Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe
Jan wanted “plain hamburgers” for Labor Day. I decided that “plain hamburgers” called for fresh buns. Hamburger and hot dog buns should be soft and slightly sweet.
The butter and egg in this recipe prevents some of the gluten from forming and keeps the bread soft and tender. I think that most buns are made with too much sugar and salt. The buns should be slightly sweet, but not too much.
Karl’s Hamburger/Hotdog Buns
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3+ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 Tbs. butter, separate uses
1. Add the yeast and a pinch of sugar to the warm water and set it aside.
Tip: This is called “proofing” the yeast. Within a few minutes there should be foam forming on top of the water, “proving” that your yeast is still active. Be sure that your water is not too hot or it will kill the yeast.
Note: There is nothing more disheartening than waiting for a loaf that will never rise, because the yeast is dead.
2. Mix two cups of flour and the sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Tip: I usually sift together the ingredients several times to get a complete mix of the dry ingredients.
3. Scramble the egg and stir it to the yeast mixture.
4. Melt two tablespoons of butter and drizzle it over the flour.
5. Make a hole in the center of the flour and pour the egg mixture into the hole.
6. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together until you have a smooth paste.
7. Add more flour, half a cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball.
8. Dust a clean steady surface with flour and turn the dough out on to the work surface.
9. Knead the dough for eight minutes, adding flour as needed to keep it from sticking.
Tip: The butter and egg prevent too much gluten from forming and making the bread tough.
10. Form the dough into a tight ball and return it to the bowl.
11. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rise to double in volume, about one hour in a warm room.
Note: Several recipes I looked at skipped this step and went straight to forming the roles.
Note: If you are making hamburger buns:
12. Divide the dough into 8-12 equal portions and form them into buns. Roll the dough pieces into a ball and place the buns on an oiled baking sheet about an inch apart. Gently press the buns into a four inch flat disk.
Note: If you are making hot dog buns:
12. Divide the dough into 8-12 equal portions and form them into buns. Press the dough into an eight by four inch rectangle. Roll the dough up, along the long edge into a log. Fold and pinch the ends of the buns under and have the seam of the roll facing down. Place them fairly close together an oiled baking sheet.
13. Melt the remaining butter and lightly brush it over the buns.
14. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
15. Cover the buns with a damp towel and let them rise for 30-40 minutes.
16. Bake the buns for 18-25 minutes, until golden brown on top.
17. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before slicing.