These are smaller, denser, and sweeter than your standard supermarket buns. They require time but are worth it. The buns will keep in the freezer for up to two months.
- 1In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until it’s just warm to the touch. Place the milk, yeast, sugar, and flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined, about 2 minutes.
- 2Measure out 1/3 cup of the eggs and discard the rest. Add the eggs and salt to the bowl and mix on high speed until the dough is smooth and shiny, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the mixer down to medium speed, add the butter in small pieces, turn the mixer up to high speed, and mix for 1 minute, until the butter is incorporated.
- 3Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it a few times to gather it into a ball. Clean the mixing bowl and lightly coat it with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- 4Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into 12 equal-size pieces with a dough cutter. Tuck under edges of each piece, cover the pieces with a clean cloth, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- 5Working with one piece at a time and keeping the rest covered with the cloth, shape the dough into a ball by cupping your hand lightly around it and rounding it against the work surface to form a smooth bun. Begin slowly and increase the speed as the ball becomes tighter and smoother. Use as little flour as possible to prevent sticking. If there is not enough friction between the work surface and the dough, spritz the work surface lightly with water from a spray bottle. As each bun is shaped, check to be sure it is smooth and taut and the surface of the dough is not torn.
- 6Place the buns at least 2 inches apart, smooth side up, on parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Press down gently on each bun to flatten it into a disk. Place each baking sheet in a large plastic garbage bag and blow air into the bag, creating a dome of air that will allow room for the dough to rise. Set aside in a warm place to rise until spongy to the touch, 45 to 60 minutes.
- 7Preheat the oven to 500°F. Just before baking, place a few cups of ice in a baking dish and place the dish in the oven. Close the door to create steam. Reduce the oven temperature to 450°F and bake the buns until they’re a deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before splitting and toasting. Once completely cooled, these buns freeze nicely.
Excerpted from The Great Big Burger Book, by Jane Murphy & Liz Yeh Singh. © 2003, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.