Today's post will be quick, because if you're like me, you forgot to make the hamburger and hot dog buns for tonight's barbecue.
I've got a lovely sourdough hamburger buns recipe that I'll share soon, but sourdough just isn't going to cut it when I need to make buns fast.
And no, these don't follow the rules for healthy grains, but I'd rather have something good to share when guests arrive rather than I'm-sorry-but-I-have-nothing-to-offer-because-I'm-only-willing-to-serve-you-traditionally-and-properly-prepare-grains.
Good intentions? Sure. Showing warm hospitality? Not in the slightest.
These buns take about 3 hours from start to finish, more or less, and make 12 large buns.
Hint #1: If you weigh your ingredients the first time you make this recipe, you'll figure out much more precise measurements that work for you in your climate. Not that that makes the process go faster, but it will make you more likely to replicate your scrumptious results next time.
Hint #2: If you happen to be boiling potatoes to make a potato salad – maybe this über-simple one? – for your holiday gathering, use some of the potato water for these buns – you'll end up with a more tender crumb, slightly better elasticity in the dough, and a yummy yummy flavor.
Homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns
makes approximately 12 hamburger buns or 12 hot dog buns
loosely adapted from King Arthur Flour's No-Knead Cheese Burger Buns
1/2 cup slightly warm water
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
5 1/2 cups spelt or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons onion powder (optional)
8 tablespoons softened butter
7/8 cup slightly warm water
melted butter for brushing
First, proof your yeast. Place the 1/2 cup of water and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir to dissolve the honey. Sprinkle the yeast over and let sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups of flour, the salt, the onion powder, the butter, the eggs, and the remaining water. Combine using the paddle attachment. Once everything is well mixed, turn the mixer to high and beat the dough for about 2 minutes. Switch to the dough hook, add the remaining flour, and stir in the flour on low.
Once all the flour is incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high (or as high as your machine can withstand!) and knead for another 2-3 minutes. Add water or flour as needed, one tablespoon at a time. The final dough should be soft but not sticky.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let it rise until it's puffy, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Scrape the dough onto your work counter, then divide it into 12 pieces.
If you want to make these as dinner rolls, you can just roll them into balls, but for buns to accompany burgers and hot dogs, you'll want to shape them a bit.
To make hamburger buns: Shape the dough into balls and place them on an unfloured surface. Cup your hand over each ball and twist gently counterclockwise, then place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet (according to King Arthur Flour, this tightens the dough to help them retain their burger-friendly shape during baking). Gently flatten each piece until it's about 4″ wide.
To make hot dog buns: Shape the buns into oblong oval-shaped balls, then press down in the middle with the side of your hand to create an indentation. Pull the sides up and set aside on the baking sheet.
Cover baking sheet with a tea towel and let rise for another 1 – 1 1/2 hours until puffed.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Brush each bun with melted butter.
Bake until the buns are just beginning to brown, 20-22 minutes. The internal temperature should be at least 200°F. (Since I started checking internal temperatures, the textures and crusts of my baked goods have been much improved. I highly recommend this! A very simple thermometer – like this one – should suffice.)
Remove the buns from the oven, transfer to a rack, and brush with the remaining melted butter. Allow the buns to cool completely, then store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days.