Rich Saffron Buns
So, I finally made those saffron buns that I mentioned in my intro post a few weeks ago. (Ok, so I made the buns a couple weeks ago, but hadn't gotten around to posting the pics!) But here they are. I should mention that I deviated somewhat from the Saffron Bun recipe that I initially saw here on TFL. Mine ended up more like a Saffron poor man's brioche. So I guess you could say I took the TFL recipe as an inspiration, mainly.
The formula I ended up with went like this (with %'s approximated...)
255g Whole Milk, heated, 37%
30g Melted Butter, 5%
1 heaped tsp Saffron Threads (A friend of mine donated saffron to the cause, so I figured I'd be generous and use the whole lot)
(I saw the discussion on here about saffron infusion methods, and I had read that many of saffron's pigment compounds are fat soluble, hence the bit of butter. It may not have really made a difference, but either way)
175g Whole Wheat Flour, 25%
Infused milk mixture
10g Instant Yest
520g Bread Flour, 75%
15g salt, 2%
210g Eggs, 30% (I ended up using mostly yolks, 7 yolks and 2 whites to get the 210g)
3g Ground Cardamom
175g Butter, 25%
85g Sugar, 12%
Handful of currants (probably 2/3 cup)
I've got a couple of questions, if any of the more experienced folks have some insight. Here's the basic process I went through:
I do my kneading by hand, because I'm not fortunate enough to have a fancy stand mixer. I tried to go for full gluten development before adding the final butter and sugar, but this was more difficult than I'm used to. I kneaded for at least twenty minutes, after which the dough did get pretty elastic, but I couldn't get a nice windowpane or anything. I knew I still had a job ahead of me getting the butter in there, so I called it good for that stage of kneading.
Again, once the butter and sugar was all in, the dough just didn't seem to want to achieve good development. We make a 42% fat brioche dough at work (in a mixer), and so I was aiming for the look of that dough, where you can pull it gently and really get it to stretch out. I could pull a pinch off of mine and get it to stretch a few inches, but not much more. This had taken another twenty minutes, so again, I just called it good.
Scaled the dough to 120g portions (in retrospect, 90g would have been better; I baked these in a muffin tin and the bottoms burned before the buns were fully baked. But I take this as a simple trial and error lesson). The crumb was not terribly dense, but I feel like they could have been lighter in texture. Possibly a result of underdevelopment? I did bake them slightly underproofed.
So here are my questions:
1) Regarding the difficulty in developing the gluten, could this have been because of the fat present in the initial dough stage, from the infused butter or all the egg yolks? Could the milk have prevented good development (I read something here about glutathione, but I'm not sure if that reaction happens only over an extended period of time.)
2) Regarding the butter, I understand why high fat breads benefit from an initial development period before getting the butter in there, but is there some "cutoff point"? In other words, I've heard that anything over 20% fat needs to be added later. Any thoughts on this number? And am I crazy for doing this by hand? I did a 25% fat bread for Christmas, which was noticeably easier to work with than this bread, so I'm working my way up :]
Thanks for any thoughts / comments!