Ahh…another Easter come and gone.
After this year’s sugar binge on chocolate, marshmallows and cookies, I think we’ll stay away from sweets for awhile. At least a couple of weeks anyway.
It’s getting really close to hamburger season. So close I can almost taste it. There’s not much better than a homemade burger, so why not make homemade hamburger buns too?
Have you ever made your own hamburger buns? If not, you’re probably not alone. I made my first ones only a few months ago, and it wasn’t even on purpose. Burgers were on the menu for dinner that night, but we didn’t have any buns. I couldn’t get to the grocery store, so I made my own.
You really can’t beat the taste of fresh baked bread. Last Spring when I was staying with my parents for a couple of weeks, I begged my mom to make fresh bread in her bread machine every couple of days. It’s just so good! Now I make my own, without a machine.
These hamburger buns are a little different than regular old sandwich bread in that they have egg, butter and sugar added to them – they are enriched. I made these ones with all white flour, but of course, you could exchange part or all of the white flour for whole wheat, if you wish. Like any bread, you won’t be able to make these at the last minute. They take almost 4 hours until they’re done.
The recipe starts by adding the yeast, a little flour and warm water to a bowl to proof. You’re waiting for the yeast to start to get foamy.
Once that happens, you add the egg, butter, sugar, salt and flour and knead it all together in your stand mixer, or with your hands.
Then you make it into a ball, coat it with a little oil, cover it up and forget about it – at least for the next couple of hours…
When it looks like this. The dough will have doubled in size.
Now we need to cut the dough into bun-sized pieces. This is where you need to do a bit of thinking. What are you using the buns for? If you’re looking for medium sized buns, cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Are they for large (1/2lb) burgers? If so, only cut the dough into 8 pieces. For small sliders, do 12-14 pieces. Form the dough into balls, tucking the ends under the bottom. Slightly flatten the balls with the palm of you hand, and cover them back up to rise again.
Once they’ve risen, and they start looking like real buns, you need to get them ready for baking. This includes brushing with an egg wash, and sprinkling on some sesame seeds (or poppy seeds, or onion, or cheese or whatever you want). The egg wash helps them get nice and brown in the oven. Then stick them in the oven.
Don’t they look good? Let them cool for a bit and you’ll be ready to go. Since these aren’t loaded with preservatives like store-bought buns, they get stale a little faster. That means you’ll want to eat them when they’re fresh, or freeze them right away. Don’t refrigerate fresh bread, because it makes it dry and hard. Room temp or freezer for your bread, always.
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast (1 envelope)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup warm water (105° F/41° C)
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- vegetable oil (for brushing bowl and dough)
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds or other bun topping, as needed
Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup flour and water in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Let sit until mixture becomes foamy, 10-15 minutes.
Stir the melted butter, egg, sugar and salt into the yeast mixture. Add the remaining flour and knead with a dough hook, or by hand until smooth and elastic.
Form dough into a ball and brush lightly with oil. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise for about 2 hours.
Form dough into a thick rope and cut into 8-14 pieces (see note). Work with 1 piece of dough at a time, and keep the remainder covered. Form each piece into a ball, tucking the ends underneath. Slightly flatten the ball with the palm of your hand. Place dough patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment about 1/2" apart. Allow to rise about 1 hour, until doubled.
Heat oven to 375°F. When buns have risen, whisk together egg and milk. Lightly brush the egg mixture on top of each bun, being careful not to collapse the dough (you should have quite a bit of egg wash left over). Immediately sprinkle with sesame seeds or other toppings if desired.
Bake buns for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool. If you aren't going to use the buns within 2 days, freeze leftovers.
For large buns cut dough into 8 pieces. For medium buns, cut into 10 pieces. For small slider buns, cut into 12-14 pieces.
Make sure to try these delicious hamburger buns with these favorites: