It’s the height of burger season, and one thing I’ve learned in my copious testing of burgers, North Americans make better burgers. As I proved with my visit to Brasserie Blanc, European restaurants tend to under season, over pack, or over cook burgers. There are changes, as ‘gourmet’ burger chains grown. They produce good burgers, but they’ve turn the classic hand held food into a sit down meal.
That’s not to say North American’s produce faultless burgers. My recent visit back to Nova Scotia reminded me that for every good burger, there are abominations. The Burger King Quad Stacker or the Wendy’s Baconator are prime examples of the later.
What makes a good classic burger?
- Fresh Beef – lightly seasoned
- Fresh Veggies
- A good sauce (Mayo, mustard, Peanut Butter, Onion chutney, Ketchup, my Aztec Sauce etc)
- Bacon, because why not.
- A good bun
Lets focus on the last one in the list, the bun. Burger buns in the shops, on either side of the Atlantic, tend to be the same. They overly airy (bakers are masters of making water stand up!), and cannot stand up to the burger. Or they are ciabattas (or similar) with a crust that is too chewy making the burger difficult to eat. In my case, these buns always result in my burger spitting out the back of the burger on to my plate. In either case, the joy of the burger is somewhat diminished.
As I tried making a modified version of his granola earlier, when I saw Justin Gellatly also had a recipe for buns, I thought these could be perfect. I forget what Gellatly calls them, I call them Butter Buns. Now he suggested using them for sandwich fillers, little side rolls, or bacon sandwiches (which my household can verify).
Why not burgers?
A rich and semi-soft centre, with good browning on the outside. It matches the burger, and the butter adds a brioche like richness, which adds to the beef flavour without over powering it. While Gellatly suggests 100% white flour, I use a 60/40 mix of white and wholewheat/wholemeal flour.
- 400 G - plain/strong flour
- 200 G - Wholemeal/whole wheat flour
- 10 g sea salt
- 40 g sugar
- 22 g fresh yeast 10g instant yeast
- 330 g water
- 100 g lightly salted butter
- 1 egg to wash
- Use a stand mixer - combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast and water. Mix until just combined, let rest and hydrate about 15min (less if using fresh yeast). Turn on mixer again and slowly add the butter. Mix on low until the butter is combined, then on high for 3min. Leave for another 20min (half the time if using fresh yeast) but cover the bowl with cling film.
- Divide into rolls and place onto a parchment lined pan, evenly spaced. Let rise at least 1hr, up to 1.25hrs. Near the end of this time heat your oven to 200C.
- Break the egg and whisk. Brush your buns liberally, taking time to coat the sides as well. Please this directly into the oven, bake for 10-12min until golden brown. When you take them out the base should be lightly brown too. Let cool, then enjoy.