Hamburger buns are pretty easy to make at home, but it does take a little patience. What they lack in timesaving, though, they make up for in superb flavor. Homemade hamburger buns will taste fresher and better than anything you can find at the grocery store, and if you choose to make them with healthy whole grains, you'll have a leg up on the nutrition factor, too. If you happen to make too many, these buns also make delicious breakfast toast.
To make the dough sponge, you will need:
1 cup warm milk (If you need to proof your yeast, reduce the milk to 3/4 cup, and proof yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.)
4 tbsp unsalted butter, partially melted in the warmed milk
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast*
2 tbsp potato flour (You could substitute instant potato buds.)*
1/4 cup King Arthur’s dry milk*
3 tsp King Arthur’s Whole Grain Bread Improver
To make the dough, you will need:
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1⁄2 tsp salt
1 egg white beaten with 1 tbsp water
Sesame seeds, oat flakes, or other whole/milled seeds and grains of your choice
These additives are optional, but yield lighter, more flavorful buns.
If you don’t use them, add an extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour.
night before baking, mix sponge ingredients and allow to rest at room
temperature overnight, or for at least 2 hours. Scrape the contents of
the bowl to the bottom, and push plastic wrap down over the sponge to
keep it from drying out. Cover with a towel and leave out in a
draft-free area. In a separate bowl, pour a little water over any hard
seeds or grains that you plan to use as topping, and let them soak
overnight. Softer seeds can be added dry.
In the morning, mix the
yeast into the warm water, and work that mixture into the sponge. Then
mix in the remaining dough ingredients. Knead the dough (in a stand
mixer or by hand) until it is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes in a
mixer). If the dough is unmanageably sticky, add a few more tablespoons
of flour. If it’s too dry, add a little water.
Place the dough in a
lightly greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with
lightly greased plastic wrap first, and then a kitchen towel. Let the
dough rise in a warm spot for about an hour, until it has doubled in
bulk. If you plan to include a seed topping on your buns, this is a good
time to take out an egg and let it come up to room temperature before
separating the white.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured
surface and divide it into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball
and place it in a lightly greased bun pan. (Find a perfect bun pan at King Arthur Flour.) Cover the pan with lightly
greased plastic wrap and a towel, and let the buns rest for about 10
minutes. Then remove the towel only and press down on the tops. Replace
the towel and let rise until puffy, about an hour.
baking, remove the plastic wrap and brush each bun top with the egg
white/water mixture, and sprinkle with desired topping.
the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake buns for 15 to 20 minutes,
or until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven, pop them out of the
pan with a spatula, and cool on a wire rack. Yields 6 buns.
For more hamburger-bun making tips, and a handful of different recipes, check out Delicious, Homemade Whole-Grain Hamburger Buns by William D. Adams.