Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sesame Burger Buns

Once a month, my usual bread baking column at Serious Eats becomes Knead the Book, where I bake five recipes from a book that has bread recipes. This month's book was The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger. The book is an oldie but a goodie. This was one of the recipes from the book.

I love home made hamburger buns, and they’re great for more than just burgers. Just about any sandwich filling will be happy nestled inside a burger bun, but they’re particularly good for wet or sloppy fillings or for sandwiches with goopy toppings.

These buns were the perfect texture. Not too soft, so they wouldn’t get soggy or fall apart, and not too dense or chewy, either.

This recipe starts with beating the dough with a whisk or paddle attachment on a stand mixer, then moves on to hand kneading or using a dough hook, adding just as much flour as the dough needs.

While this book doesn’t include weight measurements, it does give good descriptions of what the dough should look and feel like, so you can add more or less flour as needed, and that worked perfectly for this recipe.

What Worked: Most of the recipe worked exactly as stated, which is pretty refreshing.

What Didn't: There’s a slight error in the instructions – the yeast mixture is never mentioned after the 10-minute rest. Since other recipes in the book add the yeast mixture with the first addition of ingredients, that’s probably what was intended.

Suggested Tweaks: The yeast mixture is combined first in a small bowl, then added to more ingredients in a larger bowl. I don’t see any reason to dirty that small bowl, so next time I’ll combine it in the mixer bowl then add everything else on top of it.

Adapted from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger. Copyright © 1999. Published by Chronicle Books. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

Sesame Burger Buns
From The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger
Used with permission; all rights reserved

1 3/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 large egg beaten with 2 teaspoons water, for glazing
1/2 cup sesame seeds

In a small bowl, pour in 1/2 cup of the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar over the water. Stir to dissolve and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl using a whisk or in the work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 1/4 cups water, dried milk, the remaining sugar, salt, and butter. Add 2 cups of the flour. Beat hard until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft, shaggy dough that just clears the sides of the bowl is formed. Switch to a wooden spoon when necessary if mixing by hand.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 4 minutes, dusting with flour only 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to make a smooth and soft dough.

If kneading by machine, switch from the paddle to the dough hook and knead for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy and springs back when pressed. If desired, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead briefly by hand,

Place the dough in a greased deep container. Turn once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Grease or parchment-line a baking sheet.

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Shape each into a tight round ball and place each ball seam side down and at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

Use a second baking sheet rather than crowd the rolls. Flatten each ball with your palm. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, about 20 minutes.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Brush each roll with the egg glaze and sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds. Place the baking sheet on the rack in the center of the oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly brown and firm to the touch. Transfer the rolls immediately to a cooling rack. Cool completely before splitting.

This had been submitted to Yeastspotting.
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