May 4, 2019

Potato Burger Buns

After being away from home for a while the first thing I wanted to do was bake, but what to make?  Overindulging in European sweets and pastries the last few weeks had me craving something savory.  While browsing through the May/June 2019 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine it was the recipe for Sloppy Joes that caught my eye.  But it was the idea of making Potato Burger Buns from scratch that got me excited.   Now I know that many of you may be asking, "why bother making the buns when you can easily buy them?" But to that I say, "why ever not?

If you've made bread rolls before then this recipe will be child's play for you.  If you've new to bread making I still stand by my belief that it's not as hard as you might think.  The most challenging step is to mash some boiled potatoes and that's not hard at all!

After tasting the soft and tender homemade burger buns I don't know that I'll be buying them from the store any longer, especially since they were so so simple to make.  In fact, I think I'll make another batch to keep in my freezer.  You never know when you might get a craving for a hamburger.

Potato Burger Buns

Makes 9 buns

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups (12 1/3 ounces) bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant or rapid rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, 1 lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional) 

Place potatoes in medium saucepan and add water to just cover. Bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer 5 tablespoons potato water to bowl to cool; drain potatoes. Return potatoes to saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, shaking pot occasionally, until any surface moisture has evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Process potatoes through ricer or food mill or mash well with potato masher. Measure 1 very firmly packed cup potatoes and transfer to bowl. Reserve any remaining potatoes for another use. Stir in butter until melted.

Combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in bowl of stand mixer. Add warm potato mixture to flour mixture and mix with hands until combined (some large lumps are OK). Add 1 egg and reserved potato water; mix with dough hook on low speed until dough is soft and slightly sticky, 8 to 10 minutes.

Shape dough into ball and place in lightly greased container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, 30 to 40 minutes.

Turn out dough onto counter, dusting with flour only if dough is too sticky to handle comfortably. Pat gently into 8-inch square of even thickness. Using bench knife or chef’s knife, cut dough into 9 pieces (3 rows by 3 rows). Separate pieces and cover loosely with plastic.

Working with 1 piece of dough at a time and keeping remaining pieces covered, form dough pieces into smooth, taut rounds. (To round, set piece of dough on unfloured work surface. Loosely cup hand around dough and, without applying pressure to dough, move hand in small circular motions. Tackiness of dough against work surface and circular motion should work dough into smooth, even ball, but if dough sticks to hands, lightly dust fingers with flour.) Cover rounds with plastic and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, firmly press each dough round into 3 1/2-inch disk of even thickness, expelling large pockets of air. Arrange on prepared baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes. While rolls rise, adjust oven racks to middle and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 425 degrees.

Brush rolls gently with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake rolls until deep golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating and switching baking sheets halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer rolls from baking sheets to wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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