You know you’ve gone a bit over the deep end into the world of baking when you’ve purchased a whole block of yeast. A two-pound block of yeast, to be precise. The average little packet of yeast weighs a mere .75/oz. So the three-envelope set is 2.25/oz. It’s like buying over 14 three-packs at once. I bought it from a health store on Amazon called Shop Natural, and it was right around $5! Can’t beat that, when the little packs are over $1 each. I also got some rye flour, so we’ll have some rye bread in the near future.
Anyway, what good is a pile of yeast if you don’t use it? It just sits in the freezer forever. Early yesterday morning, before the day had a chance to get really hot, I assembled some hamburger buns. Now I’ve tried this recipe a couple of times in the past, and the third time was definitely the charm. The first time they rose nicely but fell right before baking when the plastic wrap stuck to them and tore their poor, risen tops off. The second time I swapped in too much wheat flour, and they were terribly dense. But this time they were lovely. I’m using a recipe I found on allrecipes but have cut down to make far fewer buns.
Yesterday afternoon we enjoyed said buns, and filled them with burgers made from steak that I ground up in the food processor. Who knew you could do such things? There was a New York Times article that Baking Bites linked to a few days ago that recommended it, and I had some sirloin in the freezer that needed eating. The burgers would have been perfect if we hadn’t run out of gas in the grill right after I started them; they got overcooked by putting them on a hot pan, mainly because they’d essentially baked for five minutes in a 600 degree oven–the time they spent in the unlit, ungrilling grill.
Anyway, they were still delicious, and definitely tastier than just buying ground beef at the store.
Here’s the bun recipe! You’ll need:
1/2 packet of active-dry yeast (this is about 1 1/8 teaspoons)
1 c of milk, slightly warmed, or cold if you don’t mind waiting longer for the rise
2 T of butter, melted
2 T warm water
2 T white sugar
1 tsp salt
3 c all-purpose flour
In a bowl, add milk, butter, and water; add yeast and whisk. Allow to sit for ten minutes. If your milk is cold, you won’t see much blooming; if it’s warm, five minutes will probably do the job. Make sure that the milk-water-butter combo is not hot–under 120 degrees–or you’ll cook the yeast and it won’t rise.
Mix in the salt and the flour, one cup at a time. The last cup–and you might not use all of it–is best kneaded in, as opposed to trying to mush it in with a wooden spoon. Give dough a quick knead to make it smooth, just five or ten turns.
Break dough into six pieces, and roll them into balls. Put balls on a cookie sheet and dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise an hour or so, until sorta doubled. These puppies are more likely to rise out than up, so when you initially roll them, try to make them tall, as opposed to wide.
If you see any of them sticking to the plastic, carefully lift it and dust on a little more flour.
When they’re ready, bake in a 375 oven for 15 minutes. Before baking, you can CAREFULLY brush with milk or an egg wash for a golden top, and add sesame seeds or poppy seeds or whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!