One morning, my dad was looking through the fridge and said “I’m making hamburgers for dinner.” “Say no more” I replied (not literally, but you get the picture). I immediately pulled up a video from Joshua Weissman for his recipe on Hamburger Buns. I’d been sitting on this one for a while- not really having a reason to make them. Hamburger night seemed just too perfect. With Guam in it’s second round of lockdown, my family and I really try to limit how often we go out. As a result, we were likely to eat our burgers with either rice or plain old sliced bread- no judgment if that’s your thing. But seeing as though I had all the makings for what I assumed would be some pretty stellar buns, I decided to give it a try. Joshua has been my bread guru for quite some time, so I went into this with confidence- knowing that regardless of how it looks in the end, it will at least taste great.
The recipe starts off by making a tangzhong which is a water roux commonly found in Asian breads. If you’ve ever made white sauce, then this would be familiar. Bread flour, water and milk get mixed together and cooked in a saucepan until thick. I ended up having to use soy milk for the entirety of this recipe and am thrilled to report that it worked great. The tangzhong is then transferred to a bowl cool completely. Next, more bread flour, sugar and salt are added to the bowl of a mixer. It’s important to note that I always weigh my ingredients when making bread as it tends to lead to a better product. Bread can be finicky, so accuracy is key. I then heated up the rest of the soymilk slightly until warm before adding in the yeast and letting that sit for a few minutes. The milk mix, the tangzhong, along with an egg and egg yolk get added to the dry and mixed with the dough hook for a few minutes. It seems pretty shaggy at first (shaggy is a technical term), but that’s alright. You then add in the butter to really enrich it. The butter and tangzhong really work to make a fluffy bread that stays soft days after being baked. Crank up the speed and let it knead for about 8 minutes. That dough then gets transferred to a greased bowl and covered with plastic before its left to rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled.
Next comes the shaping which is easily my favorite part of bread making. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy touching food- then really, what are you even doing in the kitchen??? I divided the dough into six equal pieces and then started to shape them into buns. I employed my go-to technique of pulling each of the ends of the dough into the center to start the formings of a ball. Then, I turn it over and scrape the dough against the counter, using that friction to create a taut ball. You actually want it to stick here, so don’t use any flour or oil. This may take some practice, but on your second or third one, you’ll get the hang of it. Place that perfectly round bun onto a parchment lined baking sheet and continue with the rest, making sure you keep ample space between them. Joshua then recommends covering them with another pan- so long as it’s tall enough- though you could take your chances with some well greased plastic wrap. Let those buns rise one last time, around 1-2 hours. Once your buns are nicely puffed and the oven is preheated, carefully brush with egg wash and then bake for about 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with melted butter to soften the tops and make them shiny.
When I tell you this is one of the best breads I’ve ever had, I’m not exaggerating. These buns are so incredibly soft with just the right chewiness to hold up to a burger. The flavor is only slightly sweet, meaning it can lend well to all of your savory needs. Personally I could see this piled high with tuna and black olives, or some cold cuts and cheese. Really anything you put on there would be elevated because the bread is so good. Mine were a bit darker than I would have liked- which is totally a personal preference. Really you could solve that by tenting the top with foil once you get your desired color. You could also make the argument that they’re a bit bigger than your standard sized hamburger bun. Perhaps you could stretch it to make seven instead of six. But alas, that’s all semantics at this point. This recipe works and it tastes great and it’s not too hard to do- even if you’re not that experienced with bread. Need I say more?
Full Recipe | Method by Joshua Weissman