Wednesday, April 9, 2014

hamburger buns.

In my ever growing quest to conquer making homemade versions of all things people only think they can purchase in bodegas, supermarkets, and Target, I figured in preparation for summer it was time to tackle the hamburger bun.  While I have a soft spot for Martin's Potato Buns (be still my heart), I find it hard to stomach all of the extra stuff, weird ingredients, unpronounceable named items that those buns are filled with.  A burger of grass-fed freshly ground beef and local raw-milk cheddar deserves a bun equally special and homemade because as a I mentioned in my previous post, a burger can only be as good as the sum of its parts.  

These hamburger buns are pretty close to perfect.  Somewhere between a brioche and a regular hamburger bun, these are soft and chewy but with enough of a bite that you aren't left feeling as if you're eating air.  They can squish a burger easily without breaking apart yet they are substantial enough to hold together the most delicate of fillings.  

Summer is looking pretty sweet already.  

Hamburger Buns

Makes 12 Buns but this can be halved to make 6

5 cups of bread or all-purpose flour (can replace some of the regular flour with 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat)
2 packages of active dry yeast 
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups hot water
½ cup of milk, for brushing the tops
¼ cup poppy or sesame seeds

In the mixer bowl add 2 cups of flour, the yeast and the salt. Stir to combine with the flat beater. Cut the softened butter into pieces and drop into the bowl with the mixer on low. Add the hot water. When the dough is a smooth batter, add ½ cup of flour at a time. Mix each addition well, until the dough has become a shaggy mass.

Switch to the dough hook. If you are going the by hand route, get ready to turn the dough out and knead, knead, knead.

With the dough hook, knead for about 6 to 8 minutes, add flour if dough is sticking to the bowl. By hand- knead until the dough becomes soft, smooth and elastic, add flour if it gets sticky.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area until it doubles in size. About 30-40 minutes.

Once risen, turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 pieces.  Shape into balls and let relax for about 5 minutes under wax paper.

Shape buns by flattening each ball under your hand, until it is about 1” thick and 4” in diameter.
Place the buns on prepared baking sheets. Cover with waxed paper or a tea towel. Let them rise until they are soft and puffy, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400. Brush buns with milk and sprinkle with seeds of choice.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and perfect looking. Let cool before slicing and assembling your burgers.  


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