Tag Archives: Sandwich

A Bun In The Oven (and a Recipe for Sandwich Buns)

I’m so excited to finally share this news with you–someone’s got a bun in the oven, and I’ll let you guess who it is!

What?! No, not me!  Fritz and I are still students, living on loans and a tight budget.  Let’s get serious, please!

Yes–it’s my beautiful, wise, and soon mommy-to-be big sister, Erin:

Isn’t that just the cutest baby belly you have ever seen?  That was taken two weeks ago, and now Erin is at 13 weeks and says her belly is growing more every day.  Meet Sprout (otherwise known as Dub):

I know.  I can’t believe that I’m going to be a first-time aunt–and with great power comes great responsibility (…what?).  Henry has been carefully stockpiling his favorite toys under the oven to share when his little cousin comes around for the first time, Fritz has a pile of baby toothbrushes and dental instructions ready to go (especially since Sprout is already developing his teeth!), and I have been busily scheming ways to steal the favorite auntie crown from my other sisters via baked goods and sweet treats (back off, ladies!).

So to show solidarity between my big sis and I, I decide to bake some buns in my own oven.  The kind of buns that don’t need to be carried around for 40 weeks or fed and clothed once they’re finished baking.

The Best Sandwich Buns (from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)

  • 5 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 pkgs dry yeast (that’s 4 1/2 t, you guys)
  • 1 T salt (I used a teensy bit less)
  • 2 T butter, room temperature
  • 2 C hot water
  • Milk to brush on top
  • sesame seeds or poppy seeds (or both!) to garnish

As a side note–Erin used to have bread baking fits when we were in high school, and would make approximately 20 loaves of the best white bread ever in a few hours that the family would frantically consume before nightfall.  So the smell of any yeasted bread rising always makes me think of her.  That lucky Sprout, man.

In the bowl of your mixer, add 2 C flour, the salt, and the yeast, and briefly mix to combine.  While mixing with the flat beater, add the butter and hot water, continuing to mix until a smooth batter forms.  Add the remaining flour 1/2 C at a time until the dough forms a shaggy mass–it’s okay if you don’t use all five cups, I ended at 4 1/2.

Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 8 minutes, sprinkling in a little flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the sides (it should form a ball around the dough hook, but still be soft and a little sticky to the touch).  Lightly grease a bowl, then place the dough in it, cover tightly with Saran wrap, and move to a warm place to rise until doubled in size (this is quick–about a half an hour).

I always put rising dough in our bedroom closet.  It’s so hot in there!  Is that weird?

Once the dough is ready, place it on a floured surface and divide into 12 parts (this recipe makes a dozen large buns).  Shape each one into a ball, then cover in wax paper to rest for a few minutes.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper in the meantime.  Once they’ve sufficiently rested, flatten them into circles about four inches in diameter and lay them on the parchment paper.

Cover them with wax paper and allow them to rise for another 30-35 minutes, until they are soft and puffy-looking.  Preheat the oven 20 minutes before baking to 400 degrees.  Right before the buns go in, brush the tops with milk and sprinkle them with sesame or poppy seeds (or both!).

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are a light golden brown.  If you aren’t sure if they are done (the tops will still look pretty light), flip them over and check to see if the bottoms are browned.  If they are, take ’em out and let them cool on a rack.

These really are the perfect sandwich buns–and I know, because Fritz is super picky about having the ideal ratio of bread to sandwich innards, and he ate two different sandwiches for dinner, very enthusiastically.

The buns have a satisfying crunch on the outside but are so soft and fluffy on the inside.  They taste of yeast, salt, and seeds but don’t distract from the sandwich.  And that is the mark of a prime sandwich bun.

Plus, Bernard Clayton says that you can freeze these babies for up to a year!  So if you have a picky sandwich bread eater (ahem, Fritz!), it might be worth your while to make a double batch and put them away for special occasions.

And if you have the other kind of bun in the oven, I’m really super excited for you…but it’s not going to be as cute as my future niece or nephew.  Sorry, but genetics are a powerful thing!

Oh, and speaking of additions to the family, Fritz and I picked up a coffee table on sale (thank you Labor Day!) at the thrift store for $12!

That’s the only kind of addition we’ll be adding to our family anytime soon (the fluffy orange cat has been put on hold for the time being).  Nieces and nephews are always welcome, though!

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Green Apple Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I forgot all about this recipe until very recently.  It’s nothing too exciting; in fact, it’s the perfect example of “you can’t go wrong with the classics” and “less is more”.

My love for chicken salad sandwiches started when I was in middle school–there was a small cafe that opened in my hometown within walking distance of campus.  My friend Meghan actually worked there for a while, and we used to absolutely rave about their chicken salad, which were best when served on toasted bagels.  The best part about the salad was that it was studded with pieces of tangy and sweet green apple.

I’ve adapted this recipe over the years, and yesterday’s version was by far the best.  And that was a happy accident.

Fritz grilled some chicken for us yesterday, and we had three breasts all frozen together.  I told him to defrost all three, grill one, and I’d use two of them the next day for chicken salad.  He thought I meant he should grill all three of them, and when he coated them in a thin layer of BBQ sauce, I thought the resulting chicken salad might be a little too weird.

Wrong.

It was so good!  The smoky BBQ sauce was only a pretty thin layer on the chicken, and it actually worked perfectly for this recipe–you could hardly taste it, but what you could was a perfect addition to the basic chicken salad taste.

Green Apple Chicken Salad Sandwiches (this makes enough for four hearty sandwiches, but you could easily multiply this recipe!)

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1-2 T of your favorite BBQ sauce (we used a mesquite flavor)
  • 1/2 tart green apple (such as Granny Smith)
  • 1/3-1/4 C mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste

It doesn’t take a genius to make most recipes–this one included.

Grill the chicken over high heat, coating once with a thin layer of BBQ sauce.  If you a BBQ sauce lover, then you can add more, but I really would suggest going light.  You want to taste the actual chicken in this salad.

Once it’s cooled (I usually use leftover chicken, so this is an even easier summer recipe), cut into small chunks–about 1/2″ big or a tad bit smaller.  Dice the apple (I like the apple pieces to be about the same size as the chicken, but you can go smaller if you want less crunch and more homogeneity in every bite) and mix.

Stir in the mayonnaise, going a spoonful at a time.  I normally hate mayonnaise, but this recipe really does it for me.  As long as I wash my hands 100 times after eating it (is there anything worse than the smell of mayonnaise on your hands?).  However, the last thing you want to do is add too much mayonnaise, ’cause you can’t take it back.

Season with salt and pepper–we actually didn’t have to add any to this particular recipe, but sometimes I add a generous sprinkle of black pepper and a small amount of salt; it does depend on how salty your mayonnaise is, though!

Serve on toasted sesame buns, or bagels, or even plain white bread.

To each his own, you know.  Although I personally feel the bread needs to be toasted for appropriate enjoyment.

Fritz said this was the best version of this recipe I’ve made, and I credit the BBQ sauce incident.  Well done, Fritz.

I also made this salad for some friends of ours lately, and they also liked it.  It’s perfect for a hot summer day (hello heat wave this week!) when you can’t even contemplate turning on the oven, or if you have some leftover chicken you need to use up.

I also make a turkey/cranberry version after Thanksgiving.  Instead of apples, sometimes I use green grapes.  Try anything!

We served it with edamame.  Isn’t it so fun to eat edamame out of the pods?  Sometimes I buy it already shelled, and it’s just not as satisfying.  Too bad, ’cause it’s more expensive in the pods.

We pick up our CSA box in a few hours!  I can’t wait–looks like I can expect to see red boston lettuce, a lettuce mix, arugala, baby spinach, garlic scrapes, swiss chard, and red beets.  Heavy on the lettuce, but that’s expected this early in the season, and perfect since I’ve been having a green monster every morning and going through spinach super fast!

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Meatless Monday: Vegetarian “Tuna” (Chickpea) Salad

Oh, hello Monday.  It’s so lovely to see you again.

Not.

Ah well.  Here it is.  And since it’s late, I’m going to quickly share with you our Meatless Monday lunch, and then I’m going right to bed.

When I was in college, one of my good friends was a vegetarian.  This was really the first time I was in close proximity to a real-live-practicing-since-fourth-grade vegetarian, and I experienced a lot of interesting (sometimes weird–but not weirder than how I eat now) foods that she ate.  One of these was a “vegetarian tuna salad”.  Now, I don’t like real tuna salad very much, but I love chickpeas and every permutation of them, so this was an instant hit.  Her version of this is probably very different than what I came up with at seven this morning, but mine turned out great regardless.  Fritz ate this for lunch too, and was happy enough with how it tasted.

He has a real tuna salad sandwich for tomorrow, though.

Vegetarian “Tuna” (Chickpea) Salad

  • 2 C chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 T mayonnaise (we use low-fat, or something like that)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and smash ’em.  You could puree them in a food processor, but I like the texture you get from smashin’.  Then make this into a sandwich, or eat it on bell peppers or pita chips (yum).  I imagine you could add onion (maybe shallots would be better), or relish, or olives (I think I recall black olives in the college version of this) for a more interesting taste.

Fritz made my sandwich with avocado (definitely recommended) and iceberg lettuce topped with a bit of spicy mustard.

Fritz had a more classic sandwich–avocado, iceberg lettuce, and thick slices of a plum tomato.  No mustard for this kid.

Both sandwiches were on a great multigrain bread we’ve finally settled on (we have very different bread tastes–I like as grainy as possible and Fritz would love if I let him eat white bread).  By the way, did you know that Fritz makes my lunch everyday?

Oh yes.  I make sure the house is stocked with easily packable snacks (Fritz: granola bars, yogurt, almonds, trail mix, pears, string cheese and baked goods; me: almonds, yogurt, apples, carrots, tea, sugar snap peas, and whatever else strikes my fancy that week), and he makes the magic happen.  It’s amazing, because I don’t have to get up any earlier (how does it take me an hour to get ready not including lunch prep?).  Fritz is just the best.

The best.

Goodnight!

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