A while back, I came across an interesting recipe for jam-filled buns. I learned that jam-filled buns are a traditional treat in Czechoslovakia, I believe, where they are called Buchty. Within the hour, I was in the kitchen whipping up a batch. That happens to me a lot. I loved them. All 40 of them (ok, I may have shared a few and it only seemed like I ate 40 buns).
So I got to thinking that maybe a smaller batch was in order. Maybe in loaf-pan size. That I could pull-apart rather than bake in rows of buns. So I could enjoy more of that tender, flaky “inside” bread, like the kind you get when you pull apart dinner rolls that have been baked close together. And then jam buns would meet pull-apart bread and it would be good. Very, very good.
So this week, I finally had a chance to give it a try and it was everything I had imagined. This recipe will make two loaves of 8 “buns”, so you could use a different kind of jam in each one, if you like. I have to tell you though, few jams can compete with raspberry in these buns (the cherry jam ones were surprisingly underwhelming). I recommend raspberry jam. Trust me.
On first bite, I thought this bread was great, but that maybe the dough needed just a wee bit more sugar and salt. After the 3rd and 4th bite, I realized I was wrong. They were perfect just as they were. It was only my regular consumption of “Western” bread, that is well salted and often sweetened, that made this dough seem lacking at first. It was in fact, wonderfully light and a perfect compliment for the raspberry jam. And I guess that’s why raspberry jam works so perfectly. It’s so full of flavour that it is the perfect foil for the bread.
You can use homemade or store-bought jam for these buns. The only tip I’d have is to make sure that whatever jam you use, it’s thick. These buns are a cinch to shape and the dough handles beautifully, but add runny jam to the mix and you’ll quickly have a bit of a mess.
Don’t skimp on the icing sugar. It does add the sweet in such a lovely, jelly-donut kind of way. I powdered the whole loaf for my photos, but it’s probably best to powder each piece as your eat it or the entire loaf just before serving. If your powder disappears as they sit, just add some more.
Raspberry Jam Filled Pull-Apart Bread
Summary: This will make two loaves of 8 buns each. You can use a different jam for each loaf, if you like, but raspberry is fabulous in these, so I’d recommend that, or a similar high-flavour jam. Be sure to use a thick jam, whichever kind you use. I’ve included both metric and imperial measures. If you have a scale, go with the gram measurements for greater accuracy.
- 325 g (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 50 g (1/2 cup) cake flour, sifted
- 4 g (1 1/2 tsp) instant dry yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 25 g (2 tbsp) white sugar
- (optional: 1/2 tsp. orange zest)
- 240 ml (1 cup) milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
- 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 50 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup thick raspberry jam
- 1 egg, for egg wash
- powdered sugar
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk until steaming and small bubbles form around the edges (not quite to the boil). Remove from heat and let cook to lukewarm.
- Butter or spray two 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pans and set aside (you can use 8×4, if that’s all you have. It will be a little tight lengthwise, but it should work).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl), combine both flours, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the lukewarm milk, eggs, vanilla, vegetable oil (and the orange zest, if using). Mix then knead by hand, or using your mixer. Mix until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky. Add more flour as needed. The more moist your dough is, the more tender your bread will be, so only add enough flour to bring the dough to a point where it can be kneaded (it should be moist, but shouldn’t stick to your hands). Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangle about 16 inches by 16 inches. It should be about 1/2 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter, a pizza cutter, or a knife, cut the dough into 4-inch x 4-inch squares. You’ll have 16 squares.
- Using your index finger, make a small indentation in the centre each square. Place about 1 tsp. of jam in the centre. (*Don’t over-fill or you’ll quickly have a jammy mess on your hands :) To shape, pick up each piece of dough and pinch the opposite sides together, until it’s well sealed. Pinch the sides as well, making sure that all edges are sealed, or your jam will leak out as it cooks. The dough should be sticky enough so that it sticks together well. Note: if you’d like to use two different flavours of jam – one for each loaf – fill 8 rolls with one kind of jam and the other 8 with another kind.
- Repeat these steps until all rolls are made. Place 8 rolls side by side into one of the prepared loaf pans, with the seams down. Repeat with the other 8 rolls in the other pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set to rise another 20-30 minutes. They will rise a bit more.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Before putting in the oven, brush the rolls with an egg wash (1 well beaten egg).
- Bake them for about 22 – 25, until nice and golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped.
- Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edges and remove loaf to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, serve sprinkled with a generous amount of powdered sugar.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 3 hours
Number of servings (yield): 12
Recipe adapted from and inspired by this post from JoCooksYummly