Today I worked on grandma buns. Grandma buns are the amazing rolls my grandma used to make. They were her regular everyday buns as well as the ones everyone looked forward to during the holidays. When she asked what she could bring to a meal I know the answer for any family gathering was grandma buns. There was something about them that made you have to eat more than one (and often more than two). What I always found fascinating was she was always trying new things with the recipe. She would try different flours like soy or whole wheat, sometimes she tried different sugars or honey, if she didn't have lard she would increase the fat content/shortening content a different way.
Today I tried a few things myself. I experimented with various washes. The recipe makes 36 buns so I tried egg white/water on 9, egg yolk/water on 9, butter pre-bake on 9 and no wash on 9. Then I also tried butter glaze on 3 of each of the trials post-bake. I have determined that I like the egg white/water wash with butter brushed on after baking. This gave the rolls a beautiful golden color. One thing with washes that I need to remember is to distribute evenly but try to keep it on the top (if it runs all over the pan or down the sides of the pan the rolls will stick badly and it forms a ring around the bottom of the roll). Note to self -- use the small square pans rather than the 9x9 or make the rolls slightly larger so they fill the pan better.
The buns were delicious regardless of the wash on top! My oldest ate 3 rolls with jam after nap time. I have to admit warm rolls fresh from the oven with some of my 2009 (honorable mention ISF) peach jam was a pretty tasty snack. I forced myself to stop after just one tasty treat. Luckily a 3 year old's metabolism can handle the extra snack every now and again!
One trick I use when making rolls is weighing the dough to ensure that they are all uniform in size. I am not sure how my grandma could get perfectly uniform rolls each time. I would watch her take a lump of dough and roll it and put it in the pan lickity split. I guess over time she just knew how much each little dough piece should feel in her hands. I doubt I'll ever be that good so for me the scale is the "weigh" to go! My oldest wanted to get involved in the whole dough rolling process too so he made his first little bun that we baked up. Who knows - maybe someday his "grandma buns" will rival his mom's!
Only two weeks to go before the hundred day countdown begins! Happy baking!