The glory that is homemade burger buns

Who doesn’t love homemade bread? If you didn’t raise your hand you’re either trying desperately to contain your excitement or you’re a liar mcpantsonfire. But I can’t have gluten. It can be done, google it.

When I was just an aspiring baker, limited to simple cookies and cakes, I use to break into a cold sweat thinking about kneading and dough rising. Not to mention the thought of starting something knowing it would take at least three hours to finish. (This was before the giant gingerbread church project that took two weeks) However, I’ve grown, branched out, and thanks to my Kitchenaid and bread machine I feel like I could take on the yeast filled world.

Now to answer the question that has haunted me on multiple grocery trips. If I get burger buns now, when will we use them? Was I planning on making burgers/sloppy joes/pulled bbq chicken in the next week? I’m not a huge fan of multiple, weekly grocery trips so I like to get almost everything for the month in one big, cart toppling shot. Except milk and bread which my boys seem to inhale. Many a sack o’ buns has been fed to the birds because we forgot and didn’t eat enough bun requiring meals. But no more!

I give you the homemade burger/hot dog buns! So tasty and easy to make that I bought a 10 lb bag of bread flour from Sam’s Club. Side note, I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to go through Sam’s without laughing and spending at least $100. Who has a comically large tub of pasta sauce in the fridge? This gal.

So, burger buns. Sorry, Kitchenaid, but we don’t need you for this one. Hello, bread machine all tucked away in the absurdly shaped small appliance cabinet. Seriously, on post housing, why is there one cabinet that stretches back two feet into oblivion? Granted, I can almost fit all my small appliances in there, but if I want that mini donut maker in the back (and who doesn’t?) I’m going to spend 20 minutes taking everything else out.

012 (I can’t even remember what’s back there!)

Now that you’re safely on the counter, let’s begin!

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What you’ll need:

Bread machine with dough setting

Dough blade would be handy, but a good knife would work

Two tea towels or plastic wrap

Two big cookie sheets… if you don’t have these you have no purpose owning an oven.

TWO VERSIONS: 1 ½ lb (8 buns) and 2 lb (12 buns)… I’ll put the 1 ½ lb and then the 2 lb in ( )

1 (1 ¼) cup water

1 large egg (same for both)

4 (6) TBSP melted, unsalted butter

2 (3) TBSP sugar

3 (4) cups bread flour

¼ (1/3) cup nonfat dry milk… smells weird, has a frighteningly long shelf life.

2 (3) TBSP instant potato flakes… if you’re not a regular instant potato maker they make little packets. BTW, there’s no shame in instant potatoes, so stop judging.

1 TBSP (1 TBSP + 1 tsp) gluten… always store your gluten and yeast in airtight containers in the fridge. Why? I don’t know, but King Arthur Baker’s Companion told me to and that’s good enough for me.

1 ½ (2) tsp salt

1 ¾ (2) tsp SAF yeast OR 2 ¼ (2 ½) tsp bread machine yeast.

Here comes my favorite part about using a bread machine… pour all your wet ingredients in. Now dump all your dry ingredients on top. THAT’S IT! Well, at least as far as leg work goes. It actually takes longer to get all the ingredients out and put away than it does to put them all in the handy dandy machine bucket thing.

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(I put my yeast in a little well, just a habit)

Pop that baby into your machine, and set to the dough cycle. Mine takes an hour and a half for this part. Plenty of time for other fun activities. You could even fit in a whole episode of Sherlock! I totally just thought of that.

When the machine is done doing all the hard work, dump out the puffy dough onto a nice clean work surface. Now to divide. If you went with the 1 ½ lb loaf you can get 8 buns, the 2 lb loaf will get you 12. I’ll show you the 2 lb. I start by cutting the dough in half. This is where that dough cutter is handy. Target has them with a nice handle.

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Then take one of those halves and cut it in half again.

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But if you keep cutting in half you’ll end up with 8 buns, not 12. Way to do math. With the second half piece I roll it out into a little log and cut that into three pieces. See, 1 into 2, into 4, into 12. Or 1 into 2, into 2, into 3 done 4 times. Did your mind just explode?

You’ve got your pieces, now what? Time to shape. You’ll need both cookie sheets for the space your buns will need to get all puffy and awesome. Do you need all those to be shaped like burgers? Not necessarily. I see meatball subs in the near future (great, and now I want a meatball sub) so I shaped four into hot dog buns and the rest into burger buns. For burger buns, roll into a ball, put it on the cookie sheet and press out a bit.

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Hot dog buns, make that classic hot dog bun shape, put it on the cookie sheet and press out a bit. Cover both cookie sheets with those tea towels or loose plastic wrap and let them rise for 30 minutes. Wait, I thought the bread machine did all the rising. Yeah well, tough, you’ll be fine. Before that time ends, preheat your oven to 375.

After that agonizing extra 30 minutes (whiner) pop those bad boys in the preheated oven for 15-22 minutes. FUN TRICK: two big ol’ cookies sheets don’t fit in many ovens. Unless you have some super oven, in which case I’m jealous. For us poor commoners with normal sized ovens, you’re going to want to rotate your pans. Do 7 minutes, and then rotate the pans for another 7 minutes. This has never let me down. Also, hilarious to ask your husband to rotate the pans. I swear I could smell burning while he tried to work out how to do that. (love you, hun!)

How do I tell when they’re done? Should I cut one in half? Would you want to eat a partially dismembered bun, I don’t think so. Look for that beautiful golden brown. But like I said, 7 min 7 min should do the trick, but you know your oven best, so adjust the time if you need to.

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Isn’t that beautiful?! I know what we’re having for dinner!

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