On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rate these a 3.5 for difficulty for one reason alone -- the choux requires a degree of judgment for when the dough is ready, rather than a measure of minutes. Otherwise, this is a silly-simple recipe.
Choux Paste (the bun part)
1 C milk
4 oz. butter, small piece
7 oz. AP flour
1/2 t. salt
5 large eggs
(water to adjust)
- Combine milk and butter in saucepan, bring to a full boil. Butter should be melted by the time it boils.
- Add flour and salt once milk mixture comes to a full boil. *Flour will not absorb all liquid if not at full boil.
- Take off heat. Stir until it the dough looks a bit like a limp of firm mashed potatos, or for you Germans in the audience, a kenerdle.
- Return to heat, stirring, until it steams and just begins to stick to bottom. *It will “crack” like PlayDoh.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl with paddle attachment. Stir to cool. *Eggs added to hot dough will cook, resulting in no structure for later in the baking process. Dough does not need to be cold...just warmish.
- Add eggs one at a time. With each egg, dough will first look sloppy and wet, then suddenly the egg will incorporate to form a kind of batter. If dough is still too thick, add water 1 Tablespoon at a time to get it to a smooth state. How do you know it's at a smooth state?....
Three tests for Choux paste
a. Turn off mixer and you want to see the paste actually slump (no pic as a "slump" is hard to capture)
c. Pull finger through the paste to make a canyon, see if the edges curve in slightly.
Piping the Choux
Egg wash ( one whole egg, beaten) *Do not get wash on paper or choux will stick as it rises.
Dip a fork in water and make indents across tops of buns (like with peanut butter cookies) for expansion as the dough rises in the oven.
Place in oven at 375-400° for 15-18 min. for buns piped to the size of a donut hole. (Larger buns, like the ones I made, require about 10 extra minutes.)
Stages of baking for choux:1) doubles in size in the first 12-14 minutes (!!!Do not open oven at all during this first baking period!!!)
2) bakes in pace for next 3-4 minutes
They'll pop right off the parchment. You'll find you can split them very easily to make two halves, and even dig out the guts a little to make a deeper container for when you put things like pastry cream or mousse inside. Or, poke a hole in the bottom and fill them using a pastry tube and bag.
*These freeze nicely in a bag. To defrost, pop in oven @ 300° until warm. They do not make a yield, they are merely a batch depending on how large you pipe them.