Onion & Bacon Rolls

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Onion & Bacon Rolls

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Published prior to 2008

This recipe was inspired by one in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads, a wonderful compendium of international breads. Ausytes, a Lithuanian specialty, are soft, tender buns, filled with a savory mixture of bacon and onions. We can see these rolls accompanying cauliflower-cheese soup; or serve them at breakfast, with scrambled eggs.

1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) melted butter
2 large eggs, 1 separated (1 whole plus 1 egg white for the dough; 1 yolk for the glaze)
3 3/4 cups (16 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) rye flour (white, medium or pumpernickel) OR whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 pound bacon
2 large onions, chopped (about 18 ounces, 4 cups)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt (if needed, depending on the saltiness of the bacon)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
poppy seeds (optional)

Manual/Mixer Method: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. (If you're using a stand mixer, use the flat beater for this step.) Cover the bowl and let this shaggy mass rest for 15 minutes or so, to absorb the liquid and make it easier to knead.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased or floured surface, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it's smooth and shiny. Or knead it in a mixer, using the dough hook. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or rising bucket, turn to coat, cover the container with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for 1 hour, or until it's increased its volume by at least a third.

Bread Machine Method: Place all the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer (usually, liquids first, yeast last). Program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Check the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle and adjust its consistency as necessary by adding additional milk or flour to form a soft, smooth ball. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Filling: While the dough is rising, make the filling. Cut the bacon into 1/4-inch pieces (a pair of scissors works well here). Place the bacon into a large saute pan and cook until it just begins to become crisp. Pour off as much of the fat as you can, add the chopped onions, and cook until they're golden brown. Stir in the mustard seeds, paprika and ground black pepper. Taste the filling, and add a bit of salt if needed. Set the filling aside.

Assembly: Turn the risen dough out onto a very lightly greased or floured work surface, knead it briefly to expel any excess carbon dioxide, and form the dough into a rough log. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a loose ball, cover the balls, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

With a rolling pin or the palm of your hand, flatten the balls into 4-inch circles. Flour the work surface, rolling pin, and your hand as needed.

Place a generous teaspoon of filling into the center of each piece of dough. Pull the dough "pouch" up around the filling, pleating and pinching the top to seal well. Place these pouches seam-side-down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, or into a 9 x 13-inch pan, leaving about 1 inch between them. Cover and let the rolls rise until very puffy looking, about 1 hour (if your kitchen is warm; longer if they're in a cool spot).

Topping: In a small bowl, beat the reserved egg yolk with the tablespoon of oil. Brush this mixture over the tops of the rolls and, if desired, sprinkle the rolls with poppy seeds.

Baking: Bake the rolls in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove the rolls from the oven and allow them to cool briefly on a rack. Serve the rolls warm. Yield: 16 rolls.

Nutrition information per serving (1 roll, 109g): 233 cal, 9g fat, 8g protein, 28g complex carbohydrates, 2g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 43mg cholesterol, 343mg sodium, 197mg potassium, 40RE vitamin A, 5mg vitamin C, 2mg iron, 32mg calcium, 113mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XIII, No. 2, Winter 2002 issue.