We are moved in! Well, everything is in here anyways. We still have a lot of stuff to put away... and a lot of stuff that still needs to find a home. This townhouse living is challenging! We're definitely going to have to get a storage unit. Yup, those three dish pack boxes full of mason jars will not be able to live with me this go around. So sad. Fortunately, despite still having a ways to go on being truly "moved in," my kitchen is unpacked, put away, and usable. I've been having a great time getting back into the kitchen making stuff I haven't really been able to make for the last two-plus months.
Today and tomorrow my husband gets off from work due to the storm, so we are trying to find a balance between getting things done and enjoying a little down time. I thought a little baking was in order. My husband's been hankering for cheeseburgers, but since I neglected to get buns when I was at the grocery last, I decided to making them for the first time. Wow! They were delicious and, really, quite simple to make. The dough is so easy to work with and they puff up beautifully in the oven. I highly recommend this recipe. Kudo's to the folks at King Arthur's Flour for making such a great recipe available to all!
The first step is to simply mix all the ingredients for the dough together and mix/knead until the dough comes together and is smooth and supple, about five minutes. The dough is then placed in an oiled bowl and covered to allow it to rise until it is double in volume, one to two hours. You know it's ready when you give it a gentle poke and the hole remains.
Dump the dough out and divide it into eight even pieces. This was easiest to accomplish with a kitchen scale. I weighed the total amount of dough and then divided that weight by eight. I then cut each piece until it was the appropriate size, in this case 111 grams.
Take each piece and smoosh it flat on the counter to degas it.
Then bring up the sides and pinch them together. Continue doing this, pulling the dough taunt to form a nice, smooth ball. You are pinching the dough together on the bottom of the future bun. This dough is so nice to work with; the dough pinches together easily and cleanly.
When finished, each piece should look smooth and make a nice round ball.
Place each ball on a parchment lined baking sheet. Eight will fit in a somewhat staggered fashion on an 11x17 inch baking sheet. Press each ball flat using a measuring cup or similar device. To keep the cup from sticking to the dough, lubricate it with a little bit of oil first. Press the dough flat until it is about three to four inches across.
Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap to keep the buns from drying out. Let rise for an hour or so, until nicely puffed.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and once it is ready, remove the plastic wrap and brush the tops of the buns with egg white wash. You could brush them with butter, but I found the egg white wash produced superior results. If you want, you can toss sesame seeds on at this point. The egg wash will help them to stick to the bun as it bakes.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until gorgeously golden. Remove and let cool before slicing and using or freezing.
Just a moment ago, I mentioned that I found the egg white wash superior to simply brushing the bun with butter. In this picture, the butter bun is on the right while the egg wash bun is on the left. The egg wash produces a bun that is beautifully golden and shiny. Once the buns come out of the oven, I do brush them all with butter because it helps to keep the top of the bun soft and glossy. As you might imagine, these homemade buns are more dense than the store bought kind, but they have such a wonderful flavor, you'll never regret the change!
Yield: 8 4-inch buns
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 cup warm water
2 TBS melted butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS instant yeast
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Mix all ingredients together and knead until the dough comes together and is soft and smooth, about five minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and cover; let rise for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide into eight even pieces. A scale is the most accurate way to accomplish this task. Taking each portion of dough in turn, press it flat against the counter to degas the dough. Then pull up the edges and pinch together in the middle to form a nice, smooth ball of dough. Place seam side down on a parchment lined 11x17 inch baking sheet. To fit all eight, the buns will need to be staggered slightly. Oil the bottom of a flat measuring cup or similar to press each dough ball flat into a 3-4 inch diameter circle. Cover the buns with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour, until they are nicely puffed.
Once the buns are about finished rising, preheat the oven. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of each bun with a wash of egg white. Add sesame seeds, if desired. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the buns are beautifully golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing and using or freezing.