2 lbs. bacon, semi-frozen (makes cutting easier)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (heaping) freshly ground pepper
1-2 cups water
1 cup milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 package dry yeast (regular or quick-rise)
4-5 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons butter (optional, to rub baked buns)
To prepare the filling, slice the bacon lengthwise into ¼-inch wide strips. Then cut the strips widthwise so that you end up with little “chips” of bacon. Place the bacon in a large skillet with the onion and pepper. Add enough water to cover the bacon. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the water is gone. The bacon should have a little chew to it and not be too crisp. Don’t rush it; ours cooked 20 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain.
For the dough, heat the milk until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and add the butter, sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve. Let cool to lukewarm. Add the eggs and yeast. Transfer to a large bowl. Once it is a bit frothy, so you know the yeast is working, add the flour, 1 cup at a time. After about 3 cups, turn the dough out onto the table and work in some to all of the rest of the flour while kneading. You want the dough to be smooth and satiny to the touch, with just a touch of stickiness when you hold it. You may need to add a bit more flour, but between 4-5 cups is usually right. Place in a large well-greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let rise until double in size. Punch down, knead a few times, and let rise a second time. Punch down again and form the buns.
Pinch off a piece of dough slightly larger than a golf ball. Flatten and stretch (or roll) the dough into a circle about 4 inches in diameter. In the middle of the dough, place a healthy tablespoon of the bacon filling. Bring up the sides of the dough to encase the filling. Firmly pinch the edges to completely seal the seams. Gently form the bun into a torpedo shape and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, seam side down, leaving space for the dough to rise and expand. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Let the buns rise until almost double. Combine the egg and milk for the egg wash. Gently brush the buns with the egg wash. Bake at 350° for 12-17 minutes or until golden brown. Rub butter on the buns while hot (if desired) and let cool on a rack.
bacon recipe source: Penzeys Spices, 12001 W. Capitol Drive, Wauwatosa, WI 53222