The Fresh Loaf

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Sweet Little Buns

UpsideDan's picture

Sweet Little Buns

This is an improved recipe for a long time favorite at my home. I used to make these buns with Poolish and replaced it with Carol Field's Pan Di Como milk starter from her book The Italian Baker. This is a very active starter, the oven spring is fantastic and the taste much improved. I am making each bun a small portion, 55 gr dough and 15 gr fruit, to avoid sugar guilt :) 

One version has dates syrup (Silan) and dried dates. Cut each date into 8 small pieces and soak for an hour before adding to the dough (after removing as much of the soaking water as possible using paper towels). Another version has honey and frozen blueberries. Thaw the Berries in the fridge for 12 hours before adding to the dough. It is fine to use them cold. Of course other combinations will work. I did not try with white sugar and it may require adding some more water or milk. 

Schedule: start in the evening by making the starter and thawing frozen fruit. I mixed the dough at 10:00 and finished baking at 16:30. I accelerated the proof in a warm oven so it might take longer at a colder room. 


1. Prepare a liquid starter in a bowl of standing mixer. Use 243 gr milk, 135 gr A/P flour, 1/4 Tsp instant yeast and optionally 3 gr diastatic malt powder. Mix well with a spatula to eliminate dry spots, cover and leave at room temperature. 

2. If using frozen fruit, put 180 gr in the fridge to thaw. 


1. add 1/4 Tsp instant yeast, 7 gr salt and 40 gr honey or date syrup. Mix to incorporate. 

2. Add 200 gr A/P flour and mix to fully hydrate. Pinch the dough to eliminate dry spots. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. Incorporate 70 gr cold butter. Divide the butter into 3 portions and cut each portion into small pieces. Add one portion and start mixing on high speed (Kitchen Aid 4) for 30 seconds. Release the dough from the hook and repeat additional 30 seconds intervals until the butter disappears. Then add the next portion. 

4. Once all the butter is incorporated, let the dough rest covered for 30 minutes. 

5. The dough is now developed. Use some gentle slap and folds to organize it into a nice and shiny ball. 

6. Cover and let the dough ferment for 3 more hours (my kitchen temperature is 71F 22C). There will be a nice increase in size but not necessarily doubling. 

7. If using dried fruit - measure 180 gr, cut into small pieces and soak for at least an hour(figs, for example, will need more time to soften). Make sure to remove as much as possible of the soaking water before adding the fruit to the dough. 

8. Weight the dough and divide it into 12 portions (about 55gr). Make a small ball from each portion, cover and let rest while you scale and divide the fruits.

9. Weight the fruits again to account for absorbed water, then divide into 12 equal portions.

10. Flatten each dough ball into a disk using a rolling pin or your fingers. Spread the fruit, fold the dough over the fruit and form tight balls.

11. Put each dough ball in a baking mold

12. Proof covered until doubled in size (it took 2 hour inside a warm oven)

13. Egg-wash the buns. Optionally, use scissors to cut a cross on the surface. This will result in a clover shaped opening after baking. 

14. Bake at 370F (190C). I placed all 12 buns inside a double roaster and baked covered for 25 minutes and uncovered for 15 more minutes. Use your experience with your oven to determine how to bake. 



TessN's picture

Oh my goodness!  Love this, will give it a go. :-)