This is a great recipe for Family Day – homemade bread feels so intergenerational to me. It evokes memories of my mother and grandmother leaning over the counter as they knead in the kitchen, the overwhelming smell permeating through the house. Kneading bread is one of the few hands-on teachings my mother ever gave me in the kitchen.
It brings back memories of my first few very unsuccessful attempts at kneading dough as a young adult. I remember making two very pathetic bricks of “bread” that never rose and swearing I had followed the recipe correctly and then swearing off bread baking for years.
Bread has become a real symbol of the past year for our family – I’ve gone from novice to intermediate in my bread baking skills and can now confidently say I have bread baking intuition.
And now homemade bread is passing down another generation. It’s such a joy to see my family members start circling round the kitchen while the bread bakes, constantly asking if it’s done. And as they take that first bite, delighting in them feeling that very same inside-out warmth and love I, myself, enjoyed as a child.
These soft pull-apart buns are great as a side with dinner or a snack right out of the oven. This makes a huge batch, but even still, they never last very long in our house. I have many fond memories of my mother’s homemade sweet buns.
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tbsp yeast
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 4 cups soy milk
- 2 tbsp Earth balance
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 10 cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
Yield: approx. 30 buns
Mix the first ingredients together in a small bowl and let stand for 10 minutes (if using active dry yeast – no need to wait if using instant yeast).
To a medium pot over medium low heat, add soy milk and melt Earth balance. Dissolve the sugar and bring the temperature to lukewarm. Remove from heat and add the lightly beaten eggs. Add yeast to the soy milk mixture.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Incorporate the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together. Flour your surface and have 1-2 cups of flour set aside. Then turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead into a soft dough, dusting with flour until the dough reaches the right consistency (not too wet, not too tough – will spring back to the touch and does not stick to your hand as you knead but is also not so firm that it does not submit to a new shape as you knead). This will take around 10 minutes.
Place the dough on a floured towel inside a large bowl, covering with another floured towel and let rise until double in bulk. Gently punch down and let rise again.
Shape into buns and let rise again. I like to use circular cake pans. Each rise took around 50 minutes for me.
Preheat oven to 375o.
Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until internal temperature is between 190-200o. They will become golden on top. Brush with melted Earth Balance after you’ve removed them from the oven.
Serve immediately or let cool completely in the pan and store up to 5 days.