The Spring Cleaning New Recipe Challenge Day 7: One Whole Week and Possibly the Best Recipe Tried So Far

New Recipe Challenge

My son is a carnivore.  He’s also a fruititarian.  He can eat a pound of strawberries in one sitting and move onto several other varieties of fruit.  In.  One.  Sitting.  He also likes his carbs.

No.  You don’t get it.  He LOVES carbs.  Gluten free, we are not.  I’m fairly sure that gluten threads make up some of his tendons (and mine).

Today’s recipe offering was a last-minute find.  I made Homemade Hamburger Buns from Life in the Lofthouse (Life as a Lofthouse) that I discovered while cruising blogs for recipes.  I found enough for several dozen recipe challenges.  I started EARLY this morning (like right as Josh was leaving), putting ingredients in the Kitchen Aid.  If anything, this recipe proves that three things are indispensable in the kitchen:  a Kitchen Aid stand mixer (which has gotten a hefty workout this week–and will continue to through the weekend), half sheet pans with lips (thank you, Pioneer Woman for steering all of us to the necessity of these), and parchment paper.  I ❤ parchment paper.  Sometimes I want to wrap up in it and sleep in it…um…did I just admit that?  Seriously.  My love of parchment paper knows no bounds.  It saves my tush when making truffles in the fall/winter.

I would like to say that you could also spray the pan with Pam and be okay (and that you can use a cookie sheet).  You could also mix up the dough by hand and place it in a ziptop bag and allow you or your young’uns to take their frustrations out on the bag-o-dough.  For seven minutes.

When Muffin saw the buns are perfectly risen and brushed with butter (and so delightfully puffy), he started to snatch one off of the pan, and which point, I screamed in my wicked witch voice, “Don’t!!!  You’ll deflate the buns!!!”  Seriously.  It was causing full panic.  I had visions of hockey pucks instead of puffs of yeasty goodness (that’s happened a few times when I’ve made rolls…it’s very sad–deflation from being pressed by a human hand–usually mine, by accident).

So, Muffin waited impatiently for the 18 minutes to bake (the oven wasn’t entirely up to temp when I made it, so I went for the full 18 minutes), then for me to brush them with butter, then for them to cool to the point that slicing one open wouldn’t burn my fingers.  He ate half of one while it was still warm!

Then, while I was munching on the second half, he came back and asked for more.  So, after eating less than half of my half, I had to relinquish my bun to Muffin.  Which he devoured.  Seriously.  Like birds of prey devouring carrion.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.  Then, he wanted another “tasty bread,” as he called it.  To say this recipe was Muffin Approved is kind of an understatement.  (I must add that it is perhaps my favorite recipe that we’ve tried so far, and Josh, who came home for lunch, liked it, too.

Lunch was the leftover halved Monterey Chicken breasts made into a sandwich with the “tasty buns.”  These buns were this chicken’s correct destination of serving.  I liked the chicken when we had it; don’t get me wrong.  But if I had eaten on one of these buns first and then eaten it as a chicken breast by itself, I wouldn’t have liked it, if that makes any sense.  Of course, it photo bombs very humbly (in fact, it doesn’t prefer the limelight), but it’s beautiful on the inside.  And tastes absolutely fantastic amazing.  If I had purchased store brand buns, this sandwich would have been a disappointment.  Trust me on this:  if you make the Monterey Chicken into a sandwich, you need to make these buns.  Don’t let this sandwich be a disappointment, please.

I’m going to include my process below, but for the truly beautiful photographs of the buns, please visit the original recipe posting.

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Source:  Life in the Lofthouse

(I really like that you can dump it all in the mixer and just let it go, like the Artisan Bread).

1 egg (The original calls for it to be beaten, but I just cracked it in)

3 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose)

1/4 cup granulated (white) sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon yeast (I used some from the Sam’s package–You save a lot of money if you buy yeast in bulk from Sam’s, if you do much baking at all)

1 cup warm tap water (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit…when it feels like warmer than your body temperature bathwater, but it doesn’t scald your hand)

2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (10 seconds in the microwave if you didn’t have it set out) + 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Use your Kitchen Aid with your dough hook (or your upper body muscles) to combine the egg, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and water.   Be reminded that you forgot the butter when the microwave keeps beeping (yes, this happened at 7:30 this morning while I was starting to watch the mixer knead the dough).  Dump the butter in while muttering expletives (“bumpers”).  I used the stir setting until it all came together and then kneaded on setting “4.”  If you are going to take the muscle power route, once all is incorporated, place your dough in a zip top bag and start beating it (kneading it) for the next 7 minutes.  You may need to take the dough out of the bag and fold it over a few times in the process.  The purpose is to have the surface soft, smooth, and elastic.

Butter or grease a large bowl (ceramic, if you have one), roll the dough around in the bowl, coating the surface, and let it rest (ball-like) in the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a tea towel.  If it is a cool day, turn on your oven for 1 minute to make the oven a good “rising” spot.  If it is warm in your kitchen, simply let the dough hang out.  Regardless, you need to let the dough rise until doubled in size.  In my warmed oven, it took one hour.  The original recipe posting said 1 1/2 hours.

Line your pan with parchment paper or spray it with Pam or grease with shortening.  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (the original poster recommends using a kitchen scale to weigh out 3.25 ounces of dough each, but my scale was MIA).  I used my best judgment and my rolly pizza cutter (the Zyliss-style one that Alton Brown used on Good Eats) to divide them in a “rustic” manner.  Make a smooth ball out of each piece by forming a loose gluten cloak (a la Artisan Bread) and smoothing the bottom.  Arrange each ball on the prepared pan with even (and hopefully generous) spacing between.  Flatten the balls gently with your hand so that they become hockey-puck shaped (at this point a bit of deflation is okay).

Warm them with the tea towel blanket and stash them again in the warmed oven.  Let them rise until they are puffy buns (around 40 minutes).  Mine were touching at this point, but the original pictures on Holly Lofthouse’s blog weren’t.

When the timer beeps, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Brush the rolls with half of the melted butter.  Panic when they deflate a little.  More expletives.  Bake 18 minutes, checking to make sure that the tops don’t get too brown.  I like mine more on the light mahogany end, rather than golden.  Remove from the oven (inhale the yeasty goodness with a touch of sweet…contemplate a way to bottle the scent) and lavishly slather with the remaining butter…each little bun.  Make sure you show some butter love to the nooks and crannies.

The original recipe says to cool completely before serving.  That might work of you were carbphobic and gave birth to a carbphobic child.  Simply:  try not to burn your fingers too bad as you split this and eat part of your half while your ungrateful child gobbles his half and then demands the rest of yours.

Contemplate hoarding the rest or eating all of the buns immediately.

Serve with burgers or sandwich fixins.

I added to my cholesterol count today further at lunchtime when I slathered butter on the insides, placed the buns insides-down in a hot skillet, and griddle cooked them until slightly charred.  I spread the bottoms with mayo, topped with the warmed Monterey Chicken leftovers (added pickle slices to Josh’s and Muffin’s–I had my slices on the side), and topped with the other half of the bun.  Serve with “yellow” chips (original flavored potato chips).

It should be noted that Muffin ate his bun in its entirety at lunch and then begged for more tasty buns (and ate another half) immediately after lunch.

All of the ingredients (minus the butter…grrr) in the mixer bowl.

The sandwiches…being coy.

Did I mention that this recipe was Muffin Approved?

Muffin Approved

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2 thoughts on “The Spring Cleaning New Recipe Challenge Day 7: One Whole Week and Possibly the Best Recipe Tried So Far

  1. Pingback: The Spring Cleaning New Recipe Challenge: Breakfast | Full Happy Muffin and Mama: The Blog

  2. Pingback: The Spring Cleaning New Recipe Challenge: Soft Pretzel Bites (The Slow Roasted Italian) | Full Happy Muffin and Mama: The Blog

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