Sometimes I crave for savory-treats during winter and this bun would always keep my hands and soul warm!
For the dough:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, separated
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Italian sausages, any kind, cooked and cut into 2-inch pieces
Azuki beans, cloves, or peppercorn
In a pot over medium heat, mix together the milk, sugar, and vegetable oil. Heat until the mixture is just below boiling. Let cool until lukewarm.
Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid and let it sit for a minute. Stir in 2 cups of flour. The mixture will be very sticky and wet. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
After the dough has risen for 1 hour, stir in the remaining 1/4 cup flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. If the dough is still too wet to work with, add in a little more flour.
Divide the dough evenly into 13 pieces. Wrap one of the pieces in plastic wrap and set aside.
Flatten one of the dough balls into a circle roughly 4 inches in diameter, making the edges of the circle slightly thinner than the center.
Place a piece of sausage at the center of the circle. Gather the edges of the circle around the sausage so that they meet in the middle. Press down on the seams. The dough should be in the shape of an oblong sphere. Place on a greased baking sheet, with the seam facing down. Repeat this process 11 more times.
Cover the dough balls with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes, until slightly puffy.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. When assembling the pigs, it is best to work in batches of three. Beat the egg and brush 3 of the dough balls with the egg wash.
Make the snouts for the pig: Unwrap the dough ball you set aside. Break away a piece of dough about the size of a large pea or a small marble, and flatten it into an oval. Place the oval on the side of the dough ball (one of the narrower ends of the oblong sphere). Stick two toothpicks into the oval to make the two nostrils. You will leave the toothpicks in the dough while baking to keep the holes from sealing up in the oven.
Repeat this process for the two other dough balls you brushed in egg wash.Place two azuki beans, cloves, or peppercorn above the snout for eyes. Do the same for the other two dough balls.
Form two pea-sized pieces of dough into teardrop shapes. Place above the eyes for the pig’s ears. Repeat two more times.
Place a pea-sized piece of dough on the back of the pig for a tail. Repeat twice. Repeat this process for the other 9 dough balls, working with 3 at a time.
Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool, and carefully remove the toothpicks from the pigs’ snouts.