I’ve been whining to people about the sad lack of rhubarb in my life for weeks. Months even. All over the internet I saw baking blogs post their favorite rhubarb recipes, and there I was. Stuck in a country where the weather’s been too bad to produce an early rhubarb harvest. Until last week, where I finally got my first batch of rhubarb. My whining’s sorta kinda come back in my face though, because now I have more rhubarb than I know what to do with. It’s fine though. I made these lovely soft buns with rhubarb and apple, and a rhubarb upside-down cake that was to die for. I’ll need to bake some more this weekend – get rid of my stash.
So you’ve been warned for future rhubarb posts! (I got the idea for these buns here – the blog is in Polish but the pictures are lovely!)
500 grams of bread flour
25 grams of yeast (if using dry, which I don’t recommend, use 12,5 grams)
7 grams of salt
250 grams of milk
63 grams of good butter
1 rhubarb stalk
1 vanilla bean
What to do
Peal the apple and wash the rhubarb. Cut them up into pieces of roughly the same size. Rub them with the vanilla from the bean. Bake in an oven at 190°C for about 25 minutes. Leave them to cool, get happy about how pretty everything looks because of the black dots from the vanilla – and about how amazing everything smells.
To make the buns: Put the flour into a large mixing bowl. Dig a little hole in the middle and crumble your yeast in here. Sprinkle your salt at the edge of your bowl. (It can’t touch the yeast. Salt, sugar, fat and heat kill yeast.) Pour your egg on top of the yeast and mix it with your fingers, dissolving the yeast. Add your (slightly heated to body temperature) milk a little at a time, mixing/rubbing at the yeast until it’s all dissolved. Bit by bit mix in the flour. Once you’ve added half the milk you’re gonna mix in the butter. Warm the butter in your hand first, making sure it completely dissolves/melts into your batter. Add the rest of the milk and make sure you’ve got a nice dough going on. If it’s too wet: add more flour, if it’s too dry: add more milk. You know if it’s wet enough, not by how wet the dough feels, but how firm it feels. Your dough shouldn’t be tough when you squeeze it, but nice and soft.
Knead the dough for a good ten minutes, then leave it to rest for 15 minutes under a towel. Divide into 35 gram portions and shape into little balls. (Flatten the piece of dough with your hand, keep a lot of pressure on it and circle your hand over the dough, on your counter . Roll a ball like that, releasing the pressure at the end so you get a smooth exterior.) Put your buns on a baking tray and leave them to rest/rise for another 15 minutes under a towel. Now we’re gonna add the apple and rhubarb. I used a spoon to kind of dent in the buns and scoop up some of the fruit. Put your baking tray in your microwave (if you have one) and let them rise in there for 60 minutes. If you don’t have one, let them rise in a warm-ish damp spot like your bathroom, or near a radiator, under a towel.
Bake the buns for about 7 minutes in a preheated oven of 220°C.