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I don't bake, but I want to make (good) hamburger buns.

TdotNerd Mar 19, 2012 12:39 PM

I'm not much of a baker. When I look at internet recipes that list a dozen ingredients for a simple hamburger bun, I figure there's got to be a simpler way. I can make the no-knead bread, that's just flour, water, yeast & salt. It tastes good. However I can't really shape buns out of that mixture too well.

Someone on here must know of a better way.

Alternatively, I've thought about using rounds of polenta, however when I've tried this these don't seem the have the "strength" (is that the right word here?) to be held like a bun; They just end up splitting and causing a mess. I can eat them with a fork & knife, and it's tasty, but when I eat a burger, I want to use my hands. Is there a way to make polenta where it will hold together better?


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  1. chowser RE: TdotNerd Mar 19, 2012 12:59 PM

    I don't know about the polenta buns but you could use artisan bread in 5 minutes, similar to no knead, only you can shape it into buns:



    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser
      splatgirl RE: chowser Mar 20, 2012 03:52 AM

      this is a good recipe and instructs you to cut with a donut cutter vs. shaping by hand which might be a better option if you're a novice

      Any enriched dough recipe--meaning that it includes fat and dairy--will made a bun that is miles better than store bought. I make them pretty regularly and stash in the freezer so I can pull out only as many as I'll need. My last batch was the Joy of Cooking brioche recipe spiked with a healthy dose of sourdough starter I was loathe to toss. Probably my best "recipe" yet!

    2. e
      escondido123 RE: TdotNerd Mar 19, 2012 01:08 PM

      We get the TJs pizza dough and cut it into pieces, shape them and let them rise covered and then bake. They come out good.

      1. k
        kengk RE: TdotNerd Mar 19, 2012 01:09 PM

        Flour, salt, dried milk, sugar, butter, yeast, egg... I think that's everything that goes in mine. That's only three more than the no knead. I'm not sure it is a reasonable goal to want to make good hamburger buns without learning how to bake. It's not that hard.

        Why do my photos keep getting turned sideways? Very aggravating.

        10 Replies
        1. re: kengk
          Bliss149 RE: kengk Mar 19, 2012 08:18 PM

          Mmmm...those look yummy, kengk.

          1. re: kengk
            Emme RE: kengk Mar 19, 2012 11:39 PM

            the dried milk is key here for the texture.. i use pretty much the same ingredients, starting with a sponge, and am happy to give quantities/recipes if you're interested.

            1. re: Emme
              chowser RE: Emme Mar 20, 2012 03:09 AM

              Why is dried milk and water different from milk? I've always wondered since I never have dried milk.

              1. re: chowser
                kengk RE: chowser Mar 20, 2012 04:06 AM

                I think it probably comes from the convenience of a baker not having to keep a perishable item on hand. No milk drinkers at our house so we only buy it for some particular reason. The dried milk lasts more or less indefinitely on the shelf.

                I have substituted fresh milk for dried in recipes and had no problems.

                1. re: kengk
                  chowser RE: kengk Mar 20, 2012 04:15 AM

                  That's what I was guessing. I've only used milk recipes, not dried milk, for these types of bread.

                  1. re: chowser
                    Emme RE: chowser Mar 20, 2012 08:04 PM

                    Because I always stock feed-bag size sacks of dried milk, I've never been forced to ponder the question. I'd have to look and see if the dried milk + water equals a "normal concentration" portion of milk... My instinct says that maybe it uses a little less water to milk powder, the benefit being the addition of the extra protein and sugar that provides just that slightest bit of fluffy chew... i could be totally wrong though... stranger things have happened.

                    1. re: Emme
                      splatgirl RE: Emme Mar 21, 2012 09:00 AM

                      I think it' preferred for the same reason some recipes have you scald milk before using it--it denatures the proteins and that somehow that leads to a better finished product.

                      Which in my mind begs the question of the difference between dry milk vs. instant dry milk in baking. I have some small label kind from the co-op and it's very clearly labeled non-instant. The stuff that King Arthur sells is also non-instant. Not sure what this means, functionally. So far I've only ever used it to make Crack Pie and I have nothing to compare that to.
                      I use dry buttermilk like crazy. I buy three or four cans at a time.

                      At my house dry milk is preferred for convenience in baking. No one drinks milk, so I almost never have it unless it's to make yogurt.

                      1. re: splatgirl
                        Emme RE: splatgirl Mar 21, 2012 09:02 PM

                        Instant dissolves easily in water, non-instant does not! :)

                        1. re: splatgirl
                          taurus30 RE: splatgirl Nov 25, 2012 04:37 PM

                          You are correct about fresh milk and baking. The enzyme (or protein fragment) that is of most concern from milk in breadmaking is called "glutathione". As the name might suggest, it works to weaken bonds in gluten. If you need extensibility or tenderness, that might help you a bit. Glutathione will usually reduce loaf height or volume, though, due to these weakening effects.

                  2. re: chowser
                    iL Divo RE: chowser Mar 24, 2012 10:53 AM

                    last 2 times I bought it (dried-powdered milk) it was on sale and makes 8 qts. I don't buy it for drinking just to have in case a recipe like this comes up. about 3 1/2 bucks a box.

              2. k
                Kelli2006 RE: TdotNerd Mar 19, 2012 10:40 PM

                Polenta is made from corn that doesn't have any gluten so it falls apart when you try to pick it up and make a burger bun out of it.

                If you can make no-knead bread then you can easily make burger buns. It is a simple dough that is easy to work with.


                1. s
                  sandylc RE: TdotNerd Nov 25, 2012 04:46 PM

                  I have experimented with a lot of dough types for hamburger buns, and by far the best result has come from a potato bread recipe. It includes boiled, riced potato and has both structure and lightness/softness.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sandylc
                    eaglelake RE: sandylc Nov 26, 2012 06:56 AM

                    If you are not a major baker - how about purchasing a bread machine. I love to bake and I could not do without my bread machine. I make a terrific kaiser roll to use as "hamburger buns". If you do purchase a bread machine - and would like my kaiser roll recipe -just post here.

                  2. p
                    palomalou RE: TdotNerd Jan 27, 2013 03:58 PM

                    Emme, this is an old thread, but I'd love to have your recipe.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: palomalou
                      Emme RE: palomalou Jan 27, 2013 10:51 PM

                      no problem...

                      2.25 ounces Bread Flour
                      .5 ounce Sugar
                      .25 ounce Yeast, Instant
                      ½ cup Water
                      3 ounces Sugar
                      .25 ounce Salt
                      1.25 ounces Nonfat Dry Milk Powder
                      1 ounce Unsalted Butter
                      1 ounce Shortening
                      2 large Eggs
                      1 tsp. Vanilla
                      13.5 ounces Bread Flour
                      6 tbsp. Water, Room Temperature
                      1 whole Egg Wash, mixed with 1 tsp water until frothy

                      Mix dry, add water and stir until ingredients are fully hydrated. Let ferment covered with plastic wrap for 60-90 minutes until sponge is foamy and on the verge of collapse.
                      Cream together sugar, salt, powdered milk, butter and shortening with a wooden spoon. Mix in eggs and extracts.
                      In mixer with dough attachment, mix butter mixture with sponge and flour. Add water as needed to make a very soft dough. Knead for 10-12 minutes til supple and soft, and not wet or sticky.

                      Ferment at room temperature for 2 hours, until dough doubles in size.
                      5. Divide into pieces. Form into buns and put in lightly oiled pans, seam side down. Mist with Pam and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Proof for 2-3 hours.
                      6. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 350 F for 15-35 minutes. (For some reason, I've never watched the time closely enough, and size dependent, they could take a little longer. If I do two big boule sized buns, they take 50-60 minutes.) Cool for at least 60-90 minutes.

                      1. re: Emme
                        palomalou RE: Emme Jan 28, 2013 06:12 AM

                        Thanks, Emme!

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