If you have had to suffer through the low quality mass produced hamburger buns from the grocery store shelf, I likely don’t have to say anything else. You want a better buns. We all want better buns! Thankfully, I’m known for nice buns. Ahem… cough cough.. bread buns people! Keep it clean 🙂
We have a decent white bread dough recipe and I usually just portion off smaller bits of dough, round them up, press them flat, proof and bake them for when we want hamburger buns. They’re nice, but they are a little tough and chewy. It’s a small bit of dough with a lot of crust. Don’t get me wrong, the crust is where the flavour is. The downside is the crust can make the bun chewy. We need a solution to that.
What the heck is tangzhong?!? Well, it’s a simple, easy to make paste of flour and milk (and/or water) which you make on the stove top and set aside to cool while you start in on weighing the other ingredients. It helps in making a softer bread. Once some of the other ingredients start to mix together in the mixing bowl, that’s the time the paste (tangzhong) is added. Then continue with the other ingredients to make the dough.
I followed this recipe by Joshua Weissman. He has a pretty decent blog of recipes, check him out when you have time. The only error I can point out at the time I write this article is found in Step 2 of his instructions where it says, “For the primed yeast mixture, add water,…”. There is no additional water in the ingredients list, so just ignore that. Also, Steps 7, 8 and 9 are basically a textual instruction on how to roll into balls of dough. If you know how already, you can skip those steps.
This is a rich dough. Meaning there is a lot of sugar, egg yolk and yeast for the amount of dough. I normally would not put near as much sugar in my bread doughs but since I never made this recipe before I opted to follow along and see how it turns out.
After developing the dough in the mixture for 5 minutes it was still sticking to the sides and bottom. I took the dough out and benched the dough 100 times. Lifting the dough and banging it down and folding the dough to develop the gluten. Every 25 times I would have to stop and scrape the dough off my fingers. It was sticky. By the end of the 100, the dough was still tacky but it had developed enough to be well rounded.
I put the dough in a bowl covered by plastic and towel, on the floor next to the wood stove. A nice, warm spot. A little too warm I think because after an hour the dough had more than doubled in size. No worries, all good. The dough was divided and panned as per instructions. I actually made 12 buns and had enough dough leftover to make two foot-long sub buns and put them on another pan. The buns proofed for an hour and honestly, they were proofed at 45 minutes to be double in size, so a little over proofed. I need to pay more attention while trying new recipes. 🙂
No matter. Into the oven they went. The instructions said 375ºF for 18 minutes. I thought 375ºF was a bit high. Knowing the amount of sugar in the recipe, the buns were going to be dark crusted. Trust the process, so I kept to the recipe instructions. I did… until there was one minute left and I couldn’t help myself, I took them out.
Nice and soft, beautiful, although a little dark on the bottom for my liking. Only a taste test will confirm. After letting them cool for about 10 minutes we sliced them open.
They have a really nice crumb texture. Very soft. Now it was time to dress the buns and make a hamburger. Technically, a lean ground pork burger but let’s not fuss over details.
I mean.. COME ON PEOPLE…. is that not a delicious looking hamburger?
And yes, it was delicious.
As for those sub suns, I baked them at 350ºF for 15 minutes and them came out looking just like the hamburger buns. Looking forward to making pizza subs with them.. maybe tomorrow.
Enjoy your baking! If you have any questions or comments, let me know by posting below.