Sugar glazed soft buns (Seeni Banis recipe)සීනි බනිස්

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This specific sugar glazed soft bun surely must be the mostly sold baked delight in Sri Lanka for generations. To my knowledge, it is surely hard to find a town without these for sale. When I was a kid, I only used to eat the top part of the bun with sugar and I loved it. Still, each time I visit Sri Lanka, I somehow manage to eat a load of Sri Lankan sugar glazed buns. Okay, forget about the Sri Lankan identity of this bun for a second, if you are someone cruising the net for a nice soft and fluffy bun recipe, go for this. Trust me you won’t regret.  I hope you guys will find this recipe useful.

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  • 4 to 4 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½ a cup of milk (or 2 tbsp of milk powder)
  • 100g of salted butter
  • 2 tsp instant (rapid) rise yeast (or regular dry yeast)
  • ½ a cup of sugar for the dough
  • Approx: ¼ cup of sugar for glazing
  • 1 ¼ cups of water roux (Tang zhong) – refer to its recipe in Rasakama
  • 1 whole egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp of salt

How to make Seeni Banis

Since we have two types of yeasts available to us, I would like to guide you how to incorporate both types to this recipe. First, I will give you the recipe using instant-rise yeast and then, I will tell you what alterations you have to make if you are using active dry yeast.

Remember, your initial step must be preparing the water roux or the universal bread softening ingredient as directed in Rasakama. This is really an essential ingredient if you want that soft and fluffy texture. If you are a Sri Lankan, you would ask, “is this something that our bakers use to make these buns?”. Well, the answer is, yes and no. There are some bakers who use this method, but most use dough modifiers and conditioners to get the soft texture. Frankly, I decided to use water roux only because it really works as magic. It not only will make any bread that you make fluffy but also will keep them fresh for a longer period.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, instant-rise yeast, salt and sugar. Separately, slightly warm the milk and butter together on a cooker or, preferably, in a microwave oven. Remember, importantly, it should only be lukewarm not too warmer. Now, pour the lukewarm milk and butter on to the dry ingredients and hand mix well. Then, bring in the water roux preparation and the beaten egg, and start kneading.

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If you are using an electric mixer, knead for at least 10 minutes. And, if you are kneading with hands as me, do it well for more than 15 minutes. Since we are using instant-rise yeast here, we don’t have to let it rise twice as regular active dry yeast. So, you can straightaway take small dough balls and shape into buns. Now, place the baby buns on a greased baking tray leaving sufficient space around them to grow into adults. Now, you can either keep them in a warm dry place or preferably inside the oven for about 30 minutes to be doubled in size. Then, take then out and gently make “craters” on top and fill with sugar. Meanwhile, you can preheat the oven to 375°F. Next, carefully, apply a thin layer of water on top of each bun so that you won’t get an extra dried outer layer. You can do this either with a brush or your fingers. Remember, don’t let water touch the sugar. So be careful. Now, bake them on the middle rack of your oven for about 15 minutes. After, soon as you take them out of the oven, apply a thin coat of either water or butter with a brush and enjoy them with a cup of tea.

Note: If you are using active dry yeast instead of rapid rising yeast, alter the steps as below;

  • Activate the yeast first : In a cup, mix 2 tsp of active dry yeast with lukewarm water and a 1 tsp of sugar. Cover it with a dampen cloth or a polythene sheet and let it aside for around 10 minutes until froth forms.
  • You do not have to warm the milk and butter. Just soften the butter and use milk at room temperature
  • Mix flour with sugar and salt. Then, bring in the rest of the ingredients including the activated yeast and knead the dough in the same way. Cover the bowl with a dampen cloth and keep in a warm dry place for about 1hr until it will double in size. Then, press down the risen dough with your hand and then form the buns and again give it time to double in size. These are the changes that you have to make if you are using active dry yeast to make.sugar glazed soft buns (Seeni Banis recipe).



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