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Hamburger Buns
(8 buns)

6 cups, approx., white bread flour
2 cups, approx, water
2 eggs
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil such as sunflower
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp salt
1/6 cake yeast

Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the water, heated to lukewarm
(don't heat all the water, just the 1/4 cup). Leave to proof for
about 5 minutes. Stir the salt with the rest of the (cold) water
in a large bowl. Beat the eggs gently until well-mixed. Add about
3 cups of flour, the oil, eggs, and dissolved yeast to the water
and mix with a fork until smooth and fully blended. Add another 2
cups of flour and mix/knead with your hands briefly, long enough
to mix. At this point the dough should be somewhat sticky. Set
aside for 10 minutes. Now, add just enough flour to prevent the
dough from being sticky and knead vigorously with your hands until
the dough is very smooth and silken. Add just enough water to make
the dough slightly soft, mixing in carefully with your hands. Cover
with a towel and allow to rise in a *cool* place for 3 separate
risings, doubling in bulk with each one, punching down vigorously
at the end of each rising. The first rise should take 6 hours or
more (yes, just put it in the closet and walk away - you can leave
for the day in safety - nothing bad will happen), the second about
2 hours, the third less than an hour. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Divide the dough into 8 balls and press each into hamburger-bun
tins lined with parchment. (The ideal tin for this is the 4-inch
"millason" mold available from Sprinkle
sesame seeds on top and press lighly in. Bake at 375 F for about
20 minutes, or until the tops are nicely domed and brown. Remove
from the oven and seal in Zip-Loc bags. Place in the freezer and
keep until ready to use. Defrost before use. (Don't skip the freezer
step - see notes below)


All measures are approximate. Go by feel and the qualitative
descriptions. Bread-making is an art so you need to do things more
by judgement than measurement.

You will get best results with the highest-protein bread flour you
can find. Good high-protein flour is a light tan in color and
becomes really doughy with water added.

The longer the bread takes to rise, the better it will be. This is
the reason for the small amounts of yeast and the cool rising place.
There's no reason to monitor it closely during the first rise - as
I say, just leave for the day if you feel like it.

I specify hand-kneading because it gives better results and because
you can judge more accurately when you've kneaded it enough. A
KitchenAid makes it difficult to determine the right timing and
can break the gluten with overstretching.

Amazingly, the buns improve greatly by being frozen and defrosted.
The plastic-bag trick keeps the crust from becoming hard and crisp.
So be sure to sack your buns and freeze them. Both texture and
flavor will be superior.


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