HBA Baker Spotlight: Jenny Kalvaitis

HBA Baker Spotlight: Jenny Kalvaitis

HBA Baker Spotlight: Jenny Kalvaitis

By Sharon Davis, HomeBaking.org

What a perfect time to spotlight home baker Jenny Kalvaitis and her family’s traditional Lithuanian Bacon Buns. This family recipe and favorite of Jenny’s is a common Lithuanian recipe with her own family’s twists and small improvements from over the years. They often bake them during Christmas and holiday seasons. They’ll also make great New Year’s fare!

Jenny started baking with her mom as a kid. “I always loved baking and cooking but I joke that my style is a little more like early Julia Child. I often make a mess and occasionally injure myself. My continual learning comes from talking with FCS teachers and online youtube videos. And, of course, I enjoy following the Home Baking Association!“

Bacon Buns  Recipe makes 2-3 dozen

Bread dough:

1 cup scalded* milk

½ cup butter

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 packages (1/2 oz or 4 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast

2 eggs, well beaten

4 ½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour (stirred, spooned into dry cup and leveled)

Filling:

1 pound Jones Cherrywood Smoked Bacon (seriously adds great flavor but really any bacon will do)

1 pound Jones Hickory Smoked Ham (again my favorite but any ham will work)

1 medium onion, chopped

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

1. *Scald milk, and add cold butter to the hot milk to cool until 105°F. or less.

2. While milk cools, mix half of the flour and all the other dry ingredients for the bread together. Put the yeast on top.

3. Pour in the scalded milk mixed with melted butter into the flour mix.  Add the beaten eggs. Mix everything together and add the rest of the flour gradually, mixing until the dough is workable.

4. Knead the dough with hands until smooth and elastic, for about 10 minutes. Put in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place (microwave oven is great if not being used)until dough doubles in size (about 2 hours).

5. While the dough is rising, make the filling: Dice the onion. Fry until clear. Julienne bacon and add that to the onion, fry until limp. Dice the ham and add it to the bacon. Once all is hot, drain the fat and add pepper.

6. Once the dough has risen, pinch off golf-ball-sized dough bits and roll them to flatten. Put 1-2 teaspoons of filling, inside then fold and seal the edges. Shape between hands as desired. Put the seam-side down on a greased cookie sheet. Once the sheet is full, place in a warm dry place and let the buns double in size (about 1 hour).

7. Bake in a preheated oven at 375° for 10 minutes. Flip the buns and complete by baking for an additional 7 to 10 minutes until golden.  Enjoy!

When Jenny is not baking Bacon Buns, she works for Nasco Education, providing Family Consumer Sciences, Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Social Emotional Learning, andHealth/PE educators classroom and out-of-school teaching resources, found at www.eNasco.com .

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