17 June 2011

Hello, Oven

I know it's been a while old friend, but I promise you my time away will only bring us closer. I've been tasting and photographing and taking extensive notes on construction and flavor that I hope will push me to raise my baking game.

Oven, you're going to be busy for the foreseeable future!!

But what inspiration...

So many beautiful shapes and flavors.  So many old, old recipes that I want to try.


Walking into a pastry shop in Europe I get the same feeling as when I go into a bookstore--happily overwhelmed.

All this has to get channeled somewhere, right?

I'm starting with the Fresh from the Oven menu.  I had a breakfast order today so I decided to unveil my Viennese Lemon Buns.

Soft, lemony, creamy, a little sweet, a little savory and wholly satisfying.

There are lots of variations of sweet buns from Vienna to Prague.  They're called buchty, kolachy or buchteln.  They can be open-faced or stuffed with anything from jam and nut paste to cheese.

Rick Rodgers covers Buchty in Kaffeehaus too.  His recipe is similar to mine with only a couple of exceptions--raisins in the filling, baking the buns tight together like cinnamon rolls.

I like them baked separately like cookies.  They are easier to transport and to serve.  The golden crust also keeps them moist inside for much longer.

What Happened:
This is probably one of the easiest yeast doughs you'll find.  It's quick to put together and the rise time is relatively short.  You're not going to spend your whole day babysitting these.  Shaping is easy because the dough is really forgiving it just keeps rising and rising.  You can either refrigerate the shaped rolls for a next morning bake or freeze them for sometime down the road.

It takes about 3 minutes to throw together the filling, so it's best to do that just before you put them in the oven.

Things I would change:
  • More zest in the dough.  I really like the lemon essence to be throughout the bun and not just in the filling.
  • Bake until barely golden.  This goes against the standard rule of thumb "the more golden, the fuller the flavor."  In this case it can toughen the bun slightly.  Get color, but just a little.
  • Try other citrus flavors too--orange, lime, grapefruit 
The Result:
It's no secret that I ADORE these.  I lean toward the blander breakfast items--toast, plain croissant, cornflakes.  I'm not big on the syrupy bear claw or oozing chocolate croissant in the morning.  My tongue can't take sweet first thing.  But I'm all over the Viennese Lemon Bun.  It's doughy and creamy (I never turn down creamy) with a hint of tart lemon.  Sweet doesn't even enter my thoughts although I know they are.  For me this is the perfect breakfast pastry.

The buns usually are best the day you make them, but you can put them in the microwave for just a brief blast the next day to restore their chewy-goodness.

Viennese Lemon Buns
yield = 24-28

 4 t  yeast
3/4 c  warmed milk (110° to 115°)
1/2 c  sugar
1/2 c  butter, softened
1 t  salt
1T  lemon zest
3  eggs
4-1/2 to 5 c  flour

8 oz  mascarpone cheese
1/4 c  sugar
1  egg
1/8 t  almond extract
1 t  lemon zest

1) In the bowl of the mixer, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add sugar, butter,  lemon peel, eggs and 2 cups of flour; beat with paddle attachment until smooth.  Cover with a towel and let sit for 15 minutes. 

2) Add salt and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. It will pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Change to dough hook and knead on medium speed for 3-4 minutes.  The dough should be soft, but smooth and elastic as well.

3) Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 75 minutes.

4) Pour dough onto the counter. Divide in half, then cut each half into 12 pieces.  Shape pieces into tight balls and place 3-inches apart on parchment  lined baking sheets. Flatten each ball to a 3-inch circle. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.  (OR, cover tightly with greased plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight)

5) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (Pull buns from refrigerator while the oven heats)

6) In a small bowl, beat all filling ingredients until smooth. Make a large depression in center of each roll; add a tablespoon of filling (use all the filing you make--the buns will expand when baking and you'll want enough filling to get some in every bite). 

7) Bake for 10-15 minutes or until LITE golden brown. Rotate pan halfway through baking time so they brown evenly.  Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.


  1. Anonymous18 June, 2011

    Having been the recipient of the breakfast order I can tell you these are fabulous and yummy. They are a perfect sweetness for morning with coffee and a great texture. Just wonderful

  2. Anonymous19 June, 2011

    these are for me! another wonderful lemon delight.