The Fresh Loaf

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A Hamburger Bun

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bwraith's picture
bwraith

A Hamburger Bun

A Hamburger BunA Hamburger Bun

I just got a new barbecue grill, so hamburgers were in order. As a home bread baker, I've occasionally made homemade hamburger buns, and there is no question that a hamburger is just better with freshly baked buns.

If you've had the same thought, well here's a recipe for a hamburger bun. The recipe uses direct method instant yeast, so it only takes 3-4 hours. The hydration is a little higher than french bread, but still very easy to handle.

A Hamburger Bun

The Dough:

  • AP flour (I used KA AP) 650 grams
  • Water 290 grams
  • milk 200 grams
  • olive oil 30 grams
  • salt 13 grams
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • Mix flour, water, milk together using frisage and a few folds, and let sit for 20 minutes.

Mix/Knead

Work yeast into the dough, then work salt into the dough, then work olive oil into the dough. This can be done with a mixer or by hand using frisage and a few folds. Then knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes workable, stretchy, and seems like it bounces back when you punch it, or whatever magic you use to tell if the dough is right. Add flour or water if necessary to make the dough elastic and not too stiff, but it shouldn't spread out when placed on a table. Place the dough in a container to rise.

Bulk Fermentation and Folding (about 2.5 hours)

When the dough has risen by about half, which should happen in roughly an hour, turn it out on the counter, spread it out a little, pressing on it gently. Then, pull a side of the dough and gently stretch and then fold it into the center of the dough. Do this for four sides. You will now have approximately a ball of dough again. Turn it over and push the seams created by the folding under it. Place it seams down back in the container. Repeat this again in about another hour when it should be about double the volume of the original dough when you first mixed it. Then, let it rise for another 0.5 hours or so.

Shaping

Split the dough into ten pieces. I use a scale and break pieces of dough off if necessary. Let the pieces rest for 5 minutes. Take each piece and do the same type of fold as above in the bulk fermentation. You press it down and spread it out gently, and then fold the four sides toward the middle. After folding, turn it over, and make it into a small boule by pushing the sides under and creating some tension on the top surface. Press down on it with your palm again, to seal the seams underneath. Shape all ten buns and place them on a peel or sheet, leaving some room. I had to bake these in two batches in order to have enough room in my oven. Spray them very lightly with oil. Cover them with a towel.

Final Proof

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 450F.

Prepare to Bake

Paint the buns with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Press them down gently with your palm to spread them out a little.

Bake

Bake for about 15 minutes at 450F. The internal temperature should be around 207F

Cool

Let them cool for a few minutes at least.

Comments

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

I made the preferment as I had indicated in the recipe. It will be interesting to see what kind of texture and crust comes from them, eh? I will be sure and let you know! I will ferment the preferment today then mix the dough tonight then retard overnight in the fridge for convenience.

Then tomorrow will have all day to deal with the rise situation  and bake when they are ready to go sometime tomorrow. I will then freeze them until the next day :D That way it's no sweat. I will use the 1tsp of instant yeast to make the ferment longer.

I'm also making the pagnotta and testing a new sourdough pizza recipe based on the Cook's Illustrated recipe. I'm thinking for grins, I may put about 1/2 tsp of diastatic malt in it. :D

On your pagnotta it calls for 400g of starter. I forgot how I did it before :-/ and so here's what I did. 2 oz of starter, 6oz of water, 6oz of flour (makes 14.0 oz which is pretty close to 400g). Do you think this will be too strong for the preferment of the pagnotta?

 

TIA as usual Bill! I appreciate your help!

Hope you have an awesome July 4th planned and are in the midst of getting ready for the fun!

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi BZ,

I think in the sourdough pagnotta I blogged, I think it called for 240 grams of starter. However, you could put 400 grams in, probably. There is a point where if the starter you put in is too large a percentage of the dough and is very ripe, it will deliver enough acid to give you "gluten rot", especially if you let the fermentation run to fully doubling the dough or run the final proof too long. The sourdough version is more forgiving if you use a lower percentage of fermented flour contributed to the dough, like around 10% fermented flour to total flour.

Bill

browndog's picture
browndog

Hey, Bluezee, good luck with your buns, and let me borrow Bill a minute--Hey, Bill, gluten rot? Would this be likely to happen if you took say 8 oz or more of starter discard and added it to a yeast dough? What's it like in the finished product...weird textured, almost papery bread, maybe? Oh, no reason...just curious...

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi Browndog,

I've had problems trying to put in too much overly ripe sourdough levain in a dough. I think the same acids that eventually destroy the gluten when you overproof a sourdough dough are there in bigger quantities when you use a large percentage of ripe or over ripe starter or levain in a dough. It does affect the texture. What I've noticed is a very chewy, tough texture. I think you can offset the effect somewhat by using extra yeast, so the rise is faster, which maybe would reduce the time the acids in the levain have to work on the dough. I've had better luck staying below about 20% fermented flour. An exception is the miche recipe in my blog, which has more like 35% fermented flour, but you only let the levain double, then refrigerate it, so I'm not letting it get very ripe before it goes into the dough.

Bill

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

and let it double then immediately refrigerate, do you think it will be ok or do you think it will suffer in texture?

 

Browndog {hugs} and hope you are doing well!!!

bwraith's picture
bwraith

BZ,

If you mean a baker's percentage, like 220 grams of preferment to 1000 grams of total flour, then yes it should work fine, because that's only about 11% fermented flour for a 100% hydration preferment (110 grams of flour in the preferment to 1000 grams of total flour in the dough). I've never had much trouble with a low percentage of preferment like that, even if it was very ripe. However, if you use a very large percentage, like 35% fermented flour to total flour (like if you use a percentage of more like 70% preferment weight to total flour weight), then I've had problems unless the preferment was not allowed to get overly ripe.

Bill

browndog's picture
browndog

I'm in awe of all these variables. I sometimes get a really weird crumb in yeast breads that I've put together with very healthy doses of discard--as I say, almost papery, as in paper wasp nest paper, if it were pie crust I'd call it very short, if you know what I mean. You take a bite and it breaks right off, no resistance at all. It's not chronic and has only cropped up in a few of my seat-of-the-pants loaves, still edible, but I wondered why, and gluten-rot has a charming Victorian ring.

Glad to hear you've been errant to such good purpose as sailing the Acadian seas, too. No sea water bread to report? I've read that ancient Egyptians had very eroded teeth--because they couldn't keep sand out of their bread, so watch out. Gives me goosebumps just to consider it...

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Browndog,

I've had different symptoms with different breads, but I think they're related to the same high amount of fermented flour in the dough. For example, I've tried to directly convert the ciabatta and focaccia doughs in the BBA to sourdough by just substituting 100% hydration starter for the poolish in those recipes. The recipes have very high percentages of fermented flour in them, around 40-50% fermented flour to total flour weight. However, in those recipes, the preferment is a yeasted poolish or biga, not sourdough. When I've tried to convert by simply substituting 100% hydration starter, the recipe doesn't work all that well. First of all the rise is sluggish, probably because the gluten breaks down and won't hold gas as well as it should. Second of all, I get somewhat soft, slightly tough crusts, and a chewy crumb. It's not that it's awful bread, and the flavor of the sourdough is very good, I think. However, the texture is a little off. With the focaccia, I would say that "very short" description you have for the pie crust rings a bell. Again the rise is sluggish, and the texture of the crumb is almost crisp, especially if I bake it fully. I could offset the problem somewhat by adding 1-2 tsp of yeast to the dough to get it to rise in a couple of hours - much faster than it would ever do with just the sourdough.

If you take the same recipe and drop the fermented flour contributed by the 100% hydration starter down to 20% or less, the recipe works much better. You don't need the yeast to make it rise, and the texture comes out more like the yeasted version. It also helps to put in somewhat less than fully ripe (maybe just doubled) sourdough starter, which is not much different from using a lower percentage of starter. Another thing you can do to offset the effects of a large amount of sourdough starter is use some high gluten flour or bread flour instead of AP flour in the dough. A small percentage of rye and whole wheat seems to help it too, from what I can tell.

However, overall, I've just found it easier to use a little less starter and let it rise a little longer, unless I have a serious time constraint or just want to really pump up flavor contribution from a ripe starter.

Another thing you can try is a series of test doughs, if you want to get a little crazy. For example, if you make 4 different breads, each with 200 grams of flour in it total, 4 grams of salt, and 70% hydration, or  140 grams of water total. If you were to make them as follows:

Using fully ripe, peaked starter, preferrably using the same flour as the doughs:

1) 40g starter, 180g flour, 120g water, 4g salt

2) 80g starter, 160g flour, 100g water, 4g salt

3) 120g starter, 140g flour, 80g water, 4g salt

4) 160g starter, 120g flour, 60g water, 4g salt

If you make these 4 little breads, trying to handle them all the same way, you should see a significant difference in texture and rise times that is very telling in terms of what happens when you use different amounts of sourdough levain in your bread. You may have a hard time getting the last one to rise by double in a reasonable amount of time, same with a final proof.

Bill

browndog's picture
browndog

of me yet--stranger things have happened. The test looks well worth doing, and a good way to become more familiar with sourdough clockworks. I'll let you know what I find when I tackle it. The gluten thing still puzzles me--I thought gluten was potentially a toughener, and damaged gluten would make a gutless bread, not a leathery one. Plus someone, I think King Rat, said they found hi-gluten flour to be an efficient crumb softener, exactly opposite what I understood. Huh.

Well, I've been thinking about it, I suppose no gluten is like mixing up paste and baking it, with degrees then depending. BUT. Still the question of high-gluten for bagels and low-gluten for cake, handling and ingredients notwithstanding, though perhaps they should.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Browndog,

Gluten is a mystery to me too. I can only point to some experiences I've had. One is that I made a series of test doughs a while back while trying some things out. One of the doughs didn't rise well that I was expecting should be fine. It had 60% hydration, 2% salt, and only 5% fermented flour. It just wouldn't rise. When I finally gave up on waiting for it to double, I kneaded it a little to test its consistency and realized it was extremely stiff. If you tried to stretch it, it was very strong and wouldn't stretch much at all. So, it was too dry, had salt that must have stiffened the gluten, and not much acid due to the low sourdough starter percentage. Meanwhile, the very same dough without the salt rose just fine. Without the salt, it was much more elastic. Similarly, one with 2% salt, 60% hydration, and a 16% fermented flour percentage rose normally also. So, I think the stiffness of the the first one was somehow offset by the extra acid in the larger amount of sourdough starter. All the above is just trying to make the point that several variables - type of flour, amount of acid, salt, hydration, handling - affect the quality of the gluten. Based on those variables, the resulting dough may be very stiff, very slack, elastic, able to hold gas or not, and who knows what about the texture of the crumb or crust.

The BBA ciabatta dough converted to sourdough is another example. In that one, the hydration is around 80%, the salt is 2%, and the fermented flour percentage is higher than 40%. I found it won't rise, but I think the reason is that the dough won't hold gas. The gluten seems nice and elastic, maybe too stretchy if anything. I think it's similar to what happens when you make a sourdough starter too wet. It will bubble and froth, so you know the gas is being made, but it doesn't stay in the starter and make it rise. If I cut back on the fermented flour percentage, then it will rise more normally. Go figure.

Bill

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

What awesome memories you are creating for him, Bill! To this day, I remember cooking with my dad from the time I was itty bitty until the day when he was too ill to cook. And now, 15 years after his death, they are precious memories I take out and remember over and over!

Hey not to threadjack! So I made the sourdough version of the hamburger buns. They turned out beautiful but were slightly "door-stoppish"! My Stinky is a strong sucker! I will try to remember to take a pic tomorrow for you. I totally missed out on the delicate lightness of the crumb - due no doubt to the chewiness and denseness of sourdough? But if you ever need a bun that has some tensile strength, these guys could do it! ;)

Although I missed the delicacy of Texas barbeque sandwiches on a light white bun, they did a great job of standing up to dense meat and barbeque sauce with pickles and onions, and some topped their Q with coleslaw and it still held up well! So maybe dense isn't so bad? Haha! (I might also freeze a couple and ship them over to the Dallas Stars to use in the hockey rink! ;)  )

Also, saw your video of the french fold. Very nice and so helpful. Especially liked seeing your technique for wetting the counter and dough and hands. I will be trying it with this weekend's baking!

Cheers and hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!!

browndog's picture
browndog

Didn't want to put this in young Will's blog, and I think Bill Sr won't begrudge the space--your remarks to his son-->one day when you are grown and in a home of your own, baking bread in the kitchen with your son, you will look back on these memories and your baking journal and it will make you feel like your dad is still right there in the kitchen with you!< were evocative, tender and sweet. He may be too young to be touched by them yet, but not me.

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

believe it or not is very tender, except when hardened for defense. But aren't most of us I imagine, are like that, right? I don't think I'm very unique in the world.

Our dad was a huge figure in our lives. Through good times and bad, he was always a rock, right there leading the way. People told us kids that time would make the pain of loss less for us. I don't think that always happens for some people because the hole they leave behind is just too big to fill. It creates a permanent hollow and the only thing that fills the void it seems is memories (happy and melancholy) and a heap of nostalgia and wishful thinking. 

To this day, cooking one of my dad's infamous (to us) recipes is a bittersweet experience for all of us kiddos. Doing this is a form of respect and homage to a man who fought valiantly for his family and yet was just a human underneath with all the faults and foibles of humans. But his humor and faith and love were his legacy to us and none of us can manage to make one of his recipes without calling one of our siblings to share memories as we work through his steps in the kitchen!

LOL, despite his jollyiness and joy and love - sometimes too when we were cooking with him, he became the tyrant chef! (He was a sheltered and pampered Irish American, 17 year old marine in the South Pacific during WW2 so that may help explain this part! ;)  ) ROFL, I simply cannot chop onions without him standing over my shoulder watching to make sure that I was chopping them the right size and uniformity! And omg, lol even walking in front of the food processor carrying a bell pepper will cause me to hear his voice at my side warning me not to use it for chopping veg! ;)

Still and all some of my best memories of him involved him teaching me to cook and also to draw and paint. Wouldn't trade them for the world!

 

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Hi BZ, Susan,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I have nice memories of my grandmother, who cooked and baked all kinds of delights. Will is thrilled to be checking out the commentary on his new bread, so you've made his day.

Bill

Grey's picture
Grey

Worked out perfect for me, though I had to do a rough conversion to cups/tablespoons etc as I'm unfamiliar with measuring out weights, I did without the sesame seeds for now as well, but it turned out delicious!

Hamburger Bun Inside

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Grey,

Great to hear they worked out. Nice pictures.

Bill

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Bill,

Thanks for posting this formula.  I made a batch yesterday and they were lovely.  They stood up very well in the pulled pork sandwiches that we served our friends for dinner last evening, without being tough or hard.

The only change I made came about by being a little too heavy-handed (or was the digital scale a bit slow in registering?) as I added the milk.  Consequently, I had to add some flour to keep the hydration in range, which resulted in a yield of 16 buns instead of the 10 that you note.  The dough weight for each of mine was probably a bit lighter than you used for yours, too.

In spite of the "adjustment", everything turned out just fine.

Thanks again.

PMcCool

bwraith's picture
bwraith

PMcCool,

I'm glad these worked out for your pulled pork dinner. It sounds awfully good. I haven't had pulled pork in a while, and I'm feeling a little envious thinking about your evening with friends having pulled pork on fresh bread.

I would think these would be very forgiving, as you mention, if done with additional milk and flour, maintaining the right dough consistency. In fact, I could imagine they could be especially good with a little extra milk. Maybe it's an improvement, rather than an adjustment.

Bill

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Bill,

Since I have a gas grill but no smoker, I cheated a little and used the this Paula Deen recipe from the Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_66386,00.html

It turned out very well.  The next time we make it (and there will be a next time), we'll probably cut back on the cayenne in the rub and boost the liquid smoke.  The smallest shoulder I could find at the store was nearly 8 pounds, so we have plenty of leftovers to enjoy.  Even with the larger shoulder, there was still some rub left over.

It's a pretty low-effort recipe since most of the time involved is letting the meat braise in the oven; sort of like making bread in that respect.  I was grateful to have a second oven since the buns had to bake at a higher temperature at the same time the pork was in the oven.

Enjoy!

Paul

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Paul,

Thanks for the recipe. It occurs to me this recipe is very well suited to my brick oven. I can fire the oven to a bread baking temperature, extinguish the fire, bake lots of buns, then let the oven cool down to braising temperatures while prepping the Dutch oven, then drop the Dutch oven into the oven. I often make use of my oven in this way, combining early searing at high heat, bread baking after that, then braising or other lower temperature cooking after that.

Bill

anna.nehl's picture
anna.nehl

Perfect! Nice and smooth bread...good idea with painting the milk on top. Thanks a lot, finally I don't have to buy those supermarket buns which always fall apart (at least here in Germany) anymore. 


Anna

VarunS's picture
VarunS

I took small pieces of dough and and rubbed them with the heel of my hand as described above as something called frisage. After that I used Richard Bertinets technique where he slaps the dough and fold it basically till it became more homogeneous and manageable, did not knead it much however afterwards.


Since I was using only AP flour i did the folding in between fermentation only once, or should I have done it twice? Since I thought it may become stiff I didn't.  Also added some gluten though not sure if it would have been any different.


The bread was nice and soft only thing is I didn't flatten mine; I rounded them and made them more like a golf ball so they look more like dinner rolls? Tomorrow morning will be making another batch with hopefully a more burger bun shape


Also as you can see I wanted to make tiny buns (1 1/2 - 2"diameter) to use as an appetizer.


Would like to hear your thoughts.


ummyahya's picture
ummyahya

Hi everyone,


 


firstly i'd like to thank Bill for posting this recipe, its given me the confidence to continue baking breads!!!!!


i'm jus a newbie to breadbaking,and i've tried atleast 10 different recipes for hamburger buns,using 100% organic whole grain spelt flour, with absolutely no success. i want to give my kidos the habit of only eating Wgrain flours versus white AP..


so i decided to give these burger buns a try using 90% organic whole grain spelt flour,and 10% organic unbleached white spelt flour. i followed the recipe as directed, ddnt know what 'frisage meant,so jus mixed it in my kenwood,let it rest,then kneeded it, did the bulk fermentation twice, then let it rise once more, shaped n let it final-proof. i shaped them as subs(jus like subway),instead of burger buns.....


i have to say these were very good, they were a bit 'heavy' but manageably soft, ddnt crumble n tasty too!!! infact its the first time any of my spelt flour buns were even edible..hahahahahaha.. all my previous attempts produced hard,dry,crumbly buns,with little rise, so we tremendously enjoyed our home-made tuna subway at iftaar( i'm muslim,and its Ramadan right now, so we fast from dawn to sunset. the meal we have at sunset is called iftaar, which basically means break-fast=breakfast!!).


i have a few questions tho, as i'm tryna to get a better understanding of how bread baking works..


what does hydration % mean?( excuse me if my questions are duh). i dont have a kitchen scale so i used about 4 cups flour, 1 cup liquid(milk n water), tsp active yeast,tbl olive oil, 2tsp himalayan salt, n followed your procedure for mixing etc....


i dont know if i'm supposed to use more liquid when using WG spelt flour???


do you think adding the little white spelt flour made a difference? previously i had only used WWG spelt..


i also think that i ddnt fold it very well,  am i supposed to really stretch the dough during the fold? mine broke as i was trying to stretch. should i have left it to rise longer than an  hour perhaps?? then do the 1st stretch n fold? 


i appreciate any help/tips.....


thanks once again for the very helpful recipe :)


uy 


 


 

Ricko's picture
Ricko

I made my hamburger buns for tonights dinner with this recipe, and what a joy to work with. I added all the ingredients together at one time, followed by a good 3 minute mix in my KitchenAid. I then gave it a 15 minute rest followed by a 5 minute mix. I did substitute fresh buttermilk for the milk, as I made fresh butter two days ago and had saved my buttermilk. The buns came out great! No holes, and they didn't crumble while eating my burger. They stood the test and I'm well pleased. Thank you for sharing this great recipe!

Serial Griller's picture
Serial Griller

How long is the final proof before baking?

Jon

Ricko's picture
Ricko

Oh Jon, that's a tough one, as my kitchen varies in temperature. I'd say about 3 hours. The bun pans I use from KA are somewhat deep so I kind of play it by sight more than time. When the dough is 1/4- 1/2 inch above the pan, I slide it into the oven. There is a small amount of oven spring. I've been playing with between 3 1/2 to 4 ozs. of dough per bun. About the same amount of dough for the hotdog buns also. I'm just playing with different amounts at the moment to see how it comes out, which seems to be pretty darn good at the moment. I also tried about 1 t. of Penzey's toasted granulated onion powder in the mix, hoping to get a onion bun taste. This is going to need some more work though. Perhaps moving away from the toasted towards the regular untoasted.

Serial Griller's picture
Serial Griller

I did a bulk fermentation of two 1/2 hours with two folds in between as directed.Then scaled them @ 3 oz each. Shaped and final rise was about 30 minutes.

I think for the first time they came out great. I do prefer a softer crust.Maybe I need to lower the temp about 15-20 degrees.

Ricko's picture
Ricko

Sounds like your spot on!

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