The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fun Buns Tools and Techniques

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Grandma Dawn's picture
Grandma Dawn

Fun Buns Tools and Techniques

Several years ago I embarked on research and development of fun shaped buns.   The doughs I use are:  whole wheat, sweet roll, cheese, oatmeal, and caraway rye.  For the eyes I use currants, raisins, olive slices, a date slice filled with a craisin.   For fins and feet I sometimes roll out and cut pieces, other times I make a ball and cut toes in.  I use an egg white for the glaze and for some designs sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

Here are the tools I use: 

Dough cutter to divide the loaf, rolling pin, two scissors, bamboo skewer, chopstick, exacto knife, miscellaneous cookie cutters, and individual cue cards.

After the dough has risen the first time, I cut it into the number of wedges according to the number of buns I am making that day.  I found that working with wedges helped immensely to get the proportions correct for each bun.  I made a cue card for each design to show me how many pieces each design required and how to best cut the wedge to get the pieces.  I also added helpful notes from previous attempts. 

I like to make several different designs in one session.  That's where the cue cards come in handy.  Since you are working with a living organism working quickly is necessary.  I found it best to make a mix of easy and difficult designs so as to fit within the time frame I had.  I kept all pieces covered with lightly oiled clear wrap so as to prevent a crust from forming.  I found that making the bodies first then adding the smaller pieces worked the best.  I would shape the body, press it down to secure it on the pan then move on to the next body.  I would then start adding the smaller pieces, then the eyes and slash in details.  The bamboo skewer blunt end is used to make indents in the dough for the eyes and noses.  The chopstick is good for larger designs and also for cupping the ears of the bear.  The scissors are for the hedgehog and cat. 

 The cookie cutters are for the fish, grape cluster, and rose. 

Right up until the time they go in the oven I continue to check on them and push the dried fruit in, etc. if they start to fall out of the rising dough. 

At first I thought I had to pinch the pieces together but found that simply tucking them under slightly held them together just fine.

Just before baking I continue to make small adjustments, redefine slashes if necessary, then brush on the egg white.  If any egg white pools in the eyes I dab off the excess with a corner of a paper towel.

My failure rate is very small.  It seems that with a little diligence the eyes stay put and the pieces stick together.

 

 

Comments

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Dawn, I am sure there will be children and 'grown-ups' from around the world that appreciate what you have created - even without ever having been on TFL. Your creativity, skill, and attention to detail are simply wonderful.

Thank you so much for sharing you creative work and methods with us all.

Ron

Grandma Dawn's picture
Grandma Dawn

Ron,

Thank you for your kind words.  I so enjoyed this project and am happy to have found a place to share it.

- Dawn

teketeke's picture
teketeke

 Hi Dawn,

I have enjoyed to see your great work on your buns, and now I see your instruction with your nice handwriting and drawing, which are very nice. I like your art work on your buns very much. I 'd like to try some of them with my children someday. 

Thank you for sharing,

Akiko

Grandma Dawn's picture
Grandma Dawn

Thank you for taking the time to post a comment.  I'm glad you enjoyed the post and hope you will make some fun buns soon!

- Dawn

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Dawn,

These are great!  Thank you for giving out all of your 'secrets' as to how you go about creating your 'critters'. I had not thought of using an exact knife to do the cutting....those things sure do come in handy!

I have begun my 8 week fund raising stint and am figuring out exactly what my baking schedule will be.....I want to try to work some of your ideas in but I want to go at it one loaf at a time in case things don't turn out as I anticipate....I will have to figure out what day I can do a 'really' fun bake.  Don't want to overwhelm myself by trying to do too many at a time...think I will start with a rose.....

Oh, I did do one small hedge hog but don't think I will do another one for the fund raiser.....they are too cute to eat!  My daughter felt guilty biting into it!  

Again, thanks for posting all of your work here...an inspiration for sure :-)

Take Care,

Janet

Grandma Dawn's picture
Grandma Dawn

Janet -

Thanks for the nice comments.  I find that the critters freeze well if I wrap them individually in clear wrap then a zip lok bag.   The cheese grape clusters freeze especially well, I make several in different sizes and take them out when I have company or need a hostess gift.

- Dawn

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Dawn,

An update.  My official 8 weeks of baking just ended and I didn't get to do any of your creations....too fast and furious.  I was baking for 7-8 differend families and the loaves were all different on some weeks so trying to add one more 'thing' just got to be too much.

I have not forgotten about these though and maybe in the winter, when things slow down and cool down, I will give one or two a shot.

Take Care,

Janet

 

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello, Thank you so much for posting your tips on how to shape your delightful breads.
I am truly grateful!
:^) from breadsong

Grandma Dawn's picture
Grandma Dawn

Thank you for your kind comments.  I have cue cards for all designs if you need more information.

- Dawn

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello,
I appreciate this generous offer - thank you - and may take you up on it, if need be; but you've already given us so much! It's so nice of you to take the time.
:^) from breadsong

Syd's picture
Syd

Delightful shaping and it must be such fun for the kids. Nice clear instructions on how to get the shapes.  Thanks for posting.

Syd

Grandma Dawn's picture
Grandma Dawn

Thank you for the postive comment.  Posting pictures was more fun than trying to explain the how to's and techniques . . .

- Dawn

Szanter5339's picture
Szanter5339

Dear Danw!
I am happy for you! It is good that you have found!
Very clever and the characters é step!
I learn from you!
Best regards! Terike

Blogom: http://szanter.blogspot.com/

Grandma Dawn's picture
Grandma Dawn

Terike,

Thank you for the kind words.

After looking at YOUR blog . . . I LEARN FROM YOU!

- Dawn

Szanter5339's picture
Szanter5339