Crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. That is how I would be if I had time to go lay on the Jacksonville Beach, but alas, I remain pale and clammy in my scrubs within the halls of the ICU. So, this is a description of buns only. Bread buns, get your mind out of the gutter.
adapted from the Village Baker
1 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup warm water
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. malt extract or honey
1/2 cup milk scalded and allowed to cool slightly
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cool water
To make sponge: Dissolve sugar in milk after it has cooled. Pour sourdough starter mix into bowl, add flour, milk, and water to the mixture and mix everything together with a wooden spoon. Let rise, covered and in a warm place, for 2 hours.
1 1/2 t. salt
1 cup all purpose flour
all of the sponge from the previous step
poppy seed for topping
Dough: mix salt in with flour and then start adding this dry mixture to the risen sponge by handfuls, mixing it in with a spoon. when you have 1/4 cup flour left and dough has come together somewhat(10 min or so) turn the dough out onto your worktable, and incorporate remaining flour until dough is smooth and satiny about 5-8 min. Round dough into a ball and cover with tea towel. Rise until double. Punch down. Divide into 6 equal pieces and rest 15 min. Brush with olive oil and shape into balls on greased sheet. To shape, first, establish center: Then fold the edges toward the center until you’ve gone all around the circle, maybe five turns.
Let rise until double 30 – 40 min. Brush with water and sprinkle poppy seeds on top and transfer to pre-heated 450 degree baking stone or bake on greased sheet 15-20 min.
Open the oven 5 or 6 times during the baking and spritz with cold water to produce a crisp crust. Or, what I do is put a shallow tray of water on a rack just below the bread, which will steam up the oven space.
Excellent. I can’t explain why, but there is something so satisfying about folding the little flaps of dough upon itself. It feels like you are tucking little bread babies in. Hospital corners on bread bed sheets. Or, like bread origami. Mmm.