Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wheat Hamburger Buns

The idea of making your own hamburger buns seemed kind of ridiculous to me at first. Why in the world would you go through that trouble when you could buy some decent ones for just a couple of bucks? I had seen a couple recipes for buns on other blogs but I pretty much just looked over them because I knew I would NEVER make them- or so I thought. But it turns out that I was wrong. It all started when I decided I would buy some buffalo meat at the grocery. It was very hectic, and I just grabbed it without checking the price, which I rarely do. As I was checking out, I realized it cost $11! Holy cow. There is no way I am just going to use this buffalo to make chili like originally planned. So, I decided to make burgers, but of course I didn't have any buns. Well, I guess it was time to make them, and it actually was a pretty good way to spend my lazy Saturday!
I found the recipe on Annie's Eats. I love her blog because I have never been disappointed by one of her recipes! Mine didn't look nearly as pretty as hers, but I'm used to that! I also used half whole wheat flour to up the nutritional value. I loved the addition of the whole wheat taste, but Nick thought they were a little "too wheaty" for him although he still enjoyed them. So, you can make that call yourself as to how much white vs wheat flour you want to use. We loved them topped with a delicious bison burger- yum! Recipe below is Annie's and my changes are noted in the parentheses.

Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns (adapted from Annie's Eats)
Makes 8 buns

1 tbsp. sugar
2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
¼ cup warm water (105°-115°)
1 cup warm milk (105°-115°) (I used 2%)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 tsp. salt
3 to 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat)
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. cold water
sesame, poppy or caraway seeds, or coarse salt, for topping (I used sesame seeds)

1. In a bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water.  Add the milk, oil, salt and 1 ½ cups of flour to the yeast mixture.  Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. (I wasn't sure which attachment I should use since I am a bread newbie, but I used the paddle attachment and that worked just fine).
2. Gradually add flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl *.  (This will vary but mine was pulling away after I added 1.5 cups for a total of 3 cups).
3. Switch to the dough hook and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough, about 7-9 minutes. 
4. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. (I just sprayed my bowl with my olive oil mister). Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough in oil. 
5. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise in a warm area until doubled, about one hour. 
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface.  Working with oiled hands, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball, and flatten into 3 ½ -inch disks.  For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half-inch apart so they will grow together when they rise.  For crisper bun, place them three inches apart. ( I spaced mine out.)
7. Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. 
8. About 15-20 minutes before you want to bake the buns, preheat the oven to 400°.  Just before baking, brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with any desired toppings. 
9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°. (I used my meat thermometer for this, which worked well and they were done in 15 minutes). When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack.  This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

* Annie's Note: This particular dough should be quite slack, i.e. very relaxed in order to make soft and tender buns.  So you want to add only enough more flour, past the 3 cup point, to make the dough just kneadable, sprinkling in only enough more to keep it from sticking to you or the work surface.