If this is a sign of change, let's hope the changes keep coming.
Yields 14-15 buns
Adapted from Luisa Weiss' My Berlin Kitchen
For the most part, I followed this recipe to the letter, although I made a few essential changes. The first stemmed from my lack of fresh yeast; I decided to use the rapid-rise yeast I keep on hand for bread baking instead, changing the 1/4 ounce fresh yeast that Luisa called to 2 teaspoons of rapid-rise. The dough still rose and the buns turned out beautifully.
The other change I made stemmed from a mixture of impatience and a lack of time. While I'm usually quite careful about giving dough time to rise properly, I didn't quite understand why, after letting the dough rise for an hour and then adding the poppy seed semolina, the dough needed to go in the freezer for an hour--and all before rising for another 45 minutes. I assumed the freezer was important for firming up the dough before cutting it into slices, but I reduced the freezer time from 1 hour to 20 minutes and had no problems slicing the dough. Next time, I think I might skip this step entirely. After the freezer, I then let the dough rise for only 30 minutes; the extra 15 may have helped, but again, the final product was more than satisfactory.
For the yeast dough:
3/4 cup 2% milk
2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
2 cups 2% milk
Peel of half a lemon, zested
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons semolina
1 scant cup of poppy seeds
For the egg wash:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons 2% milk
sugar, for sprinkling
-Pour the floor into a large bowl and whisk in the instant-rise yeast. Make a well in the middle and sprinkle the 1/4 cup sugar around the edges of the flour well.
-Then, pour the lukewarm milk into the well and begin to stir with a wooden spoon, incorporating a little flour from the sides of the well with each stir.
-Add the eggs, butter and salt and begin to knead with your hands. When the dough begins to come take shape, dump it onto a lightly floured workspace and knead until smooth and supple (about 3-5 minutes).
-Rinse out the bowl and then coat the bottom with a small amount of canola oil. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a cloth. Put the cloth-wrapped bowl in a warm place and then let rise for an hour, or until doubled.
-While the dough rises, make the semolina filling. Put the milk in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and salt and bring to a boil.
-At this stage, slowly pour in the semolina, whisking continuously so that no lumps form. Allow the semolina to cook for a minute, stirring continuously, and then stir in the poppy seeds until they're thoroughly incorporated.
-Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes.
-As the poppy seed mixture cools, punch down the yeast dough and knead on a lightly floured surface for another minute or two.
-Then roll the dough out into a large rectangle with a thickness of about 1/2 inch.
-Spread the still warm poppy seed mixture evenly over the dough, almost to the edges, and roll up the dough lengthwise.
-Then, wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and place the foil-wrapped log into the freezer (N.B. this step may be skipped; see recipe notes above).
-Butter either a large cake pan or several small (9-inch) cake pans. Remove the dough log from the freezer and discard the aluminum foil wrapping.
-Cut the roll into 1 and 1/2 inch slices and then place the slices in the greased baking dish(es).
-Cover with a cloth and let rise for 30-45 minutes (again, see recipe notes above) as the oven preheats to 375 F.
-In the meantime, mix the egg yolk with the milk. When the buns have finishing rising, brush them with the mixture and sprinkle on some additional sugar.
-Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown.
-Enjoy immediately with a hot drink. Since Luisa says the buns don't keep that well, I followed her advice and wrapped the extras into aluminum foil and placed them in a freezer bag. I can now enjoy one whenever a difficult moment arises by simply popping the foil-wrapped buns back into the oven.