Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Hamburger or hot dog buns

Hamburger or hot dog buns
Makes 12 servings

1 cup (236 ml) milk
1/2 cup (118 ml) water
1/4 cup (55 g) butter
up to 4 1/2 cups (700 g) plain flour
1 1/4 tsp (~7 g) yeast
2 tbsp (25 g) sugar
1 1/2 tsp (~9 g) salt
1 egg

In a small saucepan, heat milk, water and butter until very warm, between 110F-120F (44C-48C) (if you don't have a thermometer, stick a clean finger in the mix, you want to be able to hold it there for about 4-5 seconds, but no longer).

In a large bowl, mix together 1 3/4 cups (270 g) flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix the warm milk mixture into the flour mixture, then add the egg.

Add just enough flour to form a loose dough, I added 3 doses of 100 g flour each time, for a total of 570 g flour used. This will vary based on the ambient humidity. The drier it is, the less flour you need, the wetter it is, the more flour you need.

Once the dough has pulled together (and by this point your arm will feel like it will fall off from stirring!!!), lightly flour a clean kitchen counter or table, dump the dough ball out onto the floured surface and knead for about 5-8 minutes.

Make the dough into a log (remember your play dough or clay from primary school!) and cut into 12 pieces. I use a pair of clean scissors to make this easier. They don't have to be exactly the same size, after all, that's one of the charms of homemade bread!

Shape the dough into round balls and place on a greased baking sheet (or use greaseproof or parchment paper). *** Please be sure to grease even the greaseproof or parchment paper, these things like to stick! Flatten each ball slightly. Cover and let rise for 30-35 minutes. This step can take as long as an hour or so, depending on the temperature where they are rising and the humidity.

I placed the two pans of dough balls into the oven (turned off and cooled from when I was baking earlier) on the two top racks, then I put a baking dish under those on a third rack (the floor of the oven works fine, so long as there isn't a heating element down there!). Boil some water in the kettle, pour the water slowly into the baking dish, slide the baking dish into the oven and close the door. The heat and humidity from the boiled water will make the dough rise quicker, even with a cold house. Be sure to place a towel below your oven door, the humidity can run down the front of the door onto the floor. Great way to clean an oven door though!

Anyway - after the dough has risen, bake at 400F/205C/gas mark 6 for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

For hot dog buns: Shape each of the 12 pieces into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle (or close to it, doesn't need to be exact). Starting with the longer side, roll up tightly and pinch the edges and ends to seal. Let rise for 20-25 minutes. Bake the same as the hamburger buns.

To make onion rolls (my favourite!): add 2 tbsp dried minced onion and 1/2 tsp onion salt to the flour mixture (reduce the salt in the recipe to 1 tsp (~6 g)). Brush with egg and sprinkle dried onion over the tops and bake as normal.

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