Julia's Favorite Hamburger Buns
4 tsp Dry active yeast
1 cup Tepid water
¼ tsp Sugar
6 cups Bread flour
1 cup Whole wheat flour
1 Tbs Salt
6 Tbs Butter (3/4 stick)
2 Large eggs
1 cup Non-fat milk
2/3 cup Water, approximate as needed to achieve proper consistency
Proof the yeast by combining it with the tepid water and sugar, and allow to rest for approximately 5 minutes.
Combine the flours and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the butter cut into chunks. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until incorporated.
Mix the eggs, milk and yeast mixture together and add to the flour in the mixer bowl, as you begin to knead it using the dough hook attachment. Once these ingredients are incorporated, add the remaining water, until a good moist dough consistency is obtained (but don’t use so much water that it becomes gooey or even gluey!) If you think it is too moist, some additional flour can always be added.
Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead for 3-5 minutes, adding a little more flour as needed to make it easier to handle. You still want a somewhat wet dough, however.
Drizzle a little oil into the bowl of the mixer (that you just mixed dough in) and put the kneaded dough back in, turning it to make sure all the surface has a thin coat of oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for around 2 hours, depending on the temperature of the room, but until doubled.
Punch down the dough, then let it double again, perhaps another hour to two. At this point, punch it down and divide it into 16 equal pieces (or 32 if you want to make “slider-sized” buns). Make them into the shape of balls, and place them on large baking sheets lined with parchment. Cover these with plastic wrap, which has been coated with non-stick cooking spray on the underside. Allow the buns to rise until double, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. During this time, you can begin pre-heating the oven to 425°.
Following this rise, use the heal of your hand (through the plastic wrap) to gently flatten the bun shapes, and let them rise another 15 to 30 minutes. Then remove the plastic wrap from one of the baking sheets, and place it in the oven for 15 minutes, at which time it is done—light brown and fragrant! It usually is more successful to bake one sheet at a time, so hold the second one back until the first has finished baking. When the sheets come out of the oven, transfer the buns to cooling racks.
Pairs Well With
This recipe is inspired by two Julia's: one being my daughter, and the other Julia Child. After seeing "Julie and Julia" with my daughter, I began devouring all of Child's books, and found a recipe for hamburger buns in The Way to Cook. This is an adaptation, insofar as whole wheat flour is used, and the milk and butter quantities are tweaked. We make them in slider size or full burger size, and "little Julia" loves them a lot! These freeze fantastically well.