Burger/hotdog buns

The hole in my bread-making repertoire was, until yesterday, burger-bun shaped. Despite making my own sourdough, bagels, monkey bread, pizza, I hadn’t managed to make (in truth hadn’t ever really tried as I thought it was beyond me) any sort of soft roll to enclose a burger or sausage or hot dog. And any time we bought them in the supermarket, those cotton woolly rolls, I felt more annoyed with myself.

I really dislike supermarket bread.

Yesterday we had people round and we were going to make spicy butternut squash soup and sausages in a roll. So I determined to finally make my own rolls.

I remembered, a while back, Dan Lepard had written about making burger buns (the article and full recipe is here), and the response had been that they were very good. So I gave them a go.

Because we had so many people round I doubled the recipe, and I hope Dan will forgive me for reproducing it here, but I just find it easier to have everything in one place.

You need: (Dan says this makes about 6-8, I made them smaller and submarine roll shaped and got about 24 out of doubling the mixture).

275g sliced white onion
50ml sunflower oil plus extra for greasing the surface you knead on
75g low fat yoghurt (I used Greek yoghurt, as that’s what I had)
2tsp of honey (oil the spoon first so the honey just drops off)
1 medium egg
1 sachet or 7g fast-action yeast (I use Dove’s Farm)
75g wholemeal (normal, plain) flour
425g strong white bread flour
2tsp salt (I grind up Maldon sea salt)
poppy seeds

The first thing you do is put the onions, with the oil and a bit of water, into a pan and let them sweat until very soft and translucent, with all of the moisture gone. Leave to cool then tip into a large bowl (with any oil that’s still in the pan). To this add yog, honey and egg. Then add 125ml warm water and the yeast, the flours and salt. Mix together. You will very likely have to add more water – Dan suggests 50ml – it depends on how much moisture is in the onions and how you like your dough to be. I’m quite confident now with a very soft dough. But add the water bit by bit to see how you go.

Leave for 10 mins then tip it out onto an oiled surface and knead lightly for 10 seconds. Cover with a bowl or put back in the bowl and cover..and repeat this twice more – leaving it for ten mins then kneading it for ten seconds.

After the third knead, leave it covered and undisturbed for one hour.

Then take bits off it and start shaping – either large round buns, or long ones, whatever you like. Put on a baking parchment lined tray. Brush with water and sprinkle on poppy seeds (or you know, any seeds you like or no seeds). Cover and leave to rise for about 90 mins – Dan says until they’re 50% risen. In my kitchen (about 21 degrees) this timing was pretty spot on.

Put rolls into a preheated oven: 220C. Dan says 15 mins, mine were done in 10 (my oven is very hot), they’re done when they’re just “brown on top”.

They are delicious – really soft and tasty. I didn’t tell the children there was onion in the dough and they all seemed to love the rolls. And it saves having to add onions to the burger/hot dog, although you can add more if you want to. There’s really no sharp taste of onion or anything like that. That said, if you want to leave the onion out, I asked Dan and he said “the precooking of the onions sweetens them and softens the flavour, but leave them out if you like and only add in half the oil to the dough.”

Really top notch, so easy and delicious. I have frozen some for emergency burger needs.

Now, someone gave me a recipe for panettone last year: if it was you please could you let me have it again?

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