Sunday, 27 February 2011

Brilliant buns make the best burgers

A few weeks ago, in Dublin Airport, I had a cheeseburger from Burger King. The burger itself wasn't that bad, but the bum was horrible. A bendy, floppy, tasteless brown piece of cotton wool. I honestly wouldn't have a clue how to make a burger bun that was that floppy.

I do, however, know how to make lovely sesame buns that are a lot more tasty and filing and, importantly, don't bend when you pick them up! These are very easy, and they freeze very well so you can always have a few ready for when you just fancy a burger (or something else tasty in a bap).


450g strong flour
300ml warm water (not too hot)
5g dried yeast (or 1 tsp)
pinch of sugar
9g salt (if your scale doesn't weigh increments as small as this, just use 2 level tsp)
1 tbsp sesame oil
sesame seeds

Firstly, dissolve the dried yeast and the sugar in the warm water. Let it sit for ten minutes till it starts to foam. (If you're using easy blend dried yeast you don't need to do this step, you can just throw it all in together.)

Mix the flour and salt. Make a well and pour in the yeast and water mixture and the sesame oil. Mix it all together with your hand until you get a shaggy ball of dough, and knead it on a lightly floured surface for about ten minutes until it's lovely and smooth and stretchy. If it's very wet, add a bit more flour, but try not to add too much because the higher the water content of your dough, the nicer the texture of the bread will be. Alternatively, throw it all in a food mixer with a dough hook and knead for about five minutes on a low speed. You could also use a breadmaker on a dough setting.

Make the dough into a nice tight ball and sit it in a bowl that you've sprayed or lightly rubbed with oil. Cover it with a bit of oiled cling film and put it somewhere warm for an hour or so, or till it's doubled in size.

When it's looking ready, take it out of its bowl, knock it back and give it a light knead. Cut it into six equal(ish) portions, roll them into balls and place them on a floured or oiled baking tray, quite close together. Brush the tops with a little water and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for about forty minutes or until they're starting to join up. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190ÂșC and place a roasting tin or similar on the bottom of the oven.
Ready for their final rising

Put the buns on a high shelf, and pour some water into the roasting tin - this helps to create a lovely crust. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom and are nicely browned on top. Cool on a wire rack.

Tomorrow I'll show you what we ate in these buns for our dinner tonight!

By the way, here's my "breadmaker", also known as a Kenwood Chef.

I usually can't be bothered to knead dough by hand so this is in constant use in our house, not just for bread but for cakes, pastry, pasta dough and all sorts of stuff. It's about seven years old and still good as new - I expect it'll probably outlive me. We do have a breadmaker but it very rarely gets used, because I prefer to be able to get a feel for the dough.

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