What is the fun in baking when it is not much of a challenge? Even more of a broader question, what is the fun in life when there are no challenges put forth? These are questions I often ponder upon, because two arguments can easily be faced: routine and easy simpleness brings pleasure with out needing to use much of a brain, or the brain is shriveling up trying to find a challenge in life that is mere like a puzzle; something a bit more difficult yet intriguing enough that one is eager to find the answer for. The second argument is exactly how I felt about these somewhat challenging hamburger buns. It was set that Blake and I would be grilling hamburgers for some friends one Saturday night, but I wanted more of a challenge. Something that could be done, yet something I had to work a little harder at and really use my skills and technique with.
So this is what I had come up with, why not make the buns to the hamburger them selves!. (A post was previously posted on the hamburgers.) I must admit, about half way through I was extremely skeptical to the point I was going to head to the store and buy the fake and prepackaged buns. Thanks to Blake's optimism, I stuck with the dough and kneaded through the hard times. Glad that I did, these buns turned out beyond my expectations for they were not only GIANT! but light and fluffy on the inside while still a bit hard with a crunch on the outside. From coming strait out of the oven, they were warm and fresher than buying any loaf of bread from a market place. I, as well as my friends, were delighted and awed by the whole experience of getting the opportunity to try home-made, fresh hamburger buns.
Ingredients: (makes about 12 big buns)
1 cup instant mashed potatoes
2.5 cups boiling water
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons oil
4.5 teaspoons instant yeast
2 eggs (beaten)
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup bran *found with whole and organic foods*
8 cups all purpose flour (or whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons milk
2 eggs beaten
Place instant mashed potatoes into a large bowl and add boiling water and stir with wooden spoon till smooth and allow to cool. Once cooled, add in cottage cheese, beaten egg, sugar, oil and salt. Mix together till the mixture is smooth. Not, add in the bran, instant yeast and two cups of flour. Mix with a wooden spoon for about five minutes. Allow to rest for ten minute uncovered. Place some of the flour onto a flat surface and our out the "dough" (I say this because it will appear rather chunky and liquidy) Sprinkle some more flour on top and begin to knead in the flour. Continue to knead for a very LONG TIME and slowly the "mush" will somehow, gradually become a type of dough. Then knead it for about ten minutes slowly and adding in more flour. The dough will be a little sticky but shouldn't any longer stick to your hands. It will become smooth and elastic. Add a tablespoon of oil to a clean bowl and place the kneaded dough into the bowl. Turn over a few times to lightly coat all of dough with oil. Cover with a damply wet towel and allow to rise until double in bulk (about one hour) pour out the dough and knead a few times to release the gas from the dough. Roll the dough out to form a long log and cut evenly about 10 to 16 slices. Roll each slice into a firm and round ball. Then place the ball on the table and under your palm, and press your palm down until the dough flattens out to about half and inch thick and is much wider. with two different sized cookie cutters, place both circled shaped cut out on top of the dough to leave a neat indention for the top of the bun. Brush the tops of the buns with the mixture of milk and eggs and then sprinkle seeds on top. Bake in oven on 350 degree fahrenheit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!