With all the grilling taking place during the summer months, I thought it would be nice to conquer a few homemade bread recipes that could take our burgers (beef, chicken, veggie, etc.) to the next level.
First up? A standard sesame seed bun.
I’ve had this recipe bookmarked since last year when I purchased Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
Let’s take it for a spin.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.
Pour in the egg, butter, and milk, then mix on low until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough forms a ball.
If the dough seems stiff and dry, trickle in more milk until the dough is soft and supple. Knead by hand (directions below) or knead in your mixer for 6 to 8 minutes using the dough hook. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, but stick ever so slightly to the bottom.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Spray the top with oil, then cover with plastic wrap.
Set the dough aside for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature until the dough doubles in size.
Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 3 oz in size), then form into tight rounds. Mist the tops of the dough with spray oil, then cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Gently press down on the tops of the rolls with your fingers to flatten slightly. Transfer the buns to the sheet pans.
Mist the tops of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof the dough at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the buns have nearly doubled in size.
Brush the buns with an egg wash, then garnish with sesame or poppy seeds. (I’m a sesame girl all the way.)
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown. (If you’re using multiple baking sheets, I’d rotate them from top to bottom halfway through the allotted cooking time.)
Let cool slightly, then pile ‘em up high and fire up the grill.
For their debut appearance, I served up my favorite bbq chicken burgers (if you’ve made these before, may I recommend adding sliced avocado? Absolutely essential addition!) and some homemade sweet potato chips.
While beautiful, the buns were a bit too dense for my tastes. I think they turned out exactly as they were meant to (I’ve made a number of recipes from Peter Reinhart before, and they’ve all been excellent), but I prefer a bun that’s a little squishier.
Am I ready to say this is the last hamburger bun recipe I’ll ever use? No. They were certainly delicious, and far better than the average store bought variety, but my quest for the perfect homemade bun continues.
At the top of my “must try” list are brioche buns (I could eat these on their own every day, all day) and pretzel buns. My hubby and I are lovers of all things salty, so I have a feeling the latter would go over very well with us.
However, if you’re looking for an easy bread recipe to try at home (and who doesn’t need hamburger buns constantly throughout the summer?), this is a good place to start.
*Recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
Yields: 12 buns
Time: 15 min prep, 3 1/2 hrs resting, 15 min cooking
- 4 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp granulates sugar
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 egg, slightly beaten, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 egg whisked with 1 tsp water until frothy, for egg wash
- Sesame or poppy seeds for garnish (optional)
- Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Pour in the egg, butter, and milk, and mix on low speed until all the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a ball. If the dough seems very stiff and dry, trickle in more milk until the dough is soft and supple.
- Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook), adding more flour, if necessary, to create a dough that is soft, supple and tacky, but not sticky. Continue kneading (or mixing) for 6 to 8 minutes. (In the electric mixer, the dough should clear the sides of the bowl, but stick ever so slightly to the bottom.)
- Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to a bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Ferment at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
- Remove the fermented dough from the bowl and divide it into twelve 3-ounce pieces. Shape the pieces into tight rounds. Mist the dough lightly with spray oil and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Gently press down on the tops of the rolls with your fingers to flatten slightly. Transfer the buns to the sheet pans.
- Mist the tops of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Proof the dough at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the buns have nearly doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the buns with the egg wash and garnish with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired.
- Bake the buns for approximately 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and register just about 180 degrees F in the center. The buns should cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight zip-top bag.