I've been making homemade bread on the farmstead for over 2 years now. It wasn't a life-changing epiphany for us that homemade bread is healthier. With the lack of preservatives and additives and the ability to control every ingredient going into each loaf, home baked bread is definitely more nutritional and much healthier then store bought. For Farmer Mike and I, the decision to bake homemade bread wasn't to save money, although with a store loaf ringing up at $2.50 while a homemade loaf averages less than $1, it is definitely cheaper as well. For us, what drove the change to homemade was the taste.
Shut your eyes and imagine the smell of a delicious loaf of bread baking to a golden brown in the oven. At the Urban Farmstead I’ve been willing to try it all, Sourdough with its tangy sweetness, rye's heartiness, pumpernickel's rich flavor, as well as harvest grain, potato, soda, yeast rolls, biscuits, and even English muffins. However, the one bread which felt beyond my scope was hamburger buns. I was worried about the taste and consistency of creating a roll substantial enough to hold up to the heat and juiciness of a good burger without dissolving into a soggy mess... until now.
I stumbled across a recipe for 40-minute Hamburger Buns that looked easy enough but at first glance I thought 40 minutes is a long time to wait when you want a burger. On Labor Day though, Farmer Mike wanted to grill hamburgers and I thought why not?
So I got started on Step 1 by adding the yeast, warm water, oil and sugar into the bowl. I read this part several times because most recipes do not add the oil at this point. Then while I let it "stand for 5 minutes" I got all my other ingredients ready to go and helped Farmer Mike prepare the burgers. We choose ground beef with some sausage added in for flavor and moisture, and added one of our favorites for seasoning: Pork Barrel BBQ All American Seasoning & Rub. He fired up the grill and I moved on to Step 2: Adding the egg, salt, and enough flour to form a soft dough.
I'll say here, I think it requires a minimum of 3-1/2 cups of flour. By the end I got closer to 4 cups because the dough seemed very sticky and wet, but even with the fear of a sticky mess landing on my counter, I floured up the counter, turned it out and began kneading. There is something so very therapeutic about kneading your own bread. To be honest, most days I cheat and use a bread maker to save time, but even I can't deny the wholesome feeling of dough as it stretches and forms with your own two hands.
After my 5 minutes of reverie from Little House on the Prairie, I moved to Step 3: Divide the dough into 12 pieces. This is presumably to create the perfect size bun and it did, for me. But since Farmer Mike shaped the burgers I should have probably only made 10 buns… maybe 9.
Step 4: Let rest for 10 minutes. I used this time to clean up the dishes and whip up a delicious side. Okay, I didn't really "whip up". I went to our cellar and brought back some Dill pickle spears and sweet pickled beets we had preserved from the previous season and let me tell you, they were delicious.
Step 5: Add egg yolk wash to top and bake for 11 minutes. At this point Farmer Mike put the burgers on the grill and the delicious aroma of grilled meat was making all the neighbors jealous. I added the egg yolk wash to the top before popping these already rising buns into the oven. I am glad I did, it turned them to a beautiful golden brown.
I set the table and fixed drinks, just in time to hear my timer sounding, declaring that the buns were done. Farmer Mike brought in the burgers, grilled to perfection, we added a little cheese, and some BBQ sauce and bon appetit!
Wait! I thought this bun was supposed to take 40 minutes? While I guess it did when I tabulate it up, when you fix this recipe along with dinner (which is clearly easy to do) the 40-minute prep time doesn't feel like 40 minutes.
Definitely doable. Definitely delicious. Definitely a repeat recipe. So of course I'm going to share.
Happy Labor Day! Enjoy!
~ Farmer Amy
40-Minute Hamburger Buns
by Taste of Home
Total Time: Prep: 20 min. + resting Bake: 10 min.
Yield:: 1 dozen
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.
2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
3. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.