If you are going to bake once a year, it's usually in the autumn. The first chilly nights inspire you to turn on the oven. The first dark evenings make you crave soup. Soup makes you want bread....it's really that easy. A seasonal ritual - and one we are not in control of. A seasonal ritual, in fact, that controls us, reminding us of the inevitable turning of the seasons and ending of the day. Warmth. Comfort. Returning to the home to settle in for the season of darkness and rest.
I never actually bake bread for the Thanksgiving meal. There is too much going on already. It's basically the precursor to Christmas Dinner (yay! in Canada we get turkey twice a year!) and I don't know anyone who wants bread rolls on top of everything else there is to eat. No...it's the day after. The day when you are faced with 57 pounds of left over turkey (for endless sandwiches and then soup), stuffing (those sandwiches again), mashed potato (soup) and baked squash (soup). The only thing that is never left over is the pie because somehow, tiny slices of pie just continue to slip down through the night and at breakfast the next day.
But wait! Why limit yourself to the annual turkey soup and hot and cold turkey sandwiches on sliced white when you can, with a little effort, turn your left overs into something magic....bread. Good bread makes sandwiches GREAT. Good leftovers made good bread GREAT. So we are into a DOUBLE GREAT situation which has GOT to be a good thing. We have written before about the GREAT left over mashed potato bread (cue this: you can substitute in the stuffing or the squash for the mash) and today we also have a wonderful recipe, adapted from the Book of Buns, for buns with that pesky left over squash. Buns that make your left over turkey sandwich absolutely DELICIOUS. The original recipe calls for sweet potato but you can just as easily use squash.
300 g left over squash (or sweet potato) - any way you have done it (possibly even marshmallows) will be delicious 650 g white wheat or spelt flour
3 g instant/6 g dry/12 g fresh yeast
12 g salt
150 g milk
Heat up 150 g milk to just below boiling. Let it cool COMPLETELY . Measure the flour into a big bowl and make a well in it. Measure in the yeast and then pour over 100 g of the milk. You can use the rest of the milk in your coffee (there will not be 50 grams, milk disappears mysteriously when it's heated). Flick flour over the yeast to close the well and let it sit for one hour.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture together in the bowl. Scrape out on the counter and begin to knead. The mixture will be sticky and soft and ton't worry about it. Please don't add any more flour. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl and let it rest for 2 hours.
Remove the dough and divide it into 16 equal portions. Flour your hands (not the surface of the counter) and shape them into firm balls. For a little video on how to make firm balls out of soft dough, see here.
Place the buns on trays lined with non stick baking paper. Lightly flour the tops and then cover them with a tea towel and let them rest for 45 minutes.
Pre heat the oven to 220 C and pop them in. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove them from the tray and let them cool completely on a wire rack. Make that turkey sandwich, stuffing, gravy and all. You will LOVE it.
Autumn is here! Let's celebrate it! Take advantage of it! Click here to learn to bake bread.