I don’t know about you, but Mondays and Fridays tend to be quick dinner nights around here. For whatever reason, at either end of the work week, I want something simple and fast to throw together. One of my almost instant dinners that my family really likes is Sloppy Joes.
So last night (Thursday), I got a pound of ground beef out of the freezer to make Sloppy Joes for dinner tonight. There weren’t any hamburger buns in the freezer, and the ones on top of the fridge were of questionable vintage. Rather than stop on the way home to pick up buns, I decided to try a recipe a number of my baking friends had been chatting about — Taste of Home’s 40-minute Hamburger Buns.
You might wonder (1) how you could possibly have homemade bread of any kind in about half an hour, and (2) whether it could possibly be any good. Let me tell you….
Bread derives its flavors in two basic ways. First, from time — the rising and fermenting processes allow the yeast in the dough to convert the starch in flour to sugar, thereby adding flavor. The other way to get flavorful bread is through the ingredients used to make it. For example, eggs, sugar, and oil are often added to bread to make an enriched dough that relies more on these ingredients than the fermentation process for its resulting flavor.
In the case of these burger buns, the flavor comes almost entirely from the ingredients, as the dough is not given a chance to rise. This recipe also relies on another principle of bread baking: if you add enough yeast to the dough, you can make bread that rises “instantly”.
I’ll admit to being a bit skeptical of these buns, as I tend to rely heavily on time to develop flavor in my breads. I can make amazing bread using nothing but flour, yeast, salt, and water (and in the case of sourdough bread, just flour, salt, and water). But I needed hamburger buns for dinner, and it seemed like a good time to see what all the fuss was about.
I was surprised at how good these burger buns tasted. I would still opt for a more traditional recipe when time permits. But for an almost instant bread, these were great. And they fit right into my quick Friday dinner plans. These were so good, I made them again as hot dog buns.
I made some changes to the recipe, and I found they were done in closer to half an hour than 40 minutes. Here’s my version.
Half Hour Hamburger Buns
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
- Pour water into bowl of electric mixer. Add yeast and sugar, stir to dissolve, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix with dough hook on medium-low speed for 3 to 5 minutes, adding flour as necessary so that dough clears sides and bottom of bowl.
- Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place dough balls 1 to 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly. (Placing dough balls closer together will cause them to bake together, creating pull-apart hamburger buns similar to those you get from the store.) Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. If desired, brush rolls with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Or for softer buns, brush with a little milk.
- Bake rolls for 8-10 minutes, until well-risen and browned. Cool on pan for a few minutes.
Makes 12 hamburger buns.