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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade Hamburger Buns - Rated A+

No more store bought buns in this house. In my process of eliminating more processed foods from my diet I'm always doing some on-line surfing looking for something new and exciting that I could make from scratch to become more sustainable and less dependent on the grocery store.  This recipe is one-of-a-kind originally created for hamburgers, but the possibilities for other uses are endless. They are, of course, terrific with hamburgers; they make great sandwiches using cold cuts, mixed spreads, fried eggs, etc.; awesome used in sloppy joe's; terrific toasted (with butter and/or jam); or just eaten plain as a snack.

these are the buns I made
The picture provided on-line is exactly what they look like - no surprises. I have to admit that on many occasions I have tested an on-line recipe that, for many reasons, I was not satisfied with. This was, by no means, one of them.

Yes, this is a recipe using yeast (which could intimidate some) but it is soooo simple and the final product is soooo delicious you'll be having your friends and family envious of your abilities. This is a perfect simple recipe for a beginner's first attempt at working with yeast.

The recipe:

1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1/2 cup (4 oz) warm water
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter


In a large mixing bowl stir the yeast into the warm water and let it sit until dissolved. (I test the water to be sure it is 115-120 F.)

In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add all the flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough. Knead at low speed, or by hand against the counter, for 10 minutes. The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. (I put mine inside the oven with the door closed and the light on.)

needs 5 more minutes to rise

Dust your work surface with a little flour and turn out the risen dough on top. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each into a tight ball. Transfer the balls to a baking sheet and let rise on the counter until they look puffy and hamburger-sized, roughly 30-40 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.

Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. This helps the tops to brown and keeps the crust soft. Bake the buns until golden, 15-18 minutes.

Let the buns cool to room temperature before slicing and using. They are best if eaten within the next day or two but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.

Tips and tricks (all tried and tested successfully by myself):

  • Divide the dough into smaller pieces to produce more buns of a smaller size for smaller appetites.
  •  Make a batch of smaller size buns to use as rolls to accompany  a pasta meal.
  • Make miniature buns to use to prepare slider cold cut sandwiches for a group gathering. I recently made 30 miniature sliders with equal amounts of turkey, ham and cheese, and bologna and cheese for the celebration of my dad's 94th birthday. The buns can be made a day ahead and the sandwiches can be prepared early in the day and kept in the refrigerator until needed.

Additional Notes: (they came with the recipe but I have not tried any of these steps)

  • For whole wheat buns - Substitute 1/2 - 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and prepare the recipe as usual. The texture of the buns will be a bit more dense, but still very delicious and burger-worthy.
  • Doubling the recipe - Double all of the ingredients except for the yeast. To make even more buns, it's best to prepare separate batches as the dough becomes too cumbersome to work with easily.
  • Freeze buns for later - Wrap the buns in aluminum foil and then store in an air-tight container or freezer bag. Let them thaw in their packaging overnight on the counter. Foil-wrapped buns can also be thawed more quickly or rewarmed in a 300 F oven for about 10-15 minutes.

There's no practicing with this recipe. It comes out perfect every time.

No need to ever shop for bread again when you have these delish buns in your house.

After you get this recipe mastered you'll have to check out my recipe for Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf) bread. (not yet posted)

Also coming up to post will be a great recipe for homemade English Muffins that puts all the store-bought English muffins to shame!

WARNING: After tasting these ridiculously easy and delicious yeast recipes you may become addicted to making your own bread products and never shop your local supermarket for them again.

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