Difficulty: Medium - experience needed
Serves: 12 - 18
4 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or milk, at room temperature
sesame seeds for the tops (optional)
Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Pour in the egg, butter, and buttermilk and mix with a large metal spoon until all the flour is absorbed and the dough forms a shaggy ball. You can trickle in a little water if the dough seems very stiff, until the dough is soft and supple.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop, where youâ€™ll do your kneading. Knead for about 8 minutes, until the dough is soft, supple, and tacky but not sticky. You can test if youâ€™ve kneaded it enough by pulling off a little piece of dough, gently stretching and pulling it with your hands until itâ€™s paper thin, and holding it up to the light: if the dough stretches and holds its shape without breaking, to the point where itâ€™s translucent, itâ€™s done. This is called the windowpane test.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Roll it around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and let it rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size (I use an electric heating pad under the bowl, as we keep our house on the cool side.)
Remove the risen dough from the bowl and divide it into eighteen 2-ounce pieces (for slider buns) or twelve 3-ounce pieces (for standard size burger buns.) Shape the pieces of dough into rounds, transfer them to baking sheets lined with Silpats or parchment paper, and cover them with a towel. Let the buns proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until theyâ€™re nearly doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk together 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water, for an egg wash. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you like. Bake the buns for 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove them immediately from the pans and cool completely on a wire cooling rack (cool them at least 1 hour before slicing.)
Makes 18 slider buns or 12 regular burger buns.
Originally found at http://eggsonsunday.googlepages.com/homemadehamburgerbuns