Buttery Sourdough Buns

Directions

  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a stand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased container — an 8-cup measure works well here — and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s just about doubled in bulk.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
  4. Roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle approximately 12″ x 16″. Put 2 tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl, and add the paprika, if desired; it’s there for color, and accentuates the buns’ swirl, but omit it if you wish. Spread the dough with the melted butter.
  5. Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log.
    Cut the log in 1″ slices, using a sharp knife, or a piece of dental floss looped between your fingers.
  6. Lightly grease two 8″ or 9″ round cake pans. Arrange 8 buns in each pan.
  7. Cover the pans, and let the buns rise for 60 minutes, until they’re noticeably puffy. Don’t let these buns rise too long; you want them to have enough rising power left to expand nicely in the oven. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  8. Uncover the pans, and brush each bun with some of the remaining melted butter.
  9. Bake the buns for 22 to 25 minutes; they’ll color only slightly.
  10. Remove the buns from the oven, and turn them out of the pan onto a rack. Brush with any remaining melted butter. Serve hot or warm. To reheat, place the buns on a baking sheet, tent lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven.
  11. Wrap any leftover buns airtight, and store at room temperature for several days. For longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze.
  12. Yield: 16 buns.

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