Ausytes are considered a special treat during Christmas in Lithuanian homes. they are small, about three bites, with a center of an onion bacon mixture. They are passed around as an appetizer accompanied with the salutation, “Linksmu Kaledu,” which means Merry Christmas! I found this recipe in Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads, and the author credits the recipe to a home baker whose family is from the steel mills in northern Indiana.
I’m not sure what drew me to this bread. The cookbook does not have photos, a requirement if you are going to write a cookbook these days. What it does have is incredible instructions, flawless recipes, and great stories about the individual breads. Just think, for about $20, you get 650 pages of bread recipes.
I’m particularly attracted to regional and ethnic breads, and I was also looking for a bread recipe that calls for onions for our Twelve Loaves assignment, Farmers Market. I had chosen onion, so I checked out the indices of some of my bread books. This one grabbed me immediately.
I love these rolls! They start with a brioche style dough wrapped around a small center of onions and bacon..
The bacon and onions are boiled until all of the water is boiled off, and then ultimately fried in the bacon fat. The resulting filling is then processed until it is finely chopped and then wrapped with this brioche dough. The good news? The recipe is super easy. The better news? The results are so delicious. I can understand why these rolls are reserved for celebrations.
Ausytes | Lithuanian Onion and Bacon Buns Recipe
1 pound bacon, finely sliced
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 C milk
1 stick unsalted butter
2 eggs, lightly mixed
18 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if necessary
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1/4 C sugar
1 egg beaten with T of water
- Put the bacon and onion in a four quart heavy skillet, cover with just enough water to barely cover the mixture, and bring to a boil. Boil for about an hour, until the water has boiled off and the mixture has reached a golden or darker brown.
- Pour the ingredients into a strainer over a bowl and strain out the fat to discard. Cool the mixture. When the onion and bacon mixture has cooled, run it through a food processor to finely grind.
- Heat the milk and butter (cut into pieces) until the butter has melted. Don’t bring it to a boil or scald, cool to room temperature.
- Add the eggs to the milk/butter mixture and whisk.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all of the dry ingredients and whisk.
- Add the liquid and mix with the dough hook. Add more flour if necessary by tablespoon until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and forms a ball on the dough hook. Knead for 15 minutes.
- Place the dough into a bowl or dough rising bucket, cover, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled.
- Push the dough down, and let it rise for another 30 minutes, covered in plastic wrap.
- Roll the dough out into a 1/2 inch slab and cut the dough into 2 1/4 inch circles. Set the circles aside, and re-roll any leftovers and cut more circles.
- Press the already cut circles into slightly larger pieces, and add a tsp of the onion/bacon mixture. Wrap the dough around the mixture and place the ball, seam side down, onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Continue to shape dough balls around the bacon/onion mixture, until done.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and allow the dough balls to rise for about an hour.
- Brush with the egg/water mixture. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Look at what our very talented Twelve Loaves members have baked for September!