Storebought hamburger buns suck, and it offends me that we are expected to buy those things, because they are definitely in the running for the “worst bread ever” contest. Who knows, maybe I can’t stand them because I make all of my bread at home, but bread is such an important component of a sandwich, so doesn’t the same apply to hamburger buns? A bad one can really ruin your hamburger. So I recently decided to start making my own. And the nice part about this whole thing is you make 12 at a time, and what you don’t use, just cut them in half and stick them in the freezer for the next time, toast them up, and use them for another set of burgers. Here’s how:
15 oz all purpose flour (3 cups)
10 oz whole wheat flour (2 cups)
1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
2.25 tsp instant yeast (one envelope. Active dry yeast will work too)
wheat germ (optional)
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat, and let it stand until it’s lukewarm (too hot and it will kill the yeast). If you have an instant read thermometer, you want to use it when it’s 110 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour and yeast together to combine. Pour the lukewarm wet ingredients from the saucepan into the flour, and stir until the dough starts to come together. If you have a stand mixer, use the dough hook to knead for 8 minutes. If not, knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes (and resist adding too much flour. Adding more flour will make the bun more dense, and heavy). Place the dough in a large oil greased bowl, and toss the dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).
Redistribute the yeast in the dough with your hands (try not to degas the dough too much) and divide into 12 portions. Make tight balls by pulling the dough out and around and pinching it on the bottom.
Place them on two sheet pans lined with parchment paper, and flatten each ball with the palm of your hand until it’s about 3 or 4 inches wide (wet your hands first). Let the rolls rise until they have doubled in size, around 30 to 45 minutes. Make sure you give them the time to rise, or else they will be very dense.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Beat the egg in a small bowl, and brush the tops of the rolls so they get an extra beautiful color on them in the oven. Sprinkle the tops with wheat germ if desired:
Bake for 16-18 minutes until they have browned on the top and bottom (they should be 200 degrees on an instant read thermometer). YAY homemade hamburger buns!!!
Yield: 12 hamburger buns
Recipe adapted from Belles Hamburger Buns.