Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fit Buns

In the blog world, a day doesn't go by without seeing sandwich thins or thin buns show up on someone's blog. There's a good reason why, too. They have become a phenomenon because they're great for making a sandwich without loading up on all the bread. They let the ingredients stand out while the bun stays on the back burner as merely the mode of transportation. Many people appreciate that they're a scant 100 calories compared to other bun and bread product choices out there.
I, for one, buy them occasionally, but they're certainly not a staple (and when I do, I get the Earth Grains brand, with natural ingredients and no artificial sweeteners). The reason I'm not in love with them like many others is because they're just a little too thin. They're great for some applications, but not for most. If I try to toast them, they turn into crisp disks because they're so thin. I like the idea, but I wish they came out with a thicker, yet still relatively thin version keeping that great hearty chew.
So it got me thinking...
What if I made fit buns? Like their thin bun relatives, but...healthier. Its OK to have a little curves, right? Just like how society needs to stop associating skinny or thin as the ideal beauty, we shouldn't bring that "thin" word into a food product that touts it's low calorie count. I don't want to be thin, I want to be fit.
Enter: Fit Buns.
These were super simple to make and its nice being able to decide what exactly goes into it.

I used my favorite whole wheat sandwich bread recipe as the base, but 3/4ed it because I ran out of whole wheat flour (gasp!). I used honey as my sweetener of choice and instead of walnuts and sunflower seeds I used flax seeds (1 tablespoon whole, 2 tablespoons milled) and roasted pepitas.
After a trip through the dough cycle in the trusty bread machine, I rolled the dough out just like one would for cut-out cookies.
I can't say how thin, because I don't remember, but I think it was around a quarter inch thick (they will grow).
Then, I used a cup's rim as a cookie cutter and cut out little fit buns. I ended up cutting out 8 and then using the remaining dough to make 3 big buns (shall I call them chubby buns?) for my dad.
For fun, I poked each bun with a fork a couple times to give them that trademark dimpled look.
Cover them with plastic wrap sprayed with oil, and let them rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes.
Bake them at 350 (preferably on a pizza stone, but not required) for 15-18 minutes and they're done!
The benefit of cutting them out (with a biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, the rim of a cup, etc) is that you get a much more uniform size. As you can see, the chubby buns are a little on the lumpy side compared to the fit buns because I just rolled them into balls and pressed them flat.

Here's a shot showing their thickness, using a penny as a point of reference-
Not too skinny, not too big, just right. :)

I had a veggie burger awaiting me in the freezer that was just begging to be paired with a fit bun, and well, I'm a pushover...
And let's be honest, I love veggie burgers and I was dying to test out one of my fit buns.
Cut open-
Fluffy, yet chewy and full of good-for-you grains! :D
Stuffed with a Gardenburger original veggie burger, tomato, ketchup, mustard, romaine, and red onion.
These buns were the perfect size for veggie burgers!
All I can say is, these are amazing. They have a great crust, a fluffy (but not crumbly) interior, and there's that amazing crunch of the occasional pepita along with the nuttiness of the flax.
I did a rough calculation of each fit bun and came up with each bun being around 140 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein...sweetness!
And can we talk for a minute about the Gardenburger Original flavor? I like them, but there's something off and I can't pin it. The texture is perfect, and I love the gooey pockets of cheese, but there seems to be some weird chemical taste to it.. to me, it almost tastes like bleu cheese (which I am not a fan of) yet bleu cheese is not on the ingredient list. Anyone else have this problem?

These fit buns can be made with any sandwich bread recipe, if you happen to have a favorite you'd rather use instead. It's really not so much a recipe but a process/idea. Totally try it out, you'll be a fit bun convert!

Are you a fan of sandwich thins?

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