Since several people liked my Facebook post last night about making homemade hamburger buns and homemade Oreos, I figured today was a good day to share the recipes. I’ll start with the hamburger buns.
I have to say I found the recipe online somewhere a long time ago. I went back and checked to see if I could credit the poster, but all I have is Marie. I don’t actually know Marie, but she posted an awesome recipe for hamburger buns, so thanks, Marie (whoever you are)!
First of all, to make this recipe, you need a bread machine. That’s what makes this recipe so super-easy. I guess if you are really into bread-making, you might be able to convert it to a regular recipe, but why? I mean, a bread machine takes (most) of the work out of making bread. And it pretty much always turns out right. (Without a bread machine, I suck at making bread. I reallyreallyreally like to knead it, so it turns out tough. Bread machine to the rescue!)
There aren’t a lot of ingredients for this one: 1-1/4 cups milk, 1 beaten egg, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup white sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3-3/4 cups bread flour, and 1-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast.
Before you start adding ingredients, you need to warm the milk in the microwave. My bread machine came with an awesome thermometer — it changes color to indicate “warm enough to activate the yeast”/”warm enough for the one-hour setting”/ or “too hot, do not use.” Completely dummy proof. I tried to find a link so you could buy one if you wanted, but no such luck. You can use a regular thermometer, too, though. It should measure up to about 130 degrees.
When I did a Google search to find out how warm the liquid needs to be, I found a bunch of sites that swear that the liquid can be room temperature, but all my recipes say to warm stuff first. I don’t know…I always warm stuff. It should be around 100 degrees for a regular recipe. Check the instruction book that came with your machine. It will probably tell you what works best in your machine.
Most bread machines want you to add the wet ingredients first, followed by the dry. So first add the warm milk, then the beaten egg (I usually just crack the egg into the milk, then use a fork to break the yolk and stir it around a little. Works for me and BONUS – you save a dish from getting dirty. Then add the butter (yes, real butter, not margarine. That’s important.) You don’t have to melt it or anything. Just chunk it in there with the milk and egg.
Finally, add all the dry ingredients. I usually put the flour and top it with the other stuff, but it doesn’t really matter. One note about the flour – bread flour really does work best. It will rise better because it has more gluten in it. Regular all-purpose flour will work, but just won’t be as tall (usually).
Second note on the flour, and this really matters. Do NOT scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup. Instead spoon it into the measuring cup, then into the machine. If you scoop with the measuring cup, it packs the flour and you can end up with anywhere from 1-3 extra tablespoons of flour. This throws off the texture of your bread and makes it too dry. You’re welcome.
Once all the ingredients are in the pan, turn on the machine on the dough setting. (Close the lid first.) About five minutes into the mixing phase, check the dough. Make sure nothing is sticking to the sides of the pan. If it is, use a spatula to scrape it into the dough. It should be slightly sticky, but obviously forming into a ball. If it is dry, or the machine sounds like it is working really hard to mix the ingredients, add a teaspoon of warm water. If it is way too sticky, add about a tablespoon of flour. If you have to add anything, recheck in 2-3 minutes and adjust again, if necessary. (The weather can affect the texture of the dough, so don’t freak out if it is different each time you make it.)
Once you have gotten the texture right, go sit down. Watch an episode of …well, whatever you watch. You should have a little over an hour, so probably a drama. Or maybe two episodes of a sitcom. Whatever. It won’t affect the buns.
When the bread machine beeps to let you know the dough is ready, get up off the couch and turn off the machine. Put about half a cup of flour on the countertop and turn the dough out. (Make sure the paddle from the bottom of the pan isn’t stuck in the dough, because it can really mess up a knife.) Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces (or as close as you can get. The dough police really won’t show up if they aren’t exactly equal. For all my OCD friends, there’s your permission to be inexact.)
Use a rolling pin to roll one piece of dough out until it is about ½”-1” thick. Or until it is big enough to cut 6 buns out of it. Try to refrain from rolling the dough more than you absolutely have to, so your buns will be light. When you are finished rolling it, use the rim of a glass to cut the buns out. You should get 6. When you are finished, repeat with the second piece of dough.
Put the buns on a baking sheet or stone (I like the stones, personally) and brush the tops with melted butter. Cover with a dish towel and put the dish in a warm place and let the buns rise until they are about double the size they started – about an hour. (I usually turn my oven on to about 200 degrees and then turn it off as soon as it preheats, then put the dish in the oven to rise.)
Once they are finished rising, bake at 350 degrees for about 9-12 minutes, or until they are as brown as you like. Remove from the baking sheet when they are done and let them cool on a wire rack. Slice the buns in half to make a top and a bottom only AFTER they are completely cool.
Everyone will LOVE your buns (lol) and beg you to make them again. The only down side is that the recipe only makes 12 regular sized buns.