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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sourdough Sesame Seed Hamburger Buns

Ever wanted to make your own hamburger buns?

Yeah, me neither. I'm kidding. But I hadn't thought of it until I had a dire need to do something with the growing supply of sourdough starter accumulating in my ice box. Because as of late, I've decided to get back to baking and made my own starter. As a result have a LOT of it. So, in an effort to purge my increasing supply I opted to make burger buns since we love burgers. 

Highbrow "artisan" burger joints tend feature fancy fresh baked brioche buns. Shiny and browned to perfection. They look fancy but you can make these at home. They're easy!

I've found a recipe that produces flavorful, light yet sturdy buns and makes good use of my excess starter! That being said, sourdough starter it is not required. But it is worth the effort to make it as you'll have many, many other wonderful uses for it. Plus there's the bragging rights. Here's an excellent video on how to make your own. Enjoy the eye candy on the way to the recipe below.


SOURDOUGH SESAME SEED HAMBURGER BUNS
(adapted from a recipe in The New York Times for Light Brioche Buns)

INGREDIENTS
1 cup warm milk
2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup sourdough starter (optional)
1 TB sugar
1½ tsp salt
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
2½ TB unsalted butter, softened

EGG WASH & SESAME TOPPING:
1 large egg beaten with 1 TB water
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (or sprinkle on desired amount)

DIRECTIONS

Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; combine the milk, yeast, sourdough starter if using, sugar, salt and 1 egg. Mix briefly to combine. Add the flour to the bowl, and mix until incorporated. Mix in the butter. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 6-8 minutes. The dough will be soft and tacky, but adding too much extra flour will make the buns tough.
(Of course you can do this all by hand but in my case I opted for machinery).

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a dough scraper or a sharp chef's knife to divide the dough into eight equal parts. Gently form into a tight ball using the stretch and fold technique and place on the baking sheet, 3 inches apart. Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise again, 1-2 hours, until puffed up and nearly doubled.

Set a large metal pan of water (2-3 cups) on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F with a rack in the center. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

You needn't limit your enjoyment to burgers alone...these make excellent sandwich buns!