Homemade smoky buns with bacon and onion filling

Another episode of the food from books series and today’s recipe is inspired by “a long way to a small, angry planet” by Becky Chambers. I absolutely adored that book and oh my god I cannot wait to read the other 3 books in the series. The entire setting and the story telling (and the characters!) are just perfect and I was in love with the story instantly. In the book, they mention eating some “smoky buns” at several points so I knew it had to be featured here, one way or another. So here it is, my own take at the homemade smoky buns featured in the book (with a bacon and onion filling!).

Ingredients to make these homemade smoky buns

Making these buns means you are making some sort of bread, so you will need basic bread-making ingredients. We are making them on the sweeter/softer side so we are adding a tiny bit of sugar + the milk to have them a bit fluffier than normal bread buns.

So for the buns, you will need:

  1. Flour
  2. Instant yeast
  3. Salt
  4. Sugar
  5. Milk
  6. Egg
  7. Water

And for the filling, I wanted to go “smoky”, because they never really mentioned what the buns were in the books just that they were “good, and gave you energy” (I don’t remember the exact wording but that’s the impression I got). So I made them with bacon & onion to get that smoky flavor + protein that will defo give you that energy you need in space!

Ingredients to make homemade smokey buns

Alternative fillings

I went for a classic filling for these buns but you can totally experiment and make them differently, other fillings I could totally try with these buns:

  1. Tofu & mushrooms
  2. Kimchi & pork
  3. Shrimps and shiitake mushrooms
  4. Bolognese style filling (look at my go-to vegan bolognese for inspiration)
Close up of homemade smokey buns

Similar recipes to these homemade smoky buns

If you are looking for more bread inspiration, I have more recipes for you! Here are my favorite ones:

Eating a homemade smokey bun

Homemade Smoky buns with bacon & onion filling

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Baking
Cuisine: Food from books
Keyword: bacon, buns, onion
Servings: 6 buns



  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pack instant yeast 7g
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  • 2-3 cups smoked bacon Around 200-300g (basically 50g per bun)
  • 2-3 onions


  • 1 egg Eggwash
  • 1/2 tsp water Eggwash
  • Black sesame seeds



  • In a non stick pan, add your bacon bites (cut them very small) and your onion when the pan is hot.
  • Cook both ingredients together till they are crisp.
  • Set aside to cool down

Buns (base)

  • In a bowl, add the lukewarm water and mix it with the yeast. Let it react for 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the sugar & milk and mix. Set aside.
  • I used a robot to knead my dough but you can 100% do this by hand, it will just be a bit longer (& more of a workout!)
  • Add the flour and salt in the mixing bowl of your robot (or just a bowl if you aren't doing it with the robot).
  • Make a hole in the middle then add the water+milk+sugar+yeast mix.
  • Add the vegetable oil.
  • Add the egg.
  • Start kneading with the robot. It took like 6-7 minutes to reach a smooth consistency. Add more flour if it's too sticky.
  • When it reaches the sticky but not too sticky consistency (basically the dough shouldn't stick to your hands if you grab it), grease the bowl, cover with a towel and leave it to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Roll it out and divide the dough in 6 balls.
  • Cover again and leave it to rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven at 190-200ºC.
  • Flatten one dough ball and add 2 tbsp of filling. Grab each corner and fold it to the center towards the filling, like if you were doing an envelope. Roll it so it's smooth.
  • Repeat for the 6 buns.
  • Add the buns to an oven tray with parchment paper. Mix one egg yolk with a tiny tiny bit of water and brush each bun with the eggwash
  • Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or till golden brown.
  • Enjoy!

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