Today I managed to make some excellent buns, if I may say so!
So I'll write down what I did, so I can reproduce them -- 'cause I ain't buying grocery store buns for burgers no mo!
This went relatively fast, since it does not take long to rise, and does not require ageing the dough. But I do start out with a good active sourdough starter or "Mother".
As a starting point, I used the recipe for "Quick and Easy Sourdough Bread" (p.91) in Ruth Allman's book Alaska Sourdough.
1 c sourdough starter (mine is fairly hydrated, and pours like pancake batter)
Important: sourdough is at room temperature, and well-fed within a day or two.
1 T yeast (active, granular)
2 T sugar
1.5 c warm water
5-6 c flour (unbleached, white)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1.) Stir the sourdough well and measure out 1 cup. (I go ahead and feed the mother starter w/ equal amounts of water and flour at this time, and set it on the counter with a loose lid).
2.) In the Kitchenaide with regular paddle attachment, mix water, sugar and yeast. Let sit until you can see that the yeast is alive and well -- starts bubbling at bit.
3.) Add the sourdough, and mix well.
4.) add 4 c of the flour and salt. This will be sort of soft and sticky, not something you can knead!
5.) Lightly grease a large bowl, and transfer the sticky mess into it.
6.) Cover with a clean towel, or a lid ( I use a glass bowl with lid).
7.) Place in a warm place (such as warm oven, turned off), and let double in size --approx. 1 hour.
8.) Mix soda into 1 c. flour, and add to the dough.
9.) Knead on floured board until satiny and springy to the touch. (Warning to self: do not incorporate too much flour making dough stiff -- instead keep this very "soft". If still a little sticky, stretch and fold the dough, and let it sit for 10 minutes to let the flour absorb some more of the moisture.
10.) Shape about a dozen buns. Let them rise on a floured towel or board, covered, for 30-45 minutes, while heating up the oven w/ baking stone at 400 F.
11.) Transfer buns onto hot stone, and bake 20 minutes + until golden brown on top.