Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Homemade Hot Dog & Burger Buns

I hate buying store bought hamburger and hot dog buns. Nothing against the quality, it's just that most of the time, half the package gets thrown out because my family can't finish the whole thing within a reasonable time frame.

The motivation behind me wanting to make my own buns was because I wanted to make a sandwich just for me and I needed a hot dog bun but I didn't want to buy an entire package of buns because again, there would be so much waste! By the way, that special sandwich will be revealed tomorrow and I'm crazy excited about it. So, if you're curious, come back! How's that for a teaser?

Anyway, it turns out that buns are pretty easy to make and they're super cute. I don't think I'd turn to homemade buns for a big barbecue for dozens of people (too much effort for a crowd that might not really appreciate it) but for a little grilling at home, I think they'd be kind of awesome. And by "kind of awesome" I mean super, mega, crazy awesome.
Ingredients [yields 4 buns]:
1 to 1½ cups flour
½ cup milk
1½ teaspoon honey
1¼ teaspoon dry active yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
+ egg wash
+ poppy seeds
+ sesame seeds

Start by warming the milk and honey just long enough to get the chill off. The milk shouldn't be any hotter than 110F.
Add the yeast to the milk and mix together. Let the yeast mixture get foamy. If it doesn't foam, then the yeast might be dead; maybe they were dead to begin with or maybe you murdered then. Whatever the case, you've got to start over! That's why it's important to keep the milk under 110F; hotter than that and the yeast will burn up and pass away.
Add the yeasty milk to a bowl and add in the olive oil and salt and mix together. Dump in about 1 cup of flour and stir to combine.
Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky but add only enough to allow the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Dump the dough out onto a working surface and knead until smooth. The dough will be quite loose and sticky; that's good. The loose dough will yield a lovely, fluffy bread.
Oil the dough and cover with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Split the dough into quarters and shape into rounds for hamburger buns and long logs for hot dog buns.
Place the shaped buns onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour. Just a note, if you like that soft spot that shows up on store bought buns, you know, that squishy spot where the buns were attached, put the dough pieces a little closer together so that when they rise, they'll touch. If you dislike that soft spot, make sure to leave a good amount of room around each piece of dough.
Beat an egg and use a pastry brush to coat the tops of the buns. Sprinkle the buns with seeds, if you like. I used a few sesame seeds on the burger buns and some poppy seeds on the hot dog buns. Bake the bread in a 350F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until they're lovely and golden brown.
Mmm, nice buns, baby. Let the buns cool on a wire rack and split with a serrated knife when you're ready to eat. These buns are super fluffy and soft and yeasty and delicious. And like I said, I'm sharing an amazing sandwich tomorrow so please come back!
Here's the recipe page:

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