Saturday, October 31st, 2009
This summer I read this post by Smitten Kitchen lauding the merits of these hamburger buns, and I’ve made them at least once a month since then. At first I didn’t quite believe that something could be so simple and delicious as to make buying hamburger buns a thing of the past, but I’m 100% sold on these bad boys. She’s completely and utterly right, that with such a bun existing in our world, eating those boring store-bought ones just feels like a crime.
We quickly began making them for occasions other than just burgers. They’ve hosted grilled veggie sandwiches in late summer, deli meat and veggies for many a lunch, and breakfast melts on particularly hungry mornings. They’ve even held together the occasional peanut butter and jelly. These buns are pretty much ready for any sort of sandwich you want to throw at them.
This recipe makes beautiful, moist buns with just a hint of sweetness, that are the perfect size for your garden variety hamburger. This last time I decided to make little ones, just for fun, which works equally well (especially if you choose to make teeny-tiny burgers). I also added some dried Herbs de Provence on top, which was completely delicious. But regardless of the variation, you’d better believe I’m never buying hamburger buns again.
Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger buns
3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, softened
Sesame seeds or dried herbs of your choice (optional)
In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.
In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper or a large spoon, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Transfer dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, loosely, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be quite stick but it’s important to keep it this way to ensure that the buns are light and moist. Try to add as little flour as possible while needing.
Shape dough into a rough ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.
Set a large shallow pan of water (9×13 works perfectly) on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the center. Beat the remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or herbs, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.