Hamburger Buns

Summer means barbecue season, barbecue season means burgers, and burgers means an excuse to make homemade burger buns! See what I did there? Chain of thinking. It’s a beautiful thing.

Despite the fact that I don’t really need a reason to bake anything, because Paul just accepts it and loves me anyways, one of his specialties is burgers. I’ve been playing around with recipes for hamburger buns for years, but none of them have ever been great. I’ve turned my soft pretzel recipe into buns, but as good as they are, they never seem to rise enough for me. I’ve used other recipes, but they also seem to fall flat. (Hah! I’m on fire today! My pun game is strong! Sorry…)

I came across this recipe, and I had to check it out. It’s originally from Allrecipes, but when a recipe says that almost a thousand people have tried it, and the review counter is a few hundred in the positives, AND every picture included from people who have also made these buns look incredible, I figured I was on to something.

Sure enough, I was. These buns are awesome, and can hold up well to a homemade hamburger. Give these buns a shot!

Ingredients

Yield: 8 buns

2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
3½ c. flour, divided
1 c. water, at 105°F
1 egg
3 tbsp. butter, melted
3 tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. milk, for garnish
Sesame seed, for garnish (optional)

In the bowl of a mixer, place the yeast. Whisk in ½ c. flour and the water, and let sit 10-15 minutes until foamy.

Whisk in the egg, butter, sugar, and salt until evenly incorporated. Switch to a dough hook, and add the remaining flour. Knead the dough on low speed 5-6 minutes, until soft, sticky, and cohesive.

The dough should be sticky and elastic, but not stick to your fingers. Once the dough has reached this consistency, take the dough out of the mixer bowl, oil the bowl, and form the dough into a smooth, round ball, kneading a bit more if necessary. Place the dough back into the oiled bowl, and turn to coat evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to double in size, about 2 hours.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat out to deflate. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces, then form into a round ball, tucking the ends underneath.

Pat the dough balls into rounds about a ½ inch thick. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the dough balls a ½ inch apart on the baking tray. Dust buns very lightly with flour, and cover lightly with plastic wrap (this does not need to be a tight seal). Let buns rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Beat the egg and milk together. Very gently, brush the egg wash over the buns, being careful not to deflate them. Sprinkle each bun with sesame seeds, if using.

Bake in the preheated oven until light golden brown on top, about 15-17 minutes. Buns will have stuck together if they were touching. This is fine. Let the buns cool completely, then tear apart and cut in half to serve.

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Sweet Cornbread

I’m from Canada, not the Southern States, but I still appreciate some good, classic Southern recipes. Cornbread is one of those items. I first realized how much I liked cornbread when I worked for a Canadian restaurant chain years ago.

Cornbread was a staple for many of the dishes served at this restaurant, and because my mother had never made it when I was younger, I was unaware how awesome it is.

I know there is a debate between the sweet and savoury cornbread lovers, and I have to say, as controversial as this statement may be, I am firmly in the sweet cornbread camp. Corn pieces in my cornbread? I can take them or leave them. But give me sweet cornbread over savoury. If you have a savoury recipe that you prefer, please, let me know, and I’ll try it. I’m all for fair chances!

The cornbread recipe I used I found here, and it makes A LOT of cornbread – a full 9 x 13 pan, so make some Southern staples, like chili or ribs, and prepare to feast!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 x 13 pan

1 c. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. buttermilk (or milk with 1 tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice)
½ tsp. vanilla
2 c. fine ground corn meal
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper or lightly grease with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs and mix well. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla, and combine until smooth.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the corn meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture, and fold together until all flour is moistened (it’s okay if the batter is a bit lumpy).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean.

Let cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Store in an airtight container, and reheat for 10-15 seconds in the microwave.

**If you like your cornbread a little sweeter, you can add up to a ½ cup more of sugar. Any more than that, and the cornbread becomes more of a corn cake instead of cornbread.**

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

I know what you’re thinking! The first reaction to sourdough cinnamon rolls is “Ugh! I don’t think that goes well together!”. I thought the exact same thing, but the more I thought about it, the more I came around. I mean, I’ve used my sourdough starter in cakes before. Why couldn’t it work for cinnamon rolls?

This recipe was also very easy. I started these rolls at about 4pm on a Saturday. I followed all instructions, and let the second rise happen overnight. When I woke up Sunday morning, the dough had risen beautifully and was ready and waiting to be rolled out and filled with gooey cinnamon filling.

Like I said, this recipe was very easy. I also found the recipe off of Pinterest, and they have wonderful options, so I was excited! The original recipe is found here. It wasn’t that time consuming, and the results were beautiful! I’d say that’s a win-win situation!

Holy man these were good! The sourdough becomes very subtle, but definitely adds something to the dough. The slight tang of the sourdough with the sweetness of the cinnamon and the the sugar? Oh yes. These are AWESOME!

Considering I’m always on the lookout for new ways to use my sourdough starter, I’d say this is a solid choice. I’ve been making tons of sourdough crackers lately (link here), and I wanted to change it up a bit. I mean, I love to snack on those freakin’ addictive crackers, but I wanted to satisfy my sweet tooth, and did I ever!

Ingredients

Yield: 16-24 cinnamon rolls, depending on how big you cut them

For the dough:

1 c. sourdough starter
1 tsp. salt
½ c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
¼ c. warm milk
1 tsp. yeast
3-4 c. flour

For the filling:

5 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
½ c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

For the frosting:

1 c. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk

To make the dough, add the sourdough starter, salt, butter, sugar and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Combine.

Add yeast to the warm milk, mix in and allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy. Once foamy, add the milk and yeast mixture to the starter mix. Combine again.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour, 1 cup at a time (when you get to 3 cups, add a small amount at a time. Mine only took about 3 1/3 cups of flour). Dough should be in a soft ball, that is not sticky.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled bowl and allow to rise until doubled (2-3 hours).

Punch down, and allow to rise again (I let the second rise happen overnight).

Punch down again, turn out onto your work surface and with a rolling pin roll out into a large rectangle.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, mix the filling ingredients until smooth and cohesive. Spread over the dough evenly.

Roll the long side of the rectangle tightly, and keep rolling until the dough is a log. Using plain, unflavoured dental floss, cut the dough into 1-inch sections. Place in pie plates, and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly golden brown.

In a small bowl, whisk together the frosting ingredients until smooth. Drizzle the frosting over the cinnamon rolls. Serve warm.

Sourdough Burger Buns


I have been looking for so long for a good sourdough bun! I actually used these as the bun for a homemade beef dip that I made when Paul was working one night, but I was so happy with how these turned out!

I was able to use my starter right out of the fridge (bonus!!), and these buns were so good right out of the oven and slathered with butter (one of my favourite ways to eat a bun/my guilty pleasure bread confession… warm bun with melted butter? I’m there).

These buns also didn’t take that long to make. I was worried, because I had decided to make buns after the meat was cooking (I also cooked it from frozen though), and wasn’t sure what would take longer – the buns to rise and cook, or the frozen meat to cook to tender and done in the oven. Turns out, the buns took slightly longer, but not by much.

I found the original recipe here, and the only thing I modified was to add a teaspoon of active dry yeast. I wasn’t sure, like I said, if the buns would rise in time with just the starter, so I wanted to help the buns along. I changed this in the recipe below.

Ingredients

Yield: 8 buns

2 c. sourdough starter, fed or unfed
3 tbsp. butter
½ c. milk, lukewarm
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. active dry yeast
3 c. flour

In a mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the sourdough starter, butter, milk, eggs, salt, sugar and yeast. Stir together. Add flour, and mix until a cohesive dough forms. If the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour. If it is very dry, add a tablespoon or so of water until the dough becomes smooth and satiny.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Once risen, form the dough into tennis-ball sized buns, making sure to pinch closed any seams to make the buns as seamless as possible. (If you want, you can roll out the dough and cut rounds with a 4 inch cookie cutter and then do the rise.)

Place buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

If you want, you can give the buns an egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Homemade Pizza Crust


Now, I know that pizza crust isn’t a dessert. I have been mostly sticking to desserts on the blog, with the occasional savoury bread product. Now, there’s nothing wrong with desserts and bread, but pizza crust IS a bread product, and there is nothing like homemade pizza crust.

Cooked properly, and on a proper pizza stone, homemade pizza crust is the bomb. Fluffy, crispy on the bottom, browned nicely on the bottom and on the edges, this recipe isn’t too bread-like, but also isn’t too thin that you can’t enjoy it properly.

I have made pizza crust multiple times, and this recipe is awesome. Firstly, it makes enough for 2 pizzas. Secondly, it freezes beautifully. I actually doubled the recipe, so we were able to make one pizza, then freeze the other three portions to make pizza again.

When you make homemade pizza, as Annie says, be sure that you use a pizza stone. It makes homemade pizza that much better. If you use a pizza stone, however, you have to baby that thing! It must be placed in a cold oven, and preheated with the oven. Don’t EVER put a cold pizza stone in a hot oven – that’s how you crack and break it. Also, you have to let it cool completely in and with the oven. It may stay hot long after the oven, and what I usually do is leave the pizza stone in until the next morning, until I know it’s cool, then take it out of the oven and put it away.

Trust me – but trust Annie – she knows her stuff. In the post I linked you to she also includes a bunch of tips and tricks for pizza making.

P.S. Doesn’t that homemade pulled pork pizza look incredible?!?! Crust from scratch, Paul’s homemade pulled pork, a BBQ sauce base, with bacon and tons of cheese. Man, that pizza hit the spot!

Ingredients

Yield: Enough pizza crust for 2 medium pizzas or 4 calzones

½ c. warm water
2¼ tsp. yeast
4 c. (22 oz.) flour
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ c. water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. olive oil

In a liquid measuring cup, add the warm water, and sprinkle the yeast on top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour and salt. Measure the room temperature water into the liquid measuring cup with the warm water and the yeast. With the mixer on low, pour in the water/yeast mixture and the olive oil. Mix until cohesive, then switch to a dough hook and mix until the dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1½ – 2 hours.

After the rise, press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, and form each piece into a smooth, round ball.

If you are freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. If you are using the dough, cover with a damp cloth and let the dough relax for 10-30 minutes.

As soon as the dough is relaxing, place a pizza stone in a cold oven and preheat oven to 500°F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface (I use a cutting board with parchment paper) and shape lightly with floured hands. Brush the outer edge with olive oil, and top the pizza as desired. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling, 8-15 minutes.