For some reason, my family and I never thought to make our own hamburger buns. Recently though, we’ve been seeing homemade buns show up a lot on one of our favorite Food Network shows as basically the star of a perfect burger, second only (of course) to the meat. It totally makes sense. So yesterday I decided to try making my own. I looked first to Smitten Kitchen for a recipe, because Deb has never failed me yet :) A quick search revealed her recipe for Light Brioche Buns and I felt no need to look further. They did not disappoint!
The only change I made was to make them whole wheat. The texture was perfect before and after toasting them. They were so soft and slightly buttery, yet they still held up wonderfully under the juices of the meat. These can be used for other sandwiches as well… not just burgers. My dad said that these buns remind him of the bread that was served at his school when he was little, slathered with peanut butter and served with a carton of milk for 25 cents. I might even experiment with the same recipe in loaf form, but that’s another post.
Makes 8 buns
3 tablespoons warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2½ tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour, with 3 tablespoons removed and replaced with vital wheat gluten (you can substitute 3 cups bread flour and 1/3 cup all-purpose)
1½ teaspoons salt
2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
In a glass measuring cup, combine water, milk, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add butter and rub between your fingers with the flour to make crumbs. Transfer to the bowl of a KitchenAid fitted with the dough hook, and stir in the yeast mixture and the beaten egg on low speed. Once the dough comes together, increase speed to medium and knead for about 8 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky. You can also do this step with your hands and a wooden spoon.
With floured hands, form the dough into a rough ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the dough into 8 equal parts. I used my kitchen scale* to get my balls exactly the same size (3.75-4 ounces each) and ensure even baking. Okay, so after you have 8 little portions of dough, gently shape each one into a ball and place on 2 to 3 inches apart on the baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap coated lightly with cooking spray. Let the buns rise again in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F, position the rack in the center, and place a small Pyrex filled with water on the very bottom rack. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush on top of the buns. Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The tops will be golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
*If you don’t already have a digital kitchen scale, but plan on doing a lot of baking, it’s definitely a good investment. I bought mine at Costco for under $20. And I’ve used it for a lot more than just baking! Everything is more accurate with a kitchen scale, but especially flour. Jamie of My Baking Addiction wrote a great post on the accuracy of weight measurements. Check it out!