Friday, May 10, 2013

Homemade Hamburger Buns

So what do you do when cheeseburgers are in the list of your top five favorite foods, and you can get ground beef, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. BUT you cannot get hamburger buns?

You make 'em.   From scratch.

Now, I will admit, that we can now find hamburger buns in the huge metropolis an hour's drive away from us.  So sometimes, we do indulge in the convenience of store-bought buns.  Open the bag. Bam. Done.

But not having had access to store-bought buns for several years forced me to make my own.  And now, I just don't like store-bought anymore.  Tastes like preservatives.  Blech.   Back in the olden days when I lived in America, I couldn't tell the difference.  Okay, so I never actually recall eating homemade hamburger buns while in America.  Why, when you can just open the bag?  Bam. Done. Right?

This is why, my friends.   For just a little extra effort, you can treat your all-beef patty to a luxurious (albeit brief) stay in a fresh-from-the-oven, delicious homemade bun.

So worth it.

The Step-By-Step

Dissolve the yeast in water

Get yourself some warm water and two packages of yeast.  (I always gauge water temp for yeast as being about the same as I'd want to take a shower in).

Pour the water in a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top.  Let it sit a couple of minutes to soften the yeast.

Mix up the dough

Oops. I was refereeing sibling squabbles and forgot to take the photo of the eggs, oil and sugar getting mixed in to the yeast-water.  You'll just have to trust me.

Now take your egg-oil-sugar-yeast-water mixture and add in the flour, salt and baking powder.

Stir it up good.

The dough will start coming together, but it will still be a shaggy mess.  

Dump the mess out onto your (clean) counter.

Knead the Dough and Let it Rise

Form your mess into a ball.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Well, that's what the directions say.  This was about as smooth as it got for me.  

Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise for about 20-30 minutes.   It won't double in size, but you'll notice an increase.  You'll also notice the sun is setting, making it difficult to get even lighting in the photos.

Divide and Form the Dough

Divide the dough into twelve equal-ish pieces. 

Flatten each piece of dough into a circle about the size of your palm.  Make them more flat than you think -- they'll rise in the oven.

Now let them rise another 10 minutes or so. 

Brush with Egg-Wash and Top with Sesame Seeds

While they are rising, brush the tops with egg-wash (one egg beaten with a tablespoon of water). 

Okay, the perspective on this photo makes it look like the dough rounds are cookie-sized compared to my hands.  It's just a weird angle.  The dough rounds are about 4 or 5 inches across and my hands are not gargantuan.  Just to clarify.  

Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on each bun. 


Throw in the oven for about 18-20 minutes. 

Remove from the oven when they look all gorgeous like this. 

Bam. Done.  

The Recipe:

Homemade Hamburger Buns
(Makes 12 buns)

2 packages yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water
1/3 cup oil
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water for egg wash
sesame seeds

Pour warm water into a mixing bowl.  Sprinkle yeast onto the water.  Let stand 5 minutes.

Stir eggs, oil and sugar into the yeast.  Let stand another 5 minutes.

Add flour, salt and baking powder.  Mix in to make a shaggy dough.

Dump out the dough onto counter and knead until smooth and elastic.

Cover with a tea towel and let rise 20-30 minutes.  

Divide dough into 12 equal parts.  Form each piece into a flattened circle about the size of your palm.

Place on cookie sheets and let rest another 15 minutes.  While you wait, brush the tops of the buns with egg-wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake 18-20 minutes.