Doesn’t that sound like a blockbuster starring butter, sea salt and flour!
Rustic breads are my favourite, containing only flour, water, yeast and salt. In India, we generally do not use fortified flour or flour with high protein content which is required for such buns (such as T65 bread flour). The common options available for home bakers here are wheat or maida. Wheat flour adds to the aroma and the taste of breads and is a healthier option visavis maida, so I use it generously in my recipes.
Straight Dough vs Sponge Method
In Straight dough method we add yeast directly and knead the dough, then we ferment the dough, deflate it on rising, shape and prove it for baking.
In Sponge method, we make a sponge/dough starter with some flour, water and yeast and then add the remaining flour mixture and leave it aside for a few hours. Thereafter the dough is mixed and bread is made.
The Sponge method the breads get a sour flavor if the sponge is set aside for a longer period. We can also do long fermentation in the refrigerator.
In today’s bake ie. Sacaduros, I am using Sponge method and also using wheat flour (generally buns are made using all purpose or bread flour or maida) for flavor and as always to give the recipe a healthy twist.
Are they some kind of Artisan Buns?!
Baker Eli cordeiro, who comes from Brazil is famous for creating these unusual little rolls called Sacaduros. These interesting buns get their name from the Portuguese word saca – which means to take out, and duro – which means hard. As the name goes these small buns have a crisp hard crust when taken out of the oven and are soft from inside.
What’s special about them?
The dough here is that of artisan breads ie. we make a sponge first and do not make a dough directly. Here we are not following the straight dough method. We make a dough starter/pre ferment which helps in developing flavorful rustic breads in just a few hours. This method also helps in getting better texture and makes the buns moist from inside. It is almost like sourdough breads in taste and structure.
Shaping the buns
Each bun/bread is filled with a tiny cube of butter and fleur de sel (sea salt). The dough is pinched and folded to form a tidy little bundle; it is then inverted into a bed of flour. During baking- seam/fold side up-it unfolds a little, forming irregular petals. The golden crust is crunchy, the crumb soft and moist and in the center is the tiny treat of a special filling of butter and salt.
DOUGH STARTER (SPONGE)
Wheat Flour- ¾ cup ( 120gms)
Maida or Bread flour or all purpose flour- ½ cup (65 gms)
Instant yeast- ½ tsp
Honey- 1 tsp
Water( at room temperature) 1&1/3 cup(320 grams)
Wheat Flour- 1cup (about 160gms)
Maida or Bread flour or all purpose flour- 1cup (130 gms)
Instant yeast- ½ tsp
Salt- 1&1/2 tsp(10 grams)
For the Filling: Butter and sea salt/ salt crystals
Whisk together the above ingredients of Dough Starter for about two minutes (to incorporate air) into a thick batter. Cover it well (preferably with a plastic wrap) and leave it aside for 4 to 8 hours.
Combine the ingredients of the Flour Mixture by whisking them properly and scoop it onto the Sponge to cover it well. Then cover the bowl tightly with a plastic wrap. It can be put aside for 1 hour (and up to 4 hours). You will see the sponge bubbling through the flour mix.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes so that gluten starts building. Cover this sticky dough with an inverted glass bowl so that it rests and can be handled easily. Then after 20 minutes again knead for 5 minutes. Now it will be very smooth and easily stretchable.
Let the dough rise for an hour or so to double in volume in a lightly greased bowl. Then gently deflate, flatten on a lightly floured kitchen top/ counter. Take about 2-tablespoon (about 30 grams) pieces of dough, keeping the remaining dough covered with a kitchen towel, and shape each one into a 1 &1/2 inch ball. Prepare a tray with flour(bed) to keep the shaped Sacaduros after shaping.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius 30 minutes before baking time. Put an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it and a cast-iron skillet or sheet pan on the floor of the oven, before preheating. If you do not have a cast iron skillet or baking stone, do not worry, just use a spray bottle to create some steam when baking starts.
Fill and shape the buns (as shown below). Gently flatten the dough into a 2-inch disk. Place a small butter cube and a pinch of fleur de sel (sea salt) in the center. Gently but firmly pull 2 opposite edges of the dough, fold them over the center of the filling, and press down in the center just enough to seal in the dough but not very tightly as it should open up during baking. Pull the two other sides of the dough out and fold them over in the center, pressing as before to secure the dough. Repeat the process two more times with the pointed edges, this time with little dough pinched and pulled out.
Turn the rolls upside down in the flour pan. Prove for 30 minutes and then bake.
To bake them lift ball of dough out of the flour bed and, without dusting it off, set it flour side up on the prepared baking pan. Quickly but gently set the pan on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet. Some steam is to be created in the oven, so either spray water on the buns or toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes beneath the pan in a skillet or tray and immediately shut the door. Bake for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to 190 to 200 Celsius and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes or until the rolls are golden ( To be precise, the thermometer inserted in the center of a roll should read at least 90 degree celsius). Halfway through baking, turn the pan around for even baking.
Cool the buns. Remove the bus from the oven and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. They last easily for a week if stored in an airtight container in refrigerator wrapped in a cotton cloth.
Tips for artisan breads/buns
- If kneading by hand keep aside 2 tbsp of flour and use it for handling the dough, if sticky.
- Can use fresh sourdough starter in this recipe.
- Can keep aside the sponge (step 2) for 8 to 12 hours to get a sour taste.
- For full flavour loaf/buns , keep aside the sponge (step 2) for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerater, after keeping it outside.
- Can replace wheat flour with buckwheat flour in the flour mixture.
- Reduce water quantity, a little, for a firmer dough, (yet an excellent bread/ buns will be the outcome).
Experience artisan baking without sourdough starter : The process of making the Sponge and then moving on to add the remaining flour to knead the dough is an interesting experience. It is a short cut to sourdough breads without real starter. The flavor and structure gives one a glimpse of the sourdough breads. No sooner you start kneading the dough it becomes smooth and manageable. The buns are delicious with butter and salt inside.