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An A-bun-dance of Hamburger Buns

An A-bun-dance of Hamburger Buns

Independence Day is fast approaching. Traditionally July 4th is a day of getting together with friends and family, watch fireworks and have a barbecue.

Perhaps July 4th and hamburgers go so well together because they originated around the same time? The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776 and according to Professor Giovanni Ballarini  in “The Origin of Hamburgers and Ketchup”:

The origin of the hamburger is not very clear, but the prevailing version is that at the end of 1800’s, European emigrants reached America on the ships of the Hamburg Line and were served meat patties quickly cooked on the grill and placed between two pieces of bread.

Of course, all great barbecues need burgers, whether they are hamburgers, cheeseburgers, veggie burgers or bean burgers!So with Independence Day just around the corner, what better time to test how frugal it is to make your own hamburger buns?

What you need

To make 8 burger buns you need the following ingredients:

  • Approximately 1 cup (227g) lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 ½ cups (418 g) all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (18 g) sugar (if you prefer a sweeter roll then you can use up to ¼ (50 g) cup sugar)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

For the topping, if you prefer your buns plain, with a light golden crust:

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

If you want sesame seed covered buns:

  • 1 egg white
  • Sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (20 g) melted butter
     

What to do

  • Place the bun ingredients into one bowl, making sure the yeast does not come into direct contact with either the salt or the sugar
  • Mix the ingredients together until they form a shaggy dough and then knead the dough until you get a soft, smooth dough. This can be done by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook.
  • Cover the dough and let it rise until it is about double in size; approximately 1 – 2 hours depending on the warmth of your room.
  • Once the dough has risen, gently deflate it. Then divide it into 8 pieces.
  • Shape each piece into a round ball and then place on a greased baking sheet. Don’t crowd the buns on the baking sheet as they will expand outwards as well as upwards.
  • Cover the shaped buns and let them rise for about an hour. 
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and prepare the buns for baking as follows:
    • Brush the buns with half of the melted butter for the topping, if you want plain buns; or
    • Or, if you want seeded buns, brush the buns with the beaten egg white and sprinkle sesame seeds over the top
  • Bake the buns for 15 – 18 minutes, until they are a light golden-brown.
  • Remove the buns from the oven and brush with melted butter.
  • Let the buns cool, before enjoying them with your favorite burger. 

How much time?

In total these took 4 hours and 6 minutes to make:

  • Hands-on time = 48 minutes.
  • Rising time = 3 hours.
  • Baking time = 18 minutes.

If you are interested in the breakdown of time by steps:

  • Initial mixing and kneading (by hand) = 30 minutes. If I had used my mixer, it would have only taken 10 – 15 minutes.
  • First rise = 2 hours.
  • Shaping the buns = 10 minutes.
  • Second rise = 55 minutes.
  • Basting and sprinkling the seeds = 5 minutes.
  • Baking = 18 minutes.
  • Brushing baked buns with butter = 3 minutes.

Therefore, if your barbecue is going to start at 5 pm, then you’ll want to start making these buns at 11 am, or earlier.

You could also make them ahead of time and freeze them - see the Anything else I should know? section below for more details. 

 

Cost?

Since Independence Day is almost here, there are good deals on hamburger buns. Eight hamburger buns are currently on sale in my local supermarket for between $1.79 and $2.49.

Using the recipe above, here are the costs of making it yourself:

  • 8 buns without sesame seeds = $1.27
  • 8 buns with sesame seeds = $1.46

 

Is it worth it?

These home-made burger buns did score highly on taste. They were very delicious! And they are cheaper to make than the store-bought buns, even with the buns being on sale right now. However, they do take some effort and planning to make so I would say that homemade burger buns get a solid 4-pig grading!

 

Anything else I should know?

If you want to be prepared for July 4th and make the buns ahead of time, you can freeze them. Just put them in a freezer bag or other sealed container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. 

When you are ready to use them, defrost them completely and rewarm them in a 350°F (177°C) oven for about 8 - 10 minutes.

I hope you have a happy July 4th. Will you be celebrating with a barbecue and some burgers? If so, what are your favorite burger fillings?

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