or..."Buns on the Bathroom Floor"
This is Post #4 in my "Bun in the Oven" series. Read about the inspiration here. It also happens to be a re-publishing of an old Transplanted Baker post first published a year ago today! Stay tuned for the last bun post and recipe in the coming days, it's another piece of pure Americana and an easy one to master!
We woke to the first snowfall of the season. Only the mountain tops received a dusting, so no shoveling was required, but there is no doubt about it, we got some snow. Don’t believe me? Take a look:
It is not my intention to come across as an over achiever with this post. You see, in nearly every normal instance, I would not devote a few hours of my precious Saturday afternoon to baking hamburger buns. But then again, burger night is a sacred meal. When you carefully season a patty of ground beef with just the right spice blend, you don’t want to go on and ruin it with a crummy, crumbly bun. For a nation that eats so many burgers, one would think that a decent bun would have been created. The sad fact of the matter is, burger buns are a grave disappointment in this land of delicious baked goods. So disappointing, that a girl must go out of her way to bake her own buns.
A potential lack of decent burger buns was not on our mind when we set out to find an apartment in Førde. What was on our mind was proximity to the center of town, a reasonable rent, and heated floors.
Indeed. Of course, this shouldn’t have even been a passing thought because everyone has heated floors in this country- even those with bathrooms no larger than a shoebox. And for all of you out there who are living our lives in cold climates without heated floors, I must boast and brag about the beauty of this invention. It makes waking up on a freezing winter morning much less of a struggle. I spent far too many Minnesota winter mornings shivering and damning the inadequate furnaces. And even if your furnace is adequate, your heating bill is ridiculous.
What does this have to do with hamburger buns, you ask? Well, naturally, when I want my buns to rise, I have no radiator to set them on. Hence- buns on the bathroom floor. And if you are starting to have second thoughts about ever wanting to have dinner at my place, I can assure you that the floors were cleaned over the weekend and we have neither pets nor children to place their greasy paws on my buns.
If you're asking yourself if you really want to put yourself out and spend the time making your own hamburger buns, consider the freshness of these buns, consider the naturalness of the ingredients, consider what The Transplanted Baker would do...
Really Good Hamburger Buns
(Recipe from Gourmet Mag., 6/08)
*Makes about 16-18 Large buns (work fine to cut recipe in half, although they freeze well up to a month, if wrapped carefully).
*The directions intend that you use a stand up mixer with paddle and dough attachments. If you’re like me and have only a wooden spoon, go ahead and just stir ingredients together in the same sequence until a dough forms. Knead on a floured surface, incorporating just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic.
2 cups (1/2 liter) whole milk
1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water
2 (1/4-oz) packages active dry yeast (the same as 14 g or 5 teaspoons)
1/4 cup (50 g) plus 1/2 t. sugar, divided
1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into Tbsp pieces and softened
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon salt
6 cups (850 g) All-Purpose flour, divided
1 large egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water for egg wash
*optional: sesame seeds for sprinkling
1. Bring milk to a bare simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and cool to a lukewarm temperature.
2. Meanwhile, stir together warm water, yeast, and the half teaspoon of sugar in mixer bowl until yeast has dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
3. Add butter, warm milk, and remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar to the yeast mixture and mix with paddle attachment at low speed until butter has melted, then mix in eggs until combined well. Add salt and 4 cups (550 g) flour and mix, scraping down side of bowl as necessary, until flour is incorporated. Beat at medium speed 1 minute.
4. Switch to dough hook and beat in remaining 2 cups (300 g) flour at medium speed until dough pulls away from side of bowl, about 2 minutes; if necessary, add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Beat 5 minutes more. (Dough will be sticky.)
5. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place (like a radiator or bathroom floor) until doubled, about 2 1/2 hours.
6. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Punch down dough, then roll out on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 14-inch (36 cm) round (about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick). Cut out as many rounds as possible with floured cutter (about 3” (7 cm) round) and arrange slightly apart on baking sheets. Gather and re-roll scraps, then cut out more rounds.
7. Loosely cover buns with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until they hold a finger mark when gently poked, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
8. Preheat oven to 375F/190C with racks in upper and lower thirds.
9. Brush buns with egg wash and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are golden and undersides are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 14 to 20 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.