Why subject your perfectly grilled burger to store-bought buns this Labor Day weekend when you can bake your own at home?
By Brady Evans
I made the perfect hamburgerfor my Independence Day cookout. Finding a perfect patty recipe is an accomplishment in and of itself and I couldn’t let it be ruined by subpar grocery store buns. Baking yeast breads isn’t too hard for the home cook to attempt on a lazy day off.
I adapted the recipe that originally calls for white enriched bread flour to use a combination of all purpose and whole wheat flours (because that’s what I had on hand). These buns were a match for the burgers – soft, sturdy, tender, and flavorful.
Speaking of the burgers, don’t be dissuaded by the simplicity of the ingredients: the combination lets the flavor of the beef shine.
- 1 lb. (450 grams) ground chuck or ground lean beef (I liked 10% fat the best)
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 or 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) warm milk
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2½ (35 mL) tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups (710 mL) bread flour**
- ⅓ cup (80 mL) all-purpose flour**
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- if using all purpose and whole wheat flours, use 1.5 cups (355 mL) all purpose flour and 1.5 cups (355 mL) bread flour + 4 T (60 mL) vital wheat gluten
- Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.
- In a large bowl, mix together the beef, yellow onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
- Form the mixture into 4 patties, each ¾ inch (2 cm) thick.
- Grill the hamburgers directly over medium-high heat, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
- Check for doneness by cutting into a hamburger near the center or testing with an instant-read thermometer.
- No pink should show on the inside, and the internal temperature should register at least 160°F (62* C) on an instant-read thermometer.
- In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar.
- Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.
- In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt.
- Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs.
- Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms.
- Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.
- The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get.
- Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf.
- Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts.
- Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet.
- Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.
- Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C) with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
- Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.