Air Buns

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup lard or shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 + 3 cups bread flour, divided
1 egg whisked with a tablespoon of water for the wash

In a bowl of a mixer or a regular bowl combine 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 cup warm water.  Sprinkle yeast over top and let sit a moment until foamy.

Meanwhile melt lard and add to it the sugar, salt, and white vinegar. Add in 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Let sit fifteen minutes.

Knead into the dough the remaining 3 cups of flour.  Knead until smooth and supple.  Let rise until it is doubled, about an hour.

Shape into 16 buns. Brush with egg wash. If you like sesame seeds on them, this is the time to do it.  Place on greased sheet and let rise for about a 1/2 of an hour.  Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.
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