JT's Blog

Things that interest me, things that happened to me, things that I like, even some things that I don't like...

Baking Vs. Roasting

This is an actual conversation I had at lunch today, transcribed from memory.

He: I’ve been wondering…do you know what the difference is between baking and roasting?

Me: Ooh, I know I read about that once but I just can’t recall it right now. Here, let me Google it [pulling out the phone]…baking vs. roasting…here it is:  “If you're cooking food that has a solid structure — like any type of meat or vegetables — no matter the temperature of the oven, you'll roast it. If you're cooking food that doesn't already have a solid structure, but will after it's cooked — like muffins, cake, bread, and casseroles — the proper method is baking.”

He: So it’s the same technique, just applied to different things?

Me: Yes, pretty much. You roast things that already have a structure, and you bake things that you want to firm up.

He: Don’t you think it’s odd that one technique should have two different names depending on what you are using it for?

Me: No, not really.

He: Well, what about baked chicken? I’ve heard the term baking applied to chicken.

Me: Googling “Baked Chicken” doesn’t return a definition. Just a bunch of recipes. “Simple Baked Chicken Breasts Recipe”, “Oven-Baked Chicken recipe from Betty Crocker”, “Classic Baked Chicken Recipe”, oh here’s a roasted chicken recipe. The terms seem to be used interchangeably.

He: So people do use the term “Baked Chicken”?

Me: Yes. Ignorant people who don’t know the proper usage.

He: I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.

JT's Famous Burger Buns

This is a simple, can't miss recipe. The buns always turn out delicious enough to eat plain.

time: about 3 hours
yield: 8 buns

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oat bran (if skipping the oat bran, use 3 1/4 cups flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 egg
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter)

1. By Bread Machine: Place the ingredients into a bread machine; select the Dough cycle and start it up.
By Food Processor: Place the dry ingredients in the food bowl and process until well mixed. Add the egg and begin processing, adding the oil and water through the feed tube. When the dough cleans the inside of the bowl and forms a ball, process for another 60 seconds. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover with a towel, place it in a warm location, and let it rise for about an hour.
By Hand: If you don't have a bread machine, knead the dough like you would bread dough. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover with a towel, place it in a warm location, and let it rise for about an hour.
2. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. If the dough is sticky, add a little extra flour. Divide into eight pieces. Slap each piece into a bun shape. Place on a greased cookie sheet, cover with a cloth; let rise about 30 to 40 minutes in a warm location.
3. Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes till golden. Cool on wire racks.

I found this recipe in an advertising brochure for King Arthur Flour, and the original recipe used to be found at their web site. I've made a couple changes, like substituting a little oat bran for some of the flour. In my opinion the buns turn out better using olive oil rather than butter. These buns also make great sandwich buns, in fact, many folks enjoy eating them plain. Mold them into other shapes and they can also make worthy hot dog or hoagy buns. Use your imagination.

I've calculated that each bun contains approximately 233.5 calories, most of them coming from the flour.