inspiring. Instead of banana bread, you’ll find things like sesame coffee cake and homemade baloney and THIS scallion pancake challah. Only for my purposes, I made what is normally a beautifully braided loaf into tiny scallion pancake buns because we were supposed to make something in a bowl but I also really wanted to make this challah. This dough is literally the best. I’m not the greatest with breads, honestly–I tend to overknead or overproof my dough because I am forgetful, but this dough is apparently extremely forgiving because I didn’t mess it up. By adding a brush of sesame seed oil and a sprinkle of scallions (and maybe some garlic powder because you can), you really get the best of both worlds. A savory, yeasty, pillowy bread that will make your friends say stuff like, “YOU made this?” (thanks for the confidence, Jeena). There’s really nothing quite like the smell or taste of freshly baked bread, and believe me, my apartment smelled unbelievably good the day that I made these. Pulling each knot of challah apart and seeing the steam rise up and out of the bread before popping a piece in your mouth is pure heaven, and thankfully, this recipe makes for a LOT of buns, so you won’t have to ration them out. Thanks to Molly for the recipe, WAHOO to Cynthia on the birth of her baby boy, and way to go Stephanie and Alana for getting us all together to celebrate. Now let’s all eat some bread.
All of the components–your dry ingredients, your eggs, oil, and honey, and your foamed yeast.
Annnd here’s all that stuff mixed together. You want a nice, tacky dough that isn’t too sticky.
Once the dough has been covered and doubled in size, it’s time to mix together your scallions and get to rolling.
Divide your dough in half, then divide that first half into three pieces.
Add some sesame oil and scallion mixture to the first of your three pieces.
Then roll it up!
Thanks to Kramer for being my photo assistant for this.
Then slice that roll into three more pieces.
And pinch the ends to seal.
Roll out each piece a bit to make it wider and flatter, slice it in half lengthwise, and then pinch the top ends together.
Start wrapping the twist around your fingers to make a bun.
I couldn’t help but making a mini challah, too! Let the finished buns rise once more, then brush with your egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake until golden.
Try to eat just one. I promise, it’s impossible.
- 4½ teaspoons (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
- 1½ cups warm water (about 115 degrees F)
- 1 teaspoon + ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 6½ cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- ⅔ cup vegetable or canola oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 8 scallions, minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- sesame seeds, for garnish
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir slightly, then let sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the flour, salt, and remaining ¼ cup sugar. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and honey.
- When the yeast is ready and nicely foamed up, add it to the dry mixture, stir quickly, and then add in the egg mixture. Stir to combine. Knead by hand or with your dough hook until you have a smooth, sticky dough–this will take about 7-10 minutes. You can add a tablespoon or so more flour if you need it (I did) but don't add too much more.
- Oil a large bowl and transfer your dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel and set in a warm-ish place to rise. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. You can also put the dough in the fridge at this point and let it sit overnight, then let it sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping (wow!).
- Okay, so it's time to make your buns! Add your sesame oil to a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, mix together your scallions, garlic powder, salt, and pepper flakes. Set that aside, too. In yet another small bowl, beat an egg and (guess what) set it aside.
- Divide your challah dough in half, keeping one half in your oiled bowl and covered. Lightly flour your work surface, then divide your first half of dough into three pieces. With the first half, roll it out into a 12-inch long log. Gently flatten this log so that it's about 3-inches wide. Brush with a SMALL amount of sesame oil (seriously) and sprinkle with some of your scallion mixture. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, pinching the seams so it seals. Divide this log into 3 separate pieces.
- With your first piece, use your rolling pin to roll it out to a slightly flatter rectangle, about 3 inches wide by 5 inches long (give or take). Use a knife to cut this log in half down the middle lengthwise. Pinch the top two ends of the pieces together, twist them together like a peppermint stick (see the photos above), then start wrapping them around your finger like you are winding up a ball of twine (again, see the photos above). Stuff the bottom end back up into the bun and pinch it to hold everything together. Truly, there is no exact science to this, and you can do whatever you damn well please, but this method worked for me.
- Keep going until you've used up all of your dough, then go at it with your other half of challah dough (or you can just make a regular braided loaf with the other half–dealer's choice). Place your buns on baking sheets lined with parchment while you work (they should be spaced about 2 inches apart).
- Once you're done, cover your buns with a dish towel and let them rise again for about 30 minutes. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Brush your buns with the egg wash, then sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the buns are a deep golden brown. Let cool slightly before totally devouring. These will keep well, covered, and at room temperature, for up to 5 days.