If you are gearing up for lots of barbecuing this summer, you may be looking for ways to cook from scratch and to add a homemade touch. One way to add more flavor to your meal is to bake your own hamburger buns--also known as "Kaiser buns" or "Vienna rolls." These buns are a good option because many of the ingredients are probably staples in your kitchen already--such as eggs, yeast, sugar, and all-purpose flour. After you find an appealing recipe online or in a cookbook, keep the following tips in mind for the best results.
Don't Over- or Under-knead the Dough
Kneading the hamburger buns is vital to working the gluten into the flour and making it ready for baking. But hitting the sweet spot with kneading can be difficult. If your dough is droopy or gummy, you haven't kneaded it enough; if it is too hard and compact, you've overdone it. While kneading time varies a little between flour type and recipe, Global Post says that you should knead for about 10 minutes. Your finished product should be elastic and smooth. After kneading for 10 minutes, test a small area of your dough by stretching it into a thin membrane. If it breaks instead of stretching, you could knead a little longer.
Avoid Using Too Much Flour
As you knead your dough, you'll be adding flour incrementally. The pitfall of this step is adding too much; it's a sure-fire way to turn your light, fluffy buns into too-hard loaves. However, one site has a good remedy for this issue. Instead of dumping an inordinate amount of flour on your cutting board, put flour in a shallow bowl and dip your palms into it. That way, you will have just enough flour to knead dough that is sticky, but if you need more flour, you won't risk adding too much.
Add Seeds at the Right Time
While other baked goods may call for seeds, nuts, and other fixings to be added within the batter, you'll want to add poppy or sesame seeds later in your recipe steps. After the kaiser buns are formed, whip a 1-to-1 mixture of egg whites and water. Dip a pastry brush into the mixture and brush it onto the dough balls in a pan. This mixture will help the seeds adhere to the tops of the buns as they rise.
Don't Forget to Create a Flourish
While store-bought hamburger buns are fairly plain, the benefit of homebaked goods is that you can play around with presentation. While kaiser buns where thought to be named after Kaiser Franz Joseph of Austria, they also get their name from their tops' superficial cuts resembling a crown. After you have let the buns rise and have covered them with seeds, use cooking shears or a serrated knife and cut a cross about a quarter of an inch into the tops. You can also be ornate with the tops of the rolls by wrapping them into a granny knot (this step would have to come at the beginning of the baking process). After creating a knot, take the free ends of the dough and wrap them around the knot to get a bracelet-like shape. While these steps won't make your buns taste better or worse, part of the fun of baking is the craftsmanship--so enjoy showing off your baked goods at your next barbecue!
For more help, contact a company like Klosterman Baking Company.