Way back in 2018 I did a breadmaker version of my mom’s Latvian bacon buns. I divided the recipe in half and they turned out great. Being back home in Toronto in my sister’s kitchen spending time with family and friends, I just knew I had to make them again and make them like mom used to make them. How often do you make a recipe with NINE and a HALF cups of flour?! As a result I used my sister’s mixer but if you have the hand and upper body strength, feel free to make this old school style. RESPECT!
BTW they really did end up adding a specialness to the holidays and please note, do not be tempted to add salt to the onions and bacon or play around too much with the coffee glaze. I did with the second batch and lost the foodie magic. Follow the recipe. You will not be sorry. It is a classic for a reason. You do not mess with perfection.
The Original Recipe
My printout is clearer and has some additional instructions plus I actually cook the bacon ahead of time which drove Mom crazy.
Making The Dough
For the dough you will need 3 cups scalded 1% milk, 3/4 cup + 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 1 cup cooking oil (I used Canola), 3 eggs, 2 pkg (4 1/2 tsp) traditional yeast and 9 1/2 cup flour.
Add yeast and 1 tsp of sugar to lukewarm water and let bloom for 5 minutes.
Scald milk. You want to have a few bubbles around the edge and steam coming up from the milk. Do not make it too hot. It should just be above body temperature.
Stir together oil, sugar, eggs and salt.
Add hot milk, yeast then flour and knead for 10 minutes.
As you can see the mixer barely could contain the flour so add it slowly!
FYI this is NOT easy to clean! The dough went right up into the mixer, LOL. I am convinced this recipe is the only reason why my mom had a mixer in the first place. She never baked but once a year, maybe every other year, and would make this recipe with her white and olive green Braun mixer. It is a BEAST of a recipe.
Place in a greased bowl and flip so dough is coated.
Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise double its size by putting in a preheated 150F-200F oven that has been turned off. This creates a proofer.
While dough is rising, make filling.
For the filling you will need at least 2 lbs of finely chopped bacon (I ran out so I would go for 3), freshly ground black pepper and 2 finely chopped onions.
In a large pan fry bacon and onions in a little hot oil over medium low heat. You do NOT want to brown the bacon, you just want it cooked and well seasoned with black pepper.
Put on plates covered in paper towel to remove the excess fat. Let cool to room temperature.
The coffee glaze is so important to this recipe. It is often omitted from recipes so no one’s bacon buns taste as good as yours! It is the secret sauce to taking these buns over the top. I used some leftover warm coffee, added quite a bit of sugar to it as well as some instant espresso. Not too much! I made that mistake too which made it bitter. You want the glaze to be very sweet so do a taste check just to be sure.
Making The Buns
Punch down the dough.
Quarter the dough.
Cut quarter piece of dough into 15 pieces. Fifteen pieces?! Mom!!! That made dividing the dough complicated. I never got the sizes totally right (see above) so the next batch I divided them into 16 pieces to keep the sizes equal.
Roll each piece into a ball and flatten into a circle. Try and really stuff the buns. The less stuffing? The less flavour. I found out the hard way one year.
Put filling in centre and fold over once enclosing bacon and onion.
Seal by cutting excess off edges with a glass.
Baking The Buns
Put together an egg wash by whisking 1 tbsp of water with 1 egg.
Place buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash.
Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. It took around 18 minutes for my batch.
Brush with sweet strong black coffee. Put on cooling rack.
Cover with warm clean towels while cooling.
Repeat until they are all done!
The wonderful thing about this recipe is it makes a ton of these super tasty, soft and flavourful bacon and onion buns. Sweet and smoky on the outside.
Peppery, oniony, bacony on the inside. For me, these taste like home. They taste like happiness.
Yes, they are time consuming so start in the earlier part of the day and be prepared to sit at the kitchen table for a couple of hours at night as you roll them out, fill them and pop them in the oven. Not something I would make every day but for my family for the holidays? I just can not say no and… I have some extra dough in the freezer so next time I pick up some bacon, I can make them whenever I want.
The foodie gift that keeps on giving.