Have you ever made homemade bread? If you have, you’ll know homemade bread is good for so many reasons. For starters, it makes your house smell amazing. One batch of bread and your house will feel like a bakery. Second, you get bread as fresh as it gets. Straight from the oven. The smell will seduce you to dig in straight away. Just take care you won’t burn your tongue (although I’d almost say it’s worth it hehe…). Third, you get to control the ingredients. Whole wheat flour? Less salt? You got it! Adapt the recipe to your liking. Finally,
kneading dough is an awesome workout. You get to do some baking and you get to train those muscles at the same time! Need I say more?
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one of my favorites: Pigs in a blanket. Pigs in a blanket are hotdogs (pork, hence the “pig”) wrapped in a breaddough. You could actually call my recipe “Chicken in a blanket”, because I used chicken sausages instead of pork hotdogs. 🙂
For the dough, you need to start with the water roux (or water paste), because the paste needs time to cool down. The water roux is super simple to make. First, you will mix the flour in cold water in a small saucepan. Mixing before heating the mixture will prevent lumps from forming. Then, you will place the small saucepan on your stove and heat while stirring until you get a thick consistency. You will know the mixture is ready, when the whisk leaves clear tracks in the roux. The mixture should be around 65°C at this stage. Transfer it to a bowl, wrap it with cling film and let it cool to lukewarm.
Then, you’ll start with the actual dough. Start by sifting all the dry ingredients onto a pile and create a well in the middle. Add the eggs and water roux in the middle and mix the wet and dry ingredients together starting from the middle. Then, you will add lukewarm water. Depending on your dry ingredients, the amount you will add could vary from 80 to 120 mL. Just add a little at a time and stop adding when your dough is slightly sticky. Knead and throw the dough until you reach the membrane-state. In this state the dough should be able to be stretched to a paper thin (membrane) state. Then, you’ll add your butter one cube at a time. At first, your dough will look like it’s to sticky. But keep kneading and it will come together. I promise.
After you finish the dough-workout, you will have to place the dough in a bowl with a little bit of vegetable oil to prevent the dough from drying out. Prove the dough until it doubles in size. This should take about 1 hour in a warm and humid environment. Now, if you live in a cold country (for example, The Netherlands 😉 ) this could be somewhat challenging at times. However, I learned this super nice tip a couple years ago that changed my bread baking! It’s a “How-to” for creating your own proving cabinet (just like the fancy onces in bakeries). You’ll need just a couple items:
1. A large pot
2. An oven
3. A heat proof bowl
To make your proving cabinet, fill the pot with boiling water. Place this pot at the bottom of your oven. Then, place the heat proof bowl (with your dough) on a rack in the middle of the oven. Close your oven and don’t open it for at least one hour. The steam will create the perfect conditions for proving: a warm and humid environment.
After the first prove, punch your dough down, divide it into 16 equal balls and shape your buns. To shape your buns, use whatever technique you’d like. In the photo above, you’ll see how to create the pigs-in-a-blanket-style. However, feel free to shape whatever way you like. Just make sure your shapes are equal sizes, so they’ll bake evenly in the oven. Place all your buns on a baking tray. Take into account that the buns double in size after proving. Put your baking tray at a warm spot in your house or put it in the homemade proving cabinet. Once again, prove until double in size (approximately 1 hour).
When your buns are ready for baking, brush some egg wash on top to get that beautiful golden brown color. Bake the buns for 12-15 minutes. The time will depend on your oven. Cool the buns slightly (and maybe take some snapshots) before digging in one of your fragrant, soft and fluffy pigs in a blanket!
- 25 gram bread flour
- 125 mL water
- 375 gram bread flour
- 100 gram plain flour
- 35 gram milk powder
- 50 gram caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 sachet instant dry yeast (7g)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- water roux from 25 gram bread flour
- 100 mL lukewarm water
- 75 gram butter, cubed
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a saucepan, dissolve the bread flour in the water.
- While stirring, heat the flour mixture to 65°C.*
- Transfer the roux to a bowl, cover loosely with cling film and let it cool completely.
- Sift the flour, plain flour, milk powder, sugar, salt and yeast on your work space and form a well in the mixture.
- Add the eggs and water roux. Mix the wet ingredients in the dry mixture.
- Add enough water to the dough to form a slightly sticky and soft dough.**
- Knead and throw the dough until you get a smooth and elastic dough (membrane state). This should take about 10-20 minutes.
- Knead the butter in the dough until incorporated one cube at a time.
- Form the dough into a round ball and prove 1 hour or until doubled in size.***
- Punch the dough down, knead briefly and form into a ball. Divide into 16 equal balls and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Shape and fill the buns. Prove for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- For the egg wash, whisk egg and water until combined.
- Brush the buns with egg wash.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes in a preheated oven of 190°C or until golden brown.
- Let the buns cool slightly before serving.
- * If you don't have a thermometer, this is the stage at which the roux thickens and the whisk leaves streaks.
- ** You might not need 100 mL water. This varies per dough.
- *** For homemade steaming cabinet read instruction in text.