I made these hamburger buns weeks ago. Yes, it was weeks ago. I didn’t tell you about it, which is sort of strange. I tell you about so much here. The cooking or baking of anything new doesn’t happen as often as I’d like these days so I am apt to sing it from the mountaintops. But I kept these to myself. I suppose it didn’t seem right to talk about burgers around the holidays. I imagine you were all hopping from party to party. You were eating festive things. I’m not sure what those festive things were, but I have ideas. Maybe roasted chickens? Nicely brined turkeys? Fancy little pieces of fish and meat that fit on those miniature pancake things?
Whatever you were eating or doing, it’s all behind you now. Maybe the time is ripe for this post as you are possibly craving something a little less fussy? A burger, quite possibly? That’s how I feel from time to time. I don’t want a burger everyday. My body can’t take it. There are times, however, when it’s all I want. It’s like a pulsating need that cannot be ignored. It’s an itch I have to scratch.That’s the mood that struck me when I made burgers again recently. I wanted a burger. I wanted it yesterday. However, whenever I sat down to envision dinner and make a grocery list, the idea of those prepackaged buns really took the wind out of my sails. Those store-bought buns are quite possibly the worst showcase for a good slab of beef or whatever you use in your burger. So, I set out to do something I’d never done before. I decided to make my own hamburger buns.
I was quite surprised to find hamburger buns brilliantly easy to make. Why did it take me so long to make them? These homemade buns were buttery and flaky like a cross between a good biscuit and a flaky croissant. It was the best home burger experience of my lifetime. These buns are definitely going into regular rotation around here. And, I will admit I loved them so much I actually used them for toast with jam in the days following our hamburger meal.
Try it and let me know what you think. Is the time ripe for burgers in your house? Or, are you still reeling from the holiday madness?
1 and 1/2 cups milk
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
4 and 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
5 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water
Sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter and heat until the butter is melted, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to 105° to 115°F. Add the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand for 10 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the 4 cups flour, the sugar and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the milk mixture and knead until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl, oil the inside of the bowl and return the dough to the bowl.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 10-by-7 1/2-inch rectangle. Using a ruler as a guide, cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch squares. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing the buns evenly apart, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 400°F.
Remove the plastic wrap from the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg mixture and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until the buns are golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a bun registers 190°F, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut in half and use as hamburger buns. Makes 12 hamburger buns.