Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homemade Hamburgers Buns And Lots Of Other Good Things Too!

Remember my buns? My HOMEMADE Hamburger Buns from our barbecue
on Monday.

Well, here's one in use:

As I said, I was really thrilled with them. I got the idea to make them from scratch from Shulie, a fellow tweetster, and, boy, am I glad I did. I don’t know why I was so taken with the idea but I was.

The funny thing is that the result was exactly what I usually try to avoid at all costs – they tasted just like store-bought hamburger buns. Okay, fresher and puffier than store-bought ones, but they had that air of perfection that says mass-produced. AND they were still fabulous!

Here’s the hamburger bun recipe. I made a few revisions.

When I use yeast, I ALWAYS proof it first. ALWAYS. Especially since this dough had extra good things in it like butter and an egg and sugar, I didn’t want to chance using flabby yeast. So no matter what the recipe says, I sprinkle the yeast (one envelope in this case) over hottish water that has had a teaspoon of sugar stirred into it. Then I wait for some action.

If after 10 minutes, there is none, I start again with different yeast. (You actually know WAY before 10 minutes, if the yeast is dead.)

If the yeast is fine, as it was in this case, I add it to the dry ingredients with the rest of the liquid that’s called for. Here I mixed flour, sugar, an egg and some melted butter together before adding the yeast. Shulie suggested adding one cup of water instead of a ¾ cup. I actually think three quarters of a cup PLUS 2 tablespoons would have been fine. Just add the last few tablespoons slowly.

Another change I made was to make 10 buns instead of 9 and I probably could squeezed out another one too. These were good-sized.

I kneaded the dough for about 7 minutes by hand and then put it back in the KitchenAid with the dough hook for another 4 or 5 minutes. If your dough looks blistered (ANY yeast dough), it’s not ready. Keep kneading.

It should be smooth and supple.

The recipe mentioned using the KitchenAid. It’s funny. I completely forgot about that way to knead dough. Usually I do it in the Cuisinart or by hand. And make sure you knead on speed 2 or 3, and no higher, if you do use your stand mixer.

The only other challenge was getting the sesame seeds to stick. Shulie said the butter didn’t do it and she used an egg white. I didn’t want to do that, because they weren’t going back into the oven. One bun at a time, I brushed melted butter over the baked buns and immediately sprinkled over sesame seeds. They seemed to stick until we came to use them and, then, there were sesame seeds everywhere – the counter, the floor, H’s arm and my hair.

I think next time (and there WILL be a next time and many times after that), I’ll take them out a little early, brush them with butter and then PRESS in the sesame seeds and put them back in the oven.

Other dishes –

· My fav barbecue sauce that I marinated and cooked chicken breasts in.

3 ripe avocados, chopped
1 cup diced red onion
½ tsp. salt
Juice of 2 limes
Big handful of chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients together.

Julienned red onions, carrots and zucchini, which I cooked in the same pan as the bacon dressing below. Just quickly sauté the vegetables together. This dish is really all about the knifework.

Then I made two dishes that started with inspiration from June’s Food Network magazine. The first was Corn Salsa that was supposedly a close copy of Chipotle’s. I’ve never been to Chipotle. I tried to go once, but it didn’t look like a cozy place to sit and visit with a friend, so we skipped it. I have no idea how close a version this is – The Food Network Magazine’s Almost-Famous Corn Salsa. I also found myself without most of the ingredients, so this was my lightning-fast, super easy Corn Salsa.

Corn Salsa
One ear of grilled corn, kernels cut from the ear
¼ cup (or more) diced red onion
Juice of one lime
A big handful of chopped cilantro

Mix ingredients together and serve.

· I also saw this awesome sounding Grilled Romaine With Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette from Guy Fieri in the same magazine. (This was after not finding anything in the last two Bon Appétit’s that I wanted to make.) I totally changed the recipe. I didn’t grill the romaine, I didn’t use blue cheese, but I did cook bacon with basalmic vinegar. It was kind of divine!

Romaine Lettuce Leaves with Bacon and Balsamic Dressing

This is really a bacon-packed drizzle for whole leaves of lettuce. The recipe makes more than enough for 12 people. But make it all and dilute the leftovers with lots of red wine vinegar to dress your salads for next week. Mmmm.

½ big red onion, diced
8 oz bacon, diced
1 tbl. olive oil (I could see the argument for skipping the oil)
½ cup balsamic vinegar
romaine lettuce leaves

Cook the onion and bacon in a large sauté pan until the bacon is crisp. Start at medium heat and then as the bacon gets more cooked, raise the heat to medium high. It should take 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in oil and balsamic vinegar. Reduce for about a minute. Remove from heat and leave in pan until ready to use.

Just before serving, place romaine lettuce leaves on serving plate. Heat up dressing for 30 seconds. Using a teaspoon, carefully spoon some of the bacon mixture down the center of each leave. Serve immediately.

Here was the final product – from the bottom half of the (homemade!) bun up:

MY Bun; Chicken Breast cooked in Barbecue Sauce, Extra Barbecue Sauce,
Corn Salsa, Guacamole. Served with Romaine Lettuce with Bacon and Balsamic Dressing and Sautéed Julienned Vegetables.


Shulie said...

Beautiful! So happy you made them. weren't they supple! OMG the satisfaction is incredible. Too perfect you are completely right. Happened to me too seems as if the sesame seeds stuck fine until we picked up one and all seeds just fell off. I just beat an egg and brush or add a bit of milk to the egg wash, works everytime and I like the shine or hue better that way though yours came out the right color and all:). Great spread you had there. Thanks for the mention. Shulie

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

The first sentence about the buns was a bit provocative there!

I wish I had gone to your place for Memorial Day. I went to some friends' but it was just standard burgers and dogs and macaroni salad. I need to go to a nice CREATIVE barbecue. My brother sometimes does them, but he hasn't lately. :-( Yeah, I know it's more about the company than the food, but I'm sure the company was just as fabulous at your place.

Anonymous said...

A lovely meal! But what caught my eye was this: "This is after not finding anything in the last two Bon Appetits that I wanted to make..." Sort of says it all, doesn't it?

When I make sesame bagels I always use egg white to glue the seeds on before baking. If I don't want them to get too dark I soak the seeds in water first, drain them, and pat them dry (a little awkward to handle but it works). That might be a way to get them to stick to the hamburger buns and still give them the store-bought pale-seed look.

Sue said...

Thank YOU! I'll be watching what you make next.

My bun remark was SO mild, compared to the current headlines about New York's most unfortunately named Congressperson. Oy!

You would have been more than welcome on Memorial Day. And, wait a sec, it’s NOT about the food?!!

Yup, Tom,
That IS the problem so far with the new Bon Appetit. There ain’t nothing I want to make.

I guess egg white is the way to go, but I love the softness and richness the butter adds. Next time, I’ll try jamming on the sesame seeds during the baking and see what happens. That’s a great idea about soaking them. Thank you!

Emily said...

What a feast! Everything looks so good! The romaine with bacon is calling my name. I saw that recipe in there.

Your buns look great! I've never made homemade hamburger buns before. You should make hot dog buns now! Do you store your yeast in the refrigerator?

LOL Tom.