American Hamburger Buns


You can make hamburger buns or sandwich rolls from any mix or recipe. This is a little richer than most with milk instead of water. It makes a soft, delectable roll that your family will find irresistible. Be warned though: Once you’ve served burgers on fresh-baked buns, your family will never let you use store buns again.

Ingredients

5 1/2 cups plus of high gluten bread flour, divided
1 seven-gram packet instant yeast or two teaspoons
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dough conditioner
2 cups milk
1 egg, warmed to room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled

Note: Warm the egg to room to temperature by placing the unbroken egg in a cup of warm water for ten minutes.

Directions

1. Place about one cup of flour in the bowl of your stand-type mixer equipped with a dough hook. Heat the milk in the microwave to 105 degrees. Add the yeast and milk to the flour. Mix with the dough hook for 30 seconds or until the yeast is dissolved and the ingredients begin to combine.

2. Add the rest of the 5 1/2 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, dough conditioner, melted butter, and egg and continue mixing at a medium speed for at least four minutes. (It is important that the dough be mixed for at least four minutes to develop the gluten.) The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom. The dough should be soft but just dry enough that it can be handled without being too sticky. If you feel that the dough is too moist, add one or two tablespoons of additional flour. (With our flour and kitchen conditions, we need to add four additional tablespoons of flour to get the right consistency.) Once the dough is mixed, move the dough to a large greased bowl, turn once to coat both sides, and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand until the dough is doubled and very puffy. Depending on how warm your kitchen is, that may take an hour to an hour and one-half.

3. Grease two large (or one large and one small) baking sheets and sprinkle the sheets with cornmeal. Once the dough has risen, deflate it and divide the dough into eighteen equal pieces with a sharp knife (or scale the pieces at 3 ounces each on your kitchen scales). Form smooth round balls by pulling the dough around the center and pinching the seams together on the bottom of the roll. Place them on the greased sheet allowing room for them to expand. (We place them in three rows of four buns on a 12-inch by 19-inch baking sheet.)

4. Gently press the balls into flat discs with your hand. The dough will tend to spring back. Allow the dough to relax a few moments and then press again. You may need to repeat the process again until you have discs that are 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 to 3/4-inches thick.


5. If you would like, lightly dust the tops with flour (we use a screen or strainer to distribute the flour). Cover the rolls lightly with plastic and allow to rise until doubled and puffy–about an hour. Let them rise completely for soft, light buns.

6. If you prefer, you can top your rolls with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. To do so, instead of dusting the tops with flour, mix one egg with one tablespoon water in a cup. Whisk well. After the rolls have risen and just before baking, gently brush the egg wash on the rolls with a pastry brush. Sprinkle the seeds onto the tops of the rolls; the egg wash will hold them in place.

7. In an oven preheated to 375 degrees, bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are a rich golden brown and the interior of the bun is 190 degrees. If you are baking both sheets at once, switch the top sheet with the bottom sheet half way through the baking so that the buns will bake evenly. Immediately remove the rolls to a wire rack to cool.

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