Thursday, August 20, 2009

Homemade Hamburger Buns

I've been wanting to try making my own for quite awhile now, so when I saw Mother Earth News had a recipe I was excited to try it.
I've never made something that required a sponge before, but it wasn't hard at all. I made the sponge last night:

1 Cup warm milk
4tbs unsalted butter (I just realized I used salted- hopefully mine don't turn out too salty)
3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
and (optional)
2 TBSP potato flour (or instant potato buds- I used the potato pearls and so far so good)
1/4 C dry milk
3 TBSP bread improver (I assumed that this meant wheat gluten, but who knows)

If you don't add the optional things, add an extra 1/4 to 1/2 C flour

Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let sit overnight or at least 2 hours.

In the morning, comine 1/4 C warm water and 2 tsp instant yeast.  Add mixture to sponge, and stir in with a spoon (I tried my mixer and spilled yeasty water all over), then add 1 1/4 C flour, 2 TBSP sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Knead by hand, or in a mixer for about 10 minutes (longer if by hand)  until dough is soft and smooth.  Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and a towel and raise for 1 hour.  Pour out onto lightly floured surface, and divide into 6 balls.  Place balls on a lightly greased bun pan, cover with greased plastic wrap and a towel and rest for 10 minutes.  Remove towel (not plastic wrap) and flatten balls with your palm.  Replace towel and raise for about an hour.  Bake in preheated 375 F oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.  

Makes 6 buns.

Review:  The buns are good.  They have a light flavor that won't fight with hamburgers and ketchup.  I would make 8 or 10 buns out of the amount of dough one batch makes- they turned out huge.  I think I'd also use a big flat plate to flatten the dough with since my hand wasn't terribly even.  I think I'll make them again, but they are kind of a lot of work (not really any more than any good roll/bread recipe, but we're talking hamburgers here) so I probably won't make them often.  We don't eat hamburgers very often anyway.  Tripling the batch worked great- and the dough was a beautiful dough.  I'm not sure if that's what dough made with sponge is always like, but I'll definitely have to try other sponge recipes.


wordsfromhome said...

There is a product called dough conditioner that I used to use back in the middle ages when I still made bread at home. Can't remember the source, but it was kind of pricey. If you get a good texture without it, I would not bother.
Also, if you have ever made Grandma Winnie's Orange rolls.... you have used a sponge!

wordsfromhome said...

Also, your sponge should come out sticky, very bubbly, and more the consistency of batter than of dough. If you had difficulty mixing the additional liquid and flour into the mix in the morning, your sponge was too thick and dry, so I would cut back on the flour in the sponge. You might want to try only the white flour in the sponge and put all the ww flour in later.

Alice said...

I've heard of dough conditioner. I actually have wheat gluten, so I used that. The purpose of the wheat gluten (as I understand it) it to make the dough more flexible so it raises better.

I don't remember orange rolls having a sponge. I guess since it didn't have to sit overnight or call it a sponge, it didn't occur to me.

That must be why these turned out so well- all that practice. :)

Alice said...

The sponge was sticky and bubbly, maybe a little thicker than batter. The problem with mixing the liquid in was that my mixer went too fast and the spilled out the sides. Mixing by hand was just fine.

wordsfromhome said...

It seemed to me that the recipe had unnecessary steps. I think I would use the format from orange rolls and eliminate some of the work. Like, why add the yeast in two steps? Was there anything in the article that explained it?
Making the sponge the night before might be handy. You know what making orange rolls requires in one day.

Alice said...

I'll have to play around with the recipe.

The article didn't explain why the two steps of yeast- I kind of figured, the full amount of yeast would make the sponge grow more than it was supposed to, since it was instant yeast. I don't know.

Stephen said...

Thanks for sharing that.

I sure miss The Whole Earth Catalog from when it was paper.