An Autumn Breakfast – Mushroom and Potato Buns with Thyme

by meike peters

Autumn Buns with Mushroom, Potatoes and Thyme

As soon as the sweet and earthy smell of my warm autumn buns reached my nose, I felt at peace again and forgave my gnocchi recipe for not performing as expected. A few days ago I mentioned that I had the genius idea to make mushroom gnocchi with chopped porcini and chanterelles stirred into the mixture. However it was a rather frustrating experience, no matter how much flour I added to the soft dough, it was too moist and the texture didn’t change at all. It was impossible to form anything resembling gnocchi. After adding a full 1kg-package (2 1/4 pounds) of flour I gave up, it seemed hopeless and I was ready to chuck everything in the bin. Luckily my boyfriend suggested turning the dough into bread – a juicy loaf of potato bread, fluffy, light and juicy – simply satisfying. All of a sudden the recipe made sense, I mixed in a little more flour, some yeast and let it rise for an hour. This gave me enough time to calm down and think about how I’d like to shape my aromatic autumn creation. I went for buns, 24 to be precise, enough to eat mushroom potato buns for the next 2 weeks. It wouldn’t have been a big deal, they taste fantastic, but I decided to freeze half the batch for cozy weekend breakfasts. Instead of going to the bakery on Sunday mornings I’ll just switch on the oven and fill my kitchen with the aroma of thyme, porcini and chanterelles. 24  buns made of 1600g (3 1/2 pounds) flour can be a bit intimidating for a weekend baker so I scaled down the recipe by half.

The past few weeks have been so busy that I didn’t even realize that it’s been a month since we got back from our Mediterranean island. I miss it, of course, and I felt so happy when Molly from My Name Is Yeh asked me if I’d like to meet her in Malta. A short trip with friends took her to the archipelago and I would have given a lot to make it possible for us to finally meet after our cross-continental kitchen talk a few months ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage, the final work on my book has kept me anchored to Berlin and my computer. But she went and enjoyed it so much that she wrote a sweet post about her 3-day trip and her new culinary discovery: Timpana, click here for her travel experiences!

I’ve kept one special bit of news for the end: Ever since I held Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess in my hands for the first time, I’ve been a great admirer of her work. So when she decided to share my vanilla profiteroles on her Instagram, it was a very, very happy day. Thank you Nigella! And here it is!

Autumn Buns with Mushroom, Potatoes and Thyme


Autumn Buns with Mushroom, Potatoes and Thyme

Mushroom and Potato Buns with Thyme

Keep in mind that the potato mixture for the dough has to cool in the fridge before mixing it in, you can prepare this step a day in advance.

Makes 12 buns

floury potatoes, cut into cubes, 450g / 16 ounces
butter 30g / 2 tablespoons
organic egg yolks 2
plain flour, white spelt (type 630) or unbleached wheat, 810g / 6 1/4 cups
dry yeast 1 sachet (7g / 1/4 ounce)
salt 4 teaspoons
ground pepper
nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
fresh thyme leaves 1/2 tablespoon
mixed mushrooms, finely chopped, 100g / 3 1/2 ounces
(half porcini, quarter chanterelles and quarter king oyster mushrooms)

Cook the potatoes in salted water until soft, about 15 minutes, drain well in a colander and press through a potato ricer. Mix immediately with the butter and egg yolks and let it cool down to room temperature before you put it in the fridge to cool completely. You can prepare the mixture a day in advance.

Scrape the cool potato mixture into a large bowl.

Combine the flour, yeast, salt and a generous amount of ground black pepper and nutmeg. Add the dry flour mixture, the thyme and mushrooms to the bowl with the potatoes. Mix with the hooks of an electric mixer for about 7-10 minutes until well combined. The dough will be soft and damp, if it’s too sticky, add more flour. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm oven (35°C / 95°F) for 60 minutes (top/ bottom heat and not fan-assisted!).

Punch the dough down, take it out of the bowl and knead for half a minute. Divide it in 12 portions, dust your hands with flour, put a portion of dough on the palm of your hand and roll with the other hand, holding it like a dome. Turn the dough for about 1o seconds on the palm of your hand until its top is round and firm, this builds up surface tension and prevents the buns from becoming flat. Continue with the remaining dough and lay the buns on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cover them with a tea towel and let them rise for about 15 minutes in a warm place.

Set the oven to 220°C / 430°F (top/ bottom heat).

Bake the buns for about 11 minutes or until golden brown, knock on the bottom of a bun, it should sound hollow.

Autumn Buns with Mushroom, Potatoes and Thyme


Autumn Buns with Mushroom, Potatoes and Thyme