Buns n' Bagels

Buns n' Bagels


Yesterday, my colleague told me about a legendary architect her friend works for – a Japanese lady who doesn't need to eat. As in, she finds eating unnecessary and a complete waste of time. The thought of someone who doesn't enjoy food just pains me, because while we were discussing this very "special" lady, I could not stop thinking about my Saturday brunch date.


My friends an I are running the Standard Charter 10km race tomorrow, and decided we will carb-load today. Preparation started the night before with a basic brioche dough from Joanne Chang's Flour cookbook. I let it rest in the fridge overnight. The rest is done the next morning along with the bagels.


We made a beautiful spread with all the fixings, accompanied by good coffee and silly laughs over food puns. So come on crazy architect, don't go bagel my heart and come join us at the quality food time club!



Makes 10 large or 12 medium bagels. Adapted from this recipe.

336g King Arthur unbleached bread flour plus enough Waitrose strong wholemeal bread wheat flour to make 530g (the original recipe asks for 530g bread flour)
7g instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cup or 340g hot water
1 1/2 tablespoons honey or sugar
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water (optional, for toppings)

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed, about 5 seconds, until combined. With the mixer running, slowly add the water; mix until dough comes together and continue at medium speed until dough becomes satiny and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. After dough has risen but before you divide and shape it, prepare your water bath: Add the honey or sugar to 6 quarts of water over high heat and let it come to a boil as you continue with the following steps. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F /205°C with a baking stone.
  4. After dough has doubled in bulk, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and press down with your fingers to expel the gases. Divide dough into 10 equal portions, or 12 if you want smaller bagels.
  5. Ball a portion of dough, then roll it into a “rope” about 7 inches long and about 1 inch thick. You may taper the ends slightly so they “stick” better.
  6. Wrap the dough around the back of your hand, overlapping the ends in your palm. Place your hand, along with the dough, palm-down on the work surface and roll dough back and forth until ends crimp and seal together. Place dough ring under a span of plastic wrap while you repeat rope-and-loop process with remaining dough portions. Tip: You can brush a little water on the ends to help them stick, but this dough is wet enough that it usually comes together without help.
  7. Allow bagels to rise again for 10 minutes. At this point, your honey–water should be boiling. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to carefully add bagels, one at a time, to the water. (Note: no more in the pot than 3 at a time.) Bagels should sink but then rise again after a few seconds. Simmer for 1 minute, flipping bagels at the 30-second mark.
  8. Remove bagels from water with skimmer or slotted spoon to a clean kitchen towel. Pat dry.
  9. Brush bagels with the egg wash and sprinkle your desired toppings. I used a mixture of 4 tsp poppy seeds, 4 tsp sesame seeds, 4 tsp minced garlic, 4 tsp minced onion and 2 tsp kosher salt.
  10. Carefully slide bagels onto the hot pizza stone. Bake until light brown and shiny, 15 to 20 minutes.


Makes 8 buns. Adapted from Joanne Chang’s Flour Cookbook.

For the goo:

1 1/2 sticks (170g) butter
1 1/2 cups (330g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (115g) honey
1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
1/3 cup (80g) water
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup (55g) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup (100g) pecan halves, toasted and chopped

For the brioche dough (you will only need half for the buns):

2 1/4 cups (315g) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups (340g) bread flour
3 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (82g) sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (120g) cold water
6 eggs
310g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10-12 pieces


  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flours, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all of the ingredients have come together.Stop the mixer as needed to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
  2. On low speed, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Then, continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  3. Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat for another 15 minutes, or until the dough becomes sticky, soft and somewhat shiny. It will take some time to come together. When it’s smooth and silky, turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. Test the dough by pulling at it: it should stretch a bit and have a little give.
  4. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  5. For the goo: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar until it dissolves. Remove from heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, and salt. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature. You should have about 2 cups. (The mixture can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
  6. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 16 by 12 inches and 1/4 inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp play-doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half of the pecans. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll as tightly as possible, so you have a nice round spiral. Even off the ends by trimming about 1/4 inch from either side.
  8. Using a bench scraper or a chef’s knife, cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. (At this point the buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.)
  9. Pour the goo into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans over the surface. Place the buns, cut side down and evenly spaced in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to proof for about 2 hours, or until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching.
  10. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F /175°C. Bake for 3 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top.
  11. The buns are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, and then warmed in a 323°F /160°C oven for 6 to 8 minutes before serving.
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