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BEST HAMBURGER BUN

    


Ingredients
3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast (the kind that you add directly to the other ingredients)
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup softened butter
1 1/4 cups whole milk (For extra richness and flavor you can use evaporated milk 
directly from the can without diluting it with water)
2 eggs + 1 more for an egg wash at the end
sesame seeds for tops (optional)



Method:
➡Add the 3 1/2 cups flour along with all of the other ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. (If kneading by hand, mix all of the ingredients together with a wooden spoon and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

➡Knead with the mixer on low for 10 minutes, or by hand for the same amount of time.
You can add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl. (If kneading by hand, just add the flour a little at a time until a slightly tacky, but not sticky dough forms, it should be easy to handle without sticking to your hands.)

➡Place the dough in a bowl, cover, and leave in a draft free space for about 60-90 minutes or until it is almost doubled in size.
Forming the buns

➡Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. (I weigh the dough to 3 ounces for each burger bun, which I think is the ideal size.)
Form each of the balls into a 3 inch round using your thumbs and forefingers to flatten the dough.

➡When all of the rounds have been formed, cover them with a clean tea towel and let them rest for 15 minutes. This allows the dough to relax and become more elastic.

➡After relaxing the dough rounds, further stretch and flatten them to abou 4 to 4 1/2 inches and place them, well separated, about 3 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets (Aluminum baking sheets work best for me, even disposable sheets are good.) (Watch darker pans closely and perhaps reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees F because these carry heat more quickly and increase the chance of overbaking the bottoms of the buns. 

If using pans like this I recommend covering them with a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil as I do for cookie baking. If you only have standard aluminum foil, use two layers.)
Resting and preparing the buns for baking

Cover the baking sheets with clean tea towels for another 60-90 minutes until they have risen well and about double in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together 1 egg plus 1 tbsp of water to create an egg wash. Brush this lightly and evenly over the risen dough rounds.
Sprinkle on the sesame seeds evenly if you are using them.

At this point I sometimes lightly score the tops with razor blade or bread lame. This is optional, but will often allow for a better rise when baking.
Baking

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the buns are evenly golden brown. Check the bottoms after the first 15 minutes by using an egg turner to lift a bun and check the color of the bottom. If it starts to get too dark, take the buns out of the oven even if they are lightly browned on top. It is most likely they are fully balked if the bottoms are well browned.

Let the buns cool completely on a wire rack before using.

Notes:
I use the same weight of dough to make hot dog rolls. Just roll the dough into even logs about 6 inches long and follow the same instructions for baking. Hot dog buns may bake a little faster so check them a little earlier.
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