Monday, August 11, 2014

Buns, glorious buns ... Your burgers will thank you!

I had been working on a recipe for barbecue pork sandwiches, and for a split second I thought about buying a package of hamburger buns.

But ... I just couldn't do it. Couldn't. It was 90 degrees outside and edging close to 80 degrees in the house (we don't have air conditioning) but I still didn't want to buy bread. I'm so used to making it that it's almost easier than running to the store. And I'm almost always disappointed in the flavor and texture of store-bought.

Yeah, I'm a bread snob. I admit it.

Even though I'm not all that impressed by my own bread any more - it's just everyday stuff, really - I have to say that these were pretty glorious. Fluffy and light, but still able to stand up to the drippy pork I piled on top of it. These would be great for burgers, too.

Sandwich Buns

1 cup water
1 package Red Star Platinum yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces) bread flour
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1/4 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup white rye flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Eggwash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Sesame, poppy, or other seeds, for topping

Combine everything (except the optional eggwash and seeds) in the bowl of your stand mixer and knead until elastic. Cover and let rise until at least doubled, about an hour.

Flour your work surface and sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal (or like with parchment, if you don't like cornmeal). Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Turn out the dough, and knead it very briefly, then divide it into 12 equal (ish) pieces. I usually don't mind if a few are smaller, in case someone's not as hungry.

Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten each ball into a disk about 3 inches in diameter, pressing mostly in the center, so that the center of the disk is thinner while the outside edge is thicker. This is so you'll end up with buns for sandwiches or burgers, instead of round balls.

Arrange the disks on the baking sheet and set aside to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Brush the dough with eggwash, if desired. This will make the tops of the buns shiny and will help the seeds adhere, if you're using them.

Bake the buns at 350 degrees, until the tops are a dark golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Transfer the buns to a rack to cool. If you want them to be soft on top, cover with a clean kitchen towel while they're cooling.