Bucket lists seem to be quite the thing lately. I’ve seen a lot of blogs doing “30 by 30” or “12 in 2012” series on their blogs. While I think that’s an awesome idea, I’d kind of rather keep my list in my head. That way if I don’t get to everything on it, I’m the only one that’s disappointed. Besides, my list is ever evolving. It needs space to grow.
Homemade hamburger buns have been on my mental bucket list for WAY too long. I have no idea what I was waiting for, but I can tell you that now that I have made them, they’re here to stay. I did a lot of research and even when I found one that sounded perfect I still decided to make a small tweak. I like trying to include whole grains in my baked goods when I can so I hoped that I could make that substitution and still have a good result. I didn’t do a full half and half substitute because I didn’t want the buns to be too heavy. It worked! And the buns were everything I hoped they would be.
If you’ve been considering making your buns, give these a try! They are not nearly as intimating as you might think. Really, they’re no more difficult than making any bread. I used my standing mixer, but I’m fairly certain you could do the whole process by hand if you needed to. The results you get and the pride you’ll feel when you see those beautiful buns (snicker) will make every ounce of effort well worth it! Not to mention the benefit of knowing EXACTLY what is going into your food and avoiding things like HFCS.
1 cup warm water
3 Tbsp warm milk
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened*
Sesame seeds (optional)
Combine the water, milk, yeast and sugar in a measuring cup. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to proof, you’ll know it’s working when the top gets foamy and the yeast is dissolving. In a small bowl beat 1 egg.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the 2 flours and salt. Add the butter* and use your fingers to rub it into the flour, it should start to look like wet sand. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture and egg. Fit the mixer with a dough hook. Knead on low speed for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will be sticky, and that’s OK. If it seems dry, add a little extra water a tablespoon at a time.
Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. (Mine took an hour and 15 minutes).
Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a very lightly flour surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and place 4 on each baking sheet, allowing room for rising. Gently press down on each one so they are a little flatter. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
While the buns are rising, beat the second egg with one tablespoon of water. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place a shallow baking pan filled with water on the flour of the oven, or on a rack in the lowest position.
When the buns have risen, brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using). Bake for 15 minutes, turning the pans halfway through, or until the tops are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
*To make the butter step easier, I actually used cold butter and used a cheese grater to grate the cheese into the flour. From there it was easy to rub together.