Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Illustrated Guide: Homemade Hamburger Buns

If it's flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft. – Snoop Dogg 

Homemade hamburger buns. The burger is beef combined with sautéed portobello,
red onion and cubed provolone cheese. It is topped with fried pancetta and basil mayonnaise.
Here's another "illustrated guide, how-to" for you all. It's Wednesday, so the weekend will be upon us before we know it.

As far as I know the weather will cooperate here in Nova Scotia and if so many of us will be grilling. Why not try homemade hamburger buns? They're really easy.

I posted about homemade hot dog/hamburger buns earlier (here), but they took a sourdough starter. The drawback was extra time, the benefit that they kept fresh a little longer… Bread without a starter usually goes stale in 24-48 hours. Case in point, French baguettes – mad fresh every day – and delicious.

These buns can be done in one day – even one morning or afternoon. So no need to pre-plan if you're a "spur of the moment" type of person.

As far as yield, if you cut the dough into 8 portions you get larger sized buns. 12 portions will yield "normal" sized buns. Therefore it's easy to use this same recipe for crowds of different sizes.

So without further ado, here's the "illustrated how to":

After the first rise. It's very bubbly and sticks to the sides. The indent
on the top is from my finger testing it. It is not at all a "firm" stiff dough.

Homemade Hamburger Buns
Prep: 15 min  |  1st Rise: 2 hours  |  2nd Rise: 30 min  |  Bake 20-25 min  |  Yield 8-12 buns
1 tbsp yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp butter
1 egg
3-1/2 cups white flour
1 tsp salt
butter for rubbing the buns

Left: half the dough divided into balls; right: piece remaining to be cut.
I'm making 8 buns.

To make the buns of equal size divide the dough in half (visually) and roll
each portion into a ball. From there it is fairly easy to cut into 4 or 6, depending on
if you're making 8 or 12 buns. Each ball is flattened into a round for the second rise.
Warm the milk, water and butter on the stove to between 110°F and 115°F. Use a thermometer. Any hotter and the liquid will kill the yeast, and any lower temperature will slow down the activation time.

Proof the yeast in the warm liquid for 15 minutes. If it's creamy it's "good to go", if not start again as there may be something wrong with your yeast. Always ensure your yeast is fresh before you start. (It doesn't last forever in your cupboard.)

Ready to go into the oven. The tops have been slightly dimpled with my fingertips.
This helps the buns go "out" as opposed to "up". We don't want balls for buns.
Whisk the egg into the proofed yeast mixture. Add about 3-1/2 cups of flour. You want a very  moist, somewhat sticky dough. (The moisture content in flour can vary from day to day, so some days it will take more, some days less..)

Knead briefly, for about 1 minute to bring it all together. Place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel.

Let rise in the warmth (like outside in 85° sunshine…) for 2 hours, until doubled in book. Mine actually formed gas bubbles on the surface.

Finished buns, glistening with butter. Mmmmmm.......
Grease a cookie sheet(s) with butter and divide the dough into 8 or 12 equal balls.

Place each ball on the sheet and flatten out. Let them rise for 30 minutes. Dimple the dough slightly with your fingertips just before placing in the oven.

Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes. I found the lower time worked fine. 

Rub the tops with butter to keep them soft. If you want crustier buns, omit this step.

Et, voila! Homemade hamburger buns – perfect for your gourmet-style hamburgers.


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