I’ve been asked to make these buns for quite some time now. The reason I haven’t lately is that after all the buns are devoured, I come to the realization I had ingested a pound of bacon. But there is something truly addicting about bacon.
You hear of lapsed vegetarians tasting real, pork bacon for the first time and becoming obsessed with its crispy, salty goodness. We each have our own personally developed taste preferences. So how is it that practically everyone I’ve met loves bacon? On a chemical level during the Maillard reaction, amino acids and sugars in bacon fat create distinctive flavor compositions when they reach a certain level of heat during the cooking process. Are we our taste buds just one chemical reaction away from pure bliss?
But regardless of why we love bacon. Bacon is bacon and it tastes damn good. And nothing goes better with bacon than some onions, cooked in bacon drippings of course. Your apartment will smell terribly delicious after you make these buns. While my recipe makes 24 small (about 3 – 4 bite) buns, I sometimes joke that I should make one huge bun using up all the dough and filling. I’m sure that will set some type of record for bacon filled food. You’d probably need a knife and fork to eat it in that case. But for the less ambitious, the serving size below, or even used to make slightly larger 1 dozen or 18 – 20 buns, is perfectly reasonable.
-For the Dough-
- Mix the sugar and yeast into the warm water and let sit for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl or bread machine insert, add the water mixture, flour and salt.
- Create the dough and let rise for about 2 hours, or use the dough cycle on the bread machine. Set aside.
-For the Filling-
- Cook the bacon according to package instructions and reserve the bacon drippings.
- In a dutch oven or large pan, warm a few tablespoons of the bacon drippings and cook the diced onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. You may need to cook the onions in batches depending on the size of your dutch oven or pan.
- Chop the cooked bacon so they are finely diced.
- In a large bowl, mix together the bacon and onions with some salt and pepper to taste.
-For the Assembly-
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes and divide into 24 pieces.
- Also divide the filling into 24 servings. This will be about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons per bun.
- Flatten or roll each dough piece into a round about 4″ – 5″ in diameter.
- Scoop some filling and place it in the center of the round.
- Join the edged together in the middle to form a bun shape.
- Place joined edge side down on a floured baking sheet.
- Repeat until the dough and filling are used up.
- Cover buns with saran wrap and let rise for about 1 hour.
-For the Baking-
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Brush the tops of each bun with some egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds.
- Bake on middle rack for about 15 – 18 minutes.
While I love the smell of bacon, I don’t like it in my clothes. And in our tiny NYC apartments, I’m sure you’ve experienced the smell of your cooked food getting all over your apartment. So I refer broiling bacon to frying it out in the open on the stove. And remember to close your closet doors and bedroom doors. Opening windows on opposite sides of your apartment will also help clearing the smell of bacon.
I like the crispiness of bacon but I also want to taste some meatiness in the filling. I also don’t like bacon cured using salt and the addition of nitrates. I opt for thicker cut, smoked, uncured and nitrate free bacon. It sounds like a mouthful, but they’re not hard to find. Specially, I used Trader Joe’s Uncured and Nitrate Free Applewood Smoked Bacon Ends & Pieces for this dish. The Applewood smokiness gets into the bacon drippings, which I used to cook the onions. So there was a great, smokey flavor to the filling.