More then a few times now I've stroked my ego and declared, “grilled burgers with handmade hamburger buns!” Each time I might add, it has been in front of the eyes and stomachs of my friends. Whatever they happened to think of my attempts and the results that they ate, I knew the truth. They were horrible! Not surprising, considering my experience up until this point has not been in straight doughs, has not been in hamburger buns, and I really didn't know what I was talking about. Give me some dough to laminate, some brioche to mix. I can make several different types of hearth bread shapes, but more “American” type breads I am ashamed to say I am somewhat ignorant.
That last statement would be true up until about two months ago when I started working at an establishment that focused on making hamburger buns and dinner rolls. Sure there are some other types of breads, brioche pullman loaves for example (brioche toast for breakfast?), but more then anything else, we make thousands and thousands of rolls and burgers. And it really blew my mind, one of those steps. It makes sense though, if you want a wide, squat, cylindrical bread, your bread shape has to be wide, squat and cylindrical. You take a nice well rounded roll, let it proof up, then you smash it flat. I must admit, it hurt to flatten my little burger babies.
Sure at the other bakery I worked at we did the same thing. But we didn't do it anywhere near to the same extent. We didn't let them proof up, but more like like them rest. We didn't flatten them completely either, seeing as how they weren't particularly relaxed after being rounded. Just a gentle love tap all across the top. They were slightly flattened, and it was visible in the final product, a somewhat squat, yet quite tall, “hamburger bun”. But what they have me doing now, its totally different. Everything gets smashed flat. All the burgers that is. Kaiser rolls too, and the result is just like at the grocery store! Which is not necessarily a good thing, or a bad thing for that matter. It is different. A different shape for a different job I imagine. So tonight, having gotten out of work early armed with the knowledge working at an American bakery has equipped me with, I will be having hamburgers tonight.