Hamburgers & Buns

Hamburgers!  You guys must be thinking that I finally got a grill, right?  After all that time at the apartment coveting our neighbor’s grill, smelling the sweet smoky aromas that wafted up to our second floor windows, but knowing that we were not renewing our lease, so getting one would be a pain.

And now we have a house, so there’s no excuse to not have one, so of course we do have one…it’s just that it’s still in the box.  Yeah, I know, for shame.  Hear me out though, the assembly instructions are as thick as a science textbook, and I might be good at Ikea assembly, but there are no gas lines and fire and heat running through my Ikea furniture.

I’m just afraid to mess it up, and so is Luke, but getting a father person over to our house to help set it up has proven difficult.  So in the box it will stay, probably until after the wedding.

I cooked these burgers in a pan on the stovetop, setting off the smoke detector no less than twice, even though the hood fan was on.  Of course I made my own buns (they were huge, I had no idea they’d rise so much…and many large “bun” jokes ensued).

I doctored mine up with some sautéed mushroom, cheddar cheese, and a caramelized pineapple ring, in addition to some parsley for greenery because for some reason I had forgotten to buy lettuce.

Please disregard my veiny hand

Neither of the boys (Diego and Luke) complained since I’m pretty sure they are both allergic to all green, leafy foods.  I also made some oven fries to accompany our burgers.  Definitely a good meal for our first entertaining stint in the new house.

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Adapted from Foodie Bride

Makes 8-12 buns

1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

2 Tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) plus more for greasing the rising bowl

2 large eggs

3 Tbsp sugar

3 ¼ cups flour

1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, add warm water and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit 10 minutes, until frothy.  Add the, oil, 1 egg, and sugar to the bowl.  Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough holds together, about 2 minutes. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl. If not, add additional flour by the Tbsp.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with oil.

Cover it with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-1 ½  hours.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  Turn out the dough back out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough in half and each half into 4-6 pieces (make them smaller than you might think for a bun, they will rise).  Roll into rounds and flatten with the palm of your hand onto the baking sheet; placing buns about ½ -1 inch apart.  Cover with a damp towel and let them rise for 20 minutes + oven preheating time.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk the remaining egg with 1 Tbsp water.  Brush the buns with the egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Classic Hamburgers

 A Bashful Bao Original

Makes 4 patties

1 ½ lb 80/20 ground beef*

salt and pepper

Toppings:

8 oz button mushrooms

1 Tbsp olive oil

4 pineapple rings

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp butter

slices of cheddar cheese

condiments of your choosing

Season the ground beef with salt and pepper and form it lightly into 4 patties.  Be careful not to handle the beef too much, the more you handle it, the tougher your burgers will be.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Once the skillet is hot, place the patties in the skillet.  Cook until the meat is fully cooked on the underside, about 3-5 minutes, then flip them over and continue cooking to your desired level of doneness.  Remove from skillet, place on sesame buns and top with your favorite accoutrements.

For these burgers, I sautéed the mushrooms until soft in olive oil with a sprinkling of salt, pepper and smoked paprika.  I also sautéed the pineapple rings in butter and brown sugar until brown on both sides.  And of course, a nice slice of sharp cheddar.

*For hamburgers, you really want to use an 80/20 mix of ground beef.  You need that fat to ensure that it retains moisture.  Anything leaner and you will have a very dry hamburger.

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