Buns for my Burgers
As a vegetarian, I am always looking for that perfect veggie burger. Preferably, it has a crisp crust with a moist center, is loaded with beans and vegetables, is slightly spicy, and should be good enough to eat plain. The other day I made some delicious sweet potato-black bean burgers. While I certainly could have eaten these straight up, I was hankering for a good bun to accompany them. Unfortunately, good buns are few and far between these days. The supermarket yielded no good choices. Most of the options there were plain, white, pasty, and loaded with high fructose corn syrup. But, rather than being discouraged, I was challenged and intrigued to make my own buns for my own burgers.
The recipe I settled on is slightly enriched with eggs and oil and is sweetened with molasses and brown sugar. The slight sweetness complimented the savory burgers and produced an appropriately crisp crust. These buns would also be excellent as a side for a dinner or any sort of sandwich. They can also be frozen (along with any veggie burgers you might have made) and reheated for future use.
The following recipe is adapted from the Wild Yeast blog (http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2008/06/10/hamburger-rolls/), which adapted the recipe from the San Francisco Baking Institute (SFBI). Also check out other great goods baked this week by many different bakers at YeastSpotting (http://www.wildyeastblog.com)!
Soft Burger Buns
Yield: ~1000 g (10 burger-sized buns)
171 g all-purpose flour
111 g water
1 g instant yeast
4 g salt
Mix all the of the prefermented dough ingredients by hand until thoroughly combined and smooth. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, then place in the refrigerator overnight.
164 g flour
264 whole wheat flour
4 g instant yeast
9 g salt
150 g water
100 g (2 whole) eggs, beaten lightly
42 g olive oil
20 g brown sugar
29 g molasses
286 g (all of the above) prefermented dough
rolled oats (for topping)
Mix together the water, eggs, olive oil, brown sugar, and molasses. Chop the prefermented dough into a dozen pieces and add to the liquid mixture. Combine the flours, salt, and instant yeast and then add to the liquid-prefermented dough mixture. Knead until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and evenly distributed. The dough should have a medium-soft consistency. Add more water to achieve this if necessary. Continue to knead until the gluten in fully developed.
Transfer the dough to an oiled container and let ferment for 1 hour at room temperature.
Divide the dough into ten pieces approximately 100 g each. Shape the pieces into tight balls. Moisten the top of the ball by misting it or rolling it in a damp towel. The roll the ball in rolled oats (or other grain/seed of your choice, such as poppy or sesame seeds). Place the rolls on line baking sheets and press them down into discs with the palm of your hand.
Cover the balls and proof at room temperature until the dough springs back very slowly when pressed, about 1.5-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 380 °F with a steaming pan. Bake the rolls for 8 minutes with steam and another 10-12 minutes without steam, until the rolls are nicely brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before eating.
Lunch on the back deck