Making Great Hamburger (or Sandwich) Buns

We've said it before, "Buns make the burger" and nothing makes a better burger than homemade buns. In fact, once you've had a burger on a fresh homemade bun, burgers will never be the same.

You can use your favorite bread mix (or bread recipe) to make some terrific hamburger or sandwich buns. A two-loaf mix will make about eighteen large hamburger buns and a single-loaf mix or bread machine mix will make eight or ten.

Mix the dough according to the package or recipe directions and then remove the dough to a greased bowl and cover it with plastic. Let it rise until it is doubled and very puffy--an hour or more.

Grease two large baking sheets (for a two loaf mix) or cover them with parchment paper. Once the dough has risen, deflate it and divide the dough into eighteen equal pieces with a sharp knife (or scale the pieces at 3 ounces each on your kitchen scales). Form smooth round balls by pulling the dough around the center and pinching the seams together on the bottom of the roll. Place them on the greased sheet allowing room for them to expand. (You can place a dozen of them on a 12-inch by 18-inch baking sheet---three rows of four buns each.)

On the baking sheet, gently press the balls into flat discs with your hand. The dough will tend to spring back. Allow the dough to relax a few minutes and then press again. You may need to repeat the process again until you have discs that are 3 1/2 to 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 to 3/4-inches thick.

Lightly dust the tops with flour (we use a screen or strainer to distribute the flour). Cover the rolls lightly with plastic and allow them to rise again until doubled and puffy--about an hour. Let them rise completely for soft, light buns.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls for 15 minutes or until the tops are a rich golden brown. If you are baking both sheets at once, switch the top sheet with the bottom sheet half way through the baking so that the buns will bake evenly. Immediately remove the rolls to a wire rack to cool.

Copyright 2003-2007, The Prepared Pantry (http://www.prepraredpantry.com ). Published by permission

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About The Author, Dennis Weaver -
Dennis Weaver is a baker, a recipe designer, and a writer. He has written many baking guides and How to Bake, a comprehensive baking and reference e-book--available free at The Prepared Pantry which sells baking and cooking supplies and has a free online baking library.