Thursday, 2 April 2015

Cola Bread Buns

I am such a devil for tinkering at times and as you can imagine the results can often be described as 'mixed'. Now and again though I do stumble upon the odd gem or two, such as this loony little recipe for bread made with (yes that's right) cola. Using the syrupy soft drink gives the finished bread a lovely light, yet soft texture and as you'd expect a light caramel sweetness that works wonderfully with tangy mayonaisse, mustard or coleslaw. I admit this recipe may sound rather bizarre but trust in your old friend TGB and give it a try!

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus cooling and proving times)
Baking time: 20 Mins
215ml Cola
7g Fast Action Dried Yeast
300g Very Strong White Bread Flour
1/2tsp Salt

The first task is to let the cola go flat. If you have the luxury of time you can leave this to happen naturally. However I just heat the cola to just before boiling, then leave to cool to room temperature, which does the trick well enough.

Frequent flyers will spot that the bread recipe is pretty standard fare, but I will still go through the process for the uninitiated. Pour the cola into a large bowl and add the yeast. Stir to dissolve the yeast, then add the flour and salt. Briefly mix, then turn out onto a clean dry surface and bring together to a sticky dough. You can lightly dust your flour if you are concerned about sticking, but try to avoid this as much as possible.

Knead the dough, stretching it, folding it back on itself, turning by a quarter and repeating. Once the dough is smooth and elastic (which should take around 7 mins) form into a ball, dust lightly with flour then place in a clean bowl. Cover with a tea towel and place somewhere warm (such as an airing cupboard) for around 90 minutes to prove.

Once the dough has proven it should have risen nicely. Turn out onto a freshly floured surface and press lightly all over. Divide into four, then shape into big buns. Leave on your floured surface, lightly covered for a further 20-25 minutes to rise again. I actually cover mine with a large square cake container.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 and lightly grease a flat baking tray. Uncover the buns, very carefully transfer to the baking tray, evenly spaced apart and bake in the centre of the oven for around 20-25 minutes, until a light golden. You can also tap the base of each bun to check for a hollow sound. When you are happy they are baked remove from the oven. Now if you like a more crusty crust you can leave them as they are, however if you like a soft crust (as I do) then just cover the buns for 10 minutes with a tea towel. Finally, it is time to eat them. Huzzah!

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