4 streaky bacon slices, snipped into chunks
1 onion, halved then thickly sliced
300 ml whole milk
2 tsp dried active yeast
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
450 g strong white bread flour
1½ tsp salt
2 eggs, separately beaten with a fork
50 g butter, softened
50 g ready-made crispy bacon bits
- Put the bacon in a non-stick pan and over a low heat, gently cook so a lot of the fat runs into the pan before the bacon becomes golden and crisp. Spoon the bacon onto some paper towels to soak up any more fat, then put into a small saucepan with the sliced onion and milk. Slowly bring the milk up just to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave the milk to infuse for 1 hour.
- Re-warm the milk until hand-hot. Put the yeast and 2 1/2 tbsp sugar in a jug together, then sieve over the milk – use a wooden spoon to press the bacon and onion to extract as much milky juice as you can. Give the mixture a good stir and leave until foamy – about 5 minutes.
- Put the bread flour and salt in a tabletop mixer on a low speed. Tip in the yeasty milk and one of the eggs and when the liquid is incorporated, drop in the butter in a few lumps and leave the mixer on a low-medium speed, for 8-10 minutes, until a smooth dough forms. Cover the bowl with clingfilm, and leave at room temperature until doubled in size – this may take up to 3 hours.
- Divide the dough into 8 (or 10 if you’re making burger buns), and shape each piece into a long sausage. Sit them on baking parchment-lined baking trays, spaced well apart, and if your hands start to warm the dough too much and it looks greasy, cool them under cold water for a minute, then carry on shaping. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave the rolls again, until doubled in size.
- Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C and mix the remaining beaten egg with the final ½ tbsp of sugar. Use to glaze each roll all over, then scatter all over with the bacon bits. Put a tin full of boiling water from the kettle in the base of your oven, then sit the rolls on a middle rack and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown, then cool.