Shelby is a baker. I know this because I tried the same recipe 14 times, each time tweaking a little something to my methods, all trying to get to one end result: puffy-ass, light, soft, BUNS. It’s the Wonderbread of Asian breads.
I’ll admit the first 5 attempts were me trying to sweet-talk the yeast to activate. After figuring out the correct set of words to coerce the little yeast beads to bloom in to a fury of atomic clouds in sugary water, I still tried to beat the crap out of that dough to make it elastic-y, smooth, while breaking up the gluten’s protein. Although close, no such luck. This ain’t horseshoes.
We approached the Wonderful Mr. Shelby at the Bakehouse and picked his brain on the physical properties of flour and he kindly offered to try the recipe we were working with. As with many things, it’s hard to verbalize experience, and that’s what he’s got.
Alas, success. On his first attempt, did he not even seemingly master this puffy art of dough, but he “mistakenly” used bacon fat in place of lard. I say “mistakenly” because, much like marshmellows, popcorn, chocolate, beer, and cheese, this “mistake” tasted pretty freakin’ good and it’s hard to believe he accidentally stumbled upon it. It had all the characteristics of a traditional, light, bun, yet held this smoky attribute- that only you bacon lovers can taste at this very moment.
Thanks to the Wonderful Mr. Shelby, his generous baking consulting and magic hands, we are well on our way to house-made buns. Really…Great… house-made buns. Thanks, Shelby.