Savory Pesto + Roasted Red Pepper Beer Buns

I have been playing with this recipe for Diamond of California for quite some time. I wanted to start with a dough that was nice and yeasty, full of life. I wanted it to be easy: a dough we could through together on a Wednesday, stash in the fridge and then come Friday or Saturday we could quickly roll it out adding the pesto, cheese and peppers. It needed to be soft, pillowy and full of flavor. Next, I played around with the filling. It always had a delicious pesto (made with walnuts, olive oil, fresh basil, sea salt and olive oil) and sometimes it had more cheese, other times less. Fresh mozzarella? Parm? Sun-dried black olives (my new favorite obsession)? I landed on a mixture of bright pesto, hard Italian cheeses (including Parmesan, Asiago and Pecorino) and roasted red peppers, finishing the buns with a cream wash pre-bake to make them nice, bronzed and shiny.

These buns would be perfectly paired with a hearty barbecue, a simple chilled pasta dish or a robust, main course salad…and they should always, of course,  be washed down with a hefty side of rosé. Just some thoughts to get your wheels churning and taste buds salivating…

Before we get started…

  • BEER. I love to add beer to my dough which amplifies the yeastiness of these buns. I recommend a pretty mild beer, with Corona being my favorite. Don’t waste your money on a full-bodied, more expensive beer–those tend to give an off flavor to the buns.
  • POWDERED DRY MILK. Don’t skip this, it will tenderize your dough and make some magic happen.
  • COLD FERMENTATION. We’re going to mix our dough and put it in the fridge for several days. I don’t think 1-2 days is enough fridge time and I prefer the dough when it’s been sitting in there at least three days or longer. I haven’t tested these past five days in the fridge, but I’m thinking they would hold up just fine.
  • PESTO. Consider this a pesto base recipe in which you could swap out nuts and greens in equal proportions to make it your own. Hazelnut and arugula would be delicious. Also, you will have leftover pesto. Make sure to store it in the fridge with a layer of olive oil drizzled over the top or stash it in an airtight container in the freezer for longer storage.
  • CHEESE. As mentioned above, I used a combination of Parmesan, Asiago and Pecorino. Feel free to sub in some of your other favorite hard cheeses or just use one cheese. Your call.
  • ROASTED RED PEPPER. Don’t skip these. I absolutely love the flavor they add to these nuggets.
  • BAKING VESSELS. I used a pie plate and a round casserole dish to bake the buns…you could just as easily use a large rectangle baking dish or well-greased muffins tins. The latter of which is super cute when you’re feeding a group.
  • QUANTITY. For me, this recipe makes about 14 buns…as you’ll see below, I like to keep the dough thick. If you went for a thinner dough, you could squeak more buns out of this recipe.

Let’s make some buns, shall we?

Savory Pesto + Roasted Red Pepper Beer Buns

Makes About 14 Buns

INGREDIENTS

For the Pesto

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle over the top
  • 1/4 cup Diamond of California Walnuts
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, smashed
  • Squeeze of 1/2 a fresh lemon and some zest (maybe 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

For the Buns

  • 1 12-ounce bottle of room temperature, light-flavored beer or water
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting your hands and the dough
  • 1/3 cup powdered dry milk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 2/3 cup pesto (recipe above)
  • 2/3 cup hard cheese such as Parmesan, Asiago and/or Pecorino, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cream or milk

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Pesto

  1. Add the basil, olive oil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice + zest, sea salt and pepper to a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse until everything is chopped and combined, but there’s till some texture. I don’t like my pesto to be completely smooth. Add in the Parmesan and pulse a few times more. Pour into a lidded container, cover with a layer of olive oil (this helps keep the color bright and fresh) and stash in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Buns

  1. In an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough attachment add the beer and yeast and let sit for 15 minutes until it’s foamy and frothy. Add in your flour, dry milk, butter, honey and salt and knead on medium-high for about 15 minutes. In the beginning the dough will stick to the bottom of the mixer…as it continues to knead it will start to form a smooth and elastic dough ball. When you’re ready to get it out of the bowl, lightly flour your hands and sprinkle the dough with flour to help get it out. It will be a bit oozy. That’s ok. Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil, set the dough inside, turning to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.
  2. Grease your baking dishes (see note above) and set aside.
  3. When ready to use, grab the dough from the fridge. On a floured surface, roll out dough to a rectangle, keeping the dough about ¼ inch thick…don’t go too thin. With the longest side closest to you, spread the pesto over the dough, leaving a 1 ½ inch gutter clean of pesto at the top and the bottom of the dough. Sprinkle the cheese and the roasted red peppers evenly over the top. Starting with the side closest to you, roll the dough up towards the top, tightening as you go making sure it’s as snug and even as possible. Pinch the top edge of the dough against the rolled dough to seal the buns. Grab a super sharp knife and cut into 1 ½-inch buns. Place the buns in the prepared baking dishes. Cover with a damp towel and let rest until the dough is no longer cool to the touch and has not quite (but almost) doubled in size. This should take about 1-2 hours depending on ambient temperature.
  4. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Lightly brush over the top of the buns, taking care not to let the wash pool.
  5. Bake for 35ish minutes in the center of the oven until golden and baked through. If your buns are thinner or thicker than mine, you’ll need to adjust your bake time accordingly. Let cool ever so slightly, and then dig in.
  6. Thank you for making these buns! Tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see dem buns!!!

This recipe was created in partnership with Diamond of California, but all opinions and ideas are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep DisplacedHousewife in the kitchen! xo

 

6 Comments

  • Beth 2018/06/29 at 6:03 PM

    I can’t wait to try these. They look wonderful.

    Reply
  • Morgan 2018/06/29 at 12:34 AM

    You’re recipes are always so creative and DELICIOUS!!! These look absolutely spectacular and I can’t wait to make them this weekend!!!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2018/06/29 at 2:02 AM

      Thank you so much Morgan — I hope you enjoy them!!! xoxo

      Reply
  • Mia 2018/06/28 at 11:37 PM

    These looks absolutely amazing! Another thing I’ll have to cook this weekend!

    Reply
    • Rebecca Firth 2018/06/29 at 12:09 AM

      I hope you do and I hope you love them!!! xoxo

      Reply

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