With barbecue season just underway and the Fourth of July around the corner, I’m doing most of our cooking on the grill. It’s still cool enough in the evenings to enjoy the weather and a drink with J. while dinner cooks, so a recipe has to be pretty good these days to get me to come inside and turn on the oven. This is one of those recipes.
I had purchased freshly made hamburger buns from a local bakery before, but I had never made my own. It seemed kind of impossible to get the light, airy texture of the hamburger buns we buy at the grocery store, and in truth, these are denser, and they taste more like – well – homemade bread.
My favorite thing about thing about making these was kneading the dough by hand. You can use a dough hook in a stand mixer instead, but there’s something about shaping the dough with my hands that makes me feel connected to everyone who has ever baked a loaf of bread. It’s amazing to be standing at the kitchen counter doing exactly the same thing that the Sumerians were doing 6,000 years ago.
My baking skills are steadily improving, but I was still amazed when these actually turned out perfectly. It’s a testament to Emma Christensen’s excellent recipe from over at the Kitchn that I didn’t mess these up.
- 1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Sesame seeds
- In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the warm water and let it dissolve.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Stir into the yeast mixture until all ingredients are combined. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy dough. Knead by hand against a flat surface for at least 10 minutes, lightly dusting the surface with flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. The finished dough should be a smooth and slightly sticky ball.
- Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size. This takes an hour to an hour and a half.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
- Divide the dough into 8 balls and transfer to a baking sheet. Let rise until they look puffy and hamburger-sized, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Melt the butter and brush it over the buns. Sprinkly with sesame seeds.
- Bake until golden, 15-18 minutes.