Potato and Onion Volcanoes

To celebrate the one year anniversary of Bubbly Kitchen, I have a very special recipe below. Yes, you may look at all the steps and details below and wonder, wtf is she doing. But this recipe is really quite simple and the results will blow your mind! See here for the details on how they make the volcanoes. I have eaten this in NYC at Momofuku Milk Bar and it is as amazing as it looks. The next best thing to eating these buns for dinner… eating them for lunch at work and seeing the jealousy on everyone’s face. They reheat beautifully in the microwave. This is a great weekend project and will impress any guests you have for lunch or dinner. We will start this recipe like so many here at Bubbly Kitchen… frying bacon! And then we will caramelize our onions in this, our favorite thing! I like to fry plenty of extra bacon and caramelize double the amount of onions, which I encourage you to do as well. Stored in the fridge you will have the makings for an insanely good pizza or delicious burger toppings. Because there are a lot of steps here, making double just makes sense. It seems like all the magazines these days are all about “5 ingredient dinners” and “quick 30 minute meals.” I enjoy a recipe for a quick weeknight meal as much as the next food blogger… but my absolute favorite thing are recipes that I can turn into multiple days of different lunches and dinners. Make all the ingredients one day ahead. The scalloped potatoes are so amazing. So double the potatoes and serve that aside the burgers/steaks/chicken you are having for dinner the night before you make your buns. Store the potatoes or caramelized onions in the fridge for up to 3 days before making your buns.

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The recipe below makes about 6 volcanoes depending on how tall you manage to stack the potatoes in there. The Momofuku Mother Dough recipe will make approximately double the dough you may need. In case you want to be a little bit nuts like myself: make double the bacon, onions, and potatoes then make the buns until you are tired of making them. I was very generous with my dough and used more than half. There is some room for error here so do not fret! The dough itself is super simple and a great basic recipe. The book includes a number of other uses for this dough… bagel bombs (coming to the Bubbly Kitchen in due time) and a cinnamon bun pie that looks insane! If you are looking for another classic cookbook for your shelves, definitely buy Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi. This book is jam packed with incredible recipes for desserts and other treats. I probably only buy 2-3 cookbooks every year. I try so many recipes that I find online and when something is just so fabulous, I will buy the book that it came from. I also prefer cookbooks that contain foul language from real people. The story of Momofuku Milk Bar is a page turner. There are fabulous details about ingredients, kitchen equipment, and technique in this book that cannot be found anywhere else. The cookies, cakes, and pies in here will captivate you.

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Caramelized Onions and Bacon

5 slices bacon, sliced into one inch pieces
2 large spanish onions, halved, sliced thinly
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Cook the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook until the bacon renders its grease. The bacon will cook more in the potatoes so it should be slightly soft, avoid crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl with a paper towel liner.

Reserve 2 tbsp bacon grease in the pan. (If you are vegetarian or do not have enough bacon grease, use vegetable oil.) Toss the onions into the bacon grease until they are all evenly coated. Cook for 3 minutes and then sprinkle with salt. Decrease the heat to medium-low and allow the onions to caramelize for 35 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 5 minutes or so. (Here is where I start work on the potatoes.) The onions are done when they are a deep golden brown. Remove to a bowl.

Scalloped Potatoes

1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
4 oz heavy cream
3 oz milk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
3 oz cooked bacon
2 russet potatoes

Smash the garlic clove with the back of your knife. Place this smashed garlic in a small saucepan with the bay leaf, cream, milk, salt and pepper. Heat over medium until the liquid comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow the spices to steep for 30 minutes.

Peel the potatoes and slice extremely thin, less than 1/8 inch (basically as thin as you as a human home chef can make them.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the sliced potatoes in an 8 inch square baking dish. Layer them in the dish like shingles, scattering pieces of bacon throughout. Remove the spices from your steeped cream with a slotted spoon. Pour the cream over the potatoes.

Bake for 45 minutes until they are golden brown. Cool the potatoes in the fridge with foil covering them and something heavy smashing them down.

Momofuku Mother Dough

550 grams bread flour
12 grams kosher salt
3.5 grams dried yeast
370 grams or 1 3/4 cup water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together the flour, yeast, and salt. Mix together with a spoon and add the water until the dough forms a shaggy mass. Mix with the dough hook on low speed for 3 minutes. Scrape the edges of the bowl and mix for 4 more minutes. The dough should spring back when pressed lightly.

Grease a large nonreactive bowl with vegetable oil or butter. Place the dough into the prepared bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, allow to rise for 1 hour.

Potato and Onion Volcano Assembly

1 cup grated cheese (mixture of gruyere and white cheddar)
1 egg
1/2 tsp water
1/2 recipe mother dough
Scalloped potatoes
Caramelized onions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Punch down the dough and divide into 4 approximately equal pieces.

Stretch each piece of dough out to an 8 inch circle. Sprinkle some cheese onto the circles of dough, then divide the onions among the dough.

Cut the potatoes into portions of 3-4 inch squares and remove each with a spatula. Place a square of potatoes on each dough round. (See images from Serious Eats in the link above for more details.) Pull the edges of the dough to the center, covering the potatoes and onions, and pinch the dough together, forming a ball. Turn the ball over and roll between your hands to make an even shape. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave plenty of space between the buns.

Make an egg wash with the water, egg, and a whisk. Brush each bun with a generous coating of egg wash. Using a very sharp pairing knife, cut a 1 inch X in the top of each bun. Divide the cheese among the buns, stuffing the cheese into the X.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Recipe adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar.

3 thoughts on “Potato and Onion Volcanoes

  1. Producti-ghoul says:

    I have been obsessed with trying these, and now I have the time to do them, I realize I don’t have a mixer. So can I make the mother dough in a bread machine on the dough cycle?

    • Chelsea says:

      You can definitely use a bread machine to make this dough. It might be just as simple, and more therapeutic, no knead the dough by hand as well.

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