Friday, September 28, 2012

Hamburger Buns

 So I'm a little too late for the whole summer barbeque party.  Actually, I only found this recipe a few days ago and was wishing that I had discovered it back in May, not September! Many of the other hamburger recipes I have found seemed very complicated and a lot of work.  So I was surprised when this King Arthur Flour recipe was a straight-forward list of ingredients and instructions AND it got excellent reviews!

These ended up making huge, lovely hamburger buns.  It made a very soft crumb and they rose beautifully.  Of course, the taste is so much better than store-bought so I'm glad to have finally found a go-to hamburger bun recipe!

However, these buns shouldn't be exclusive to hamburgers (just like I think hamburgers shouldn't be exclusive to summer).  We just used them with some black bean burgers last weekend which worked very well.  I also think these will be an excellent vehicle for pulled pork sandwiches and loads of other non-traditional burgers like barbeque cheddar chickpea burgers, lentil & walnut burgers (if you choose not to use a pita) or buffalo chicken burgers.  You can make some seriously tasty croutons out of any leftover buns, too.

If you do make 8 buns out of this, I found that that these were really big -- next time, I'll make 12 buns from this recipe.

Hamburger Buns
Taken from: King Arthur Flour (they also have a step-by-step tutorial here)
Makes 8-12 buns (or 24 slider buns)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water*
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup white whole wheat, 1 cup bread flour, and the rest all-purpose)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter, for topping (I omitted this)
  • Optional: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc for topping (I omitted this; if using, KA recommends brushing with an egg white wash instead of melted butter to help the seeds adhere.  It also says to feel free to add the extra yolk to the dough, reserving the egg white for the wash.) 
*For best results (a smooth, slightly soft dough), use the smaller amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate); and something in between the rest of the time.
  1. If using rapid rise yeast, combine the yeast, sugar, and water in a large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes until frothy (if you are using instant yeast, you can skip this step).
  2. Optional: I heat my oven to 170 at this point and as soon as it preheats, I turn it off.  For me, at least, this creates a warm environment for the dough to rise without being too hot and killing the yeast.
  3. Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough (approximately 7 minutes on medium-low in a stand mixer or about 10 minutes by hand).
  4. Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it's nearly doubled in bulk.
  5. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball. Place the buns on two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets (6 per sheet), cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.
  6. Brush the buns with about half of the melted butter (if topping buns with seeds, brush buns with 1 egg white beaten with 1/4 cup of water instead of the butter to help the seeds adhere)
  7. Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 18 minutes, until golden. Remove them from the oven, and brush with the remaining melted butter. This will give the buns a satiny, buttery crust.
  8. Cool the buns on a rack.


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