Well, here it is Monday after another weekend has come and gone way too quickly. I can’t complain though, because it was a good weekend. We were able to enjoy some time out in the sunshine before secluding ourselves indoors for a Mad Men marathon in anticipation of the big season premiere. And we fired up the grill for burgers for the first time this season.
The first burgers of the season deserve their own homemade rolls, don’t you think?
These rolls are super simple to throw together a couple hours before burger time. You can dress them up to look fancy by sprinkling the tops with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or (my favorite) minced onions. But they are delicious left alone, too.
The best part is that they can handle all the toppings that put a burger over-the-top without being too dense.
yields 6 4-oz. rolls, plus one smaller roll for quality control testing
• 1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
• 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
• 1 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 to 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
• Seeds or dehydrated minced onions for toppings, optional
1. The first step is to activate the yeast by combining it with milk and water that has been warmed to 105-115 degrees. I think the milk is a little tricky to get warm without letting it shoot up to 130 degrees. To get around this, microwave the milk alone in a glass measuring cup for 45 seconds to a minute. Check the temperature, and if it’s too warm, you can bring it down by adding cooler water. If you don’t have a thermometer, test a couple drops on the inside of your wrist. It should be quite warm but not hot. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture, and stir to combine. After a few minutes, it will bubble and foam.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 ½ cups of the flour with the yeast mixture, oil, and salt. Stir until it all comes together. Stir in another 1 ½ cups flour and start mixing with the dough hook, giving it time to come together again and start to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If after a couple minutes of mixing, it is not pulling away, add up to ¼ cup flour, one tablespoon at a time. Don’t be tempted to add too much flour. You want just enough that it won’t stick too much to the work surface. Let the mixer run with the dough hook a total of 7-9 minutes, so that the dough is smooth and elastic.
3. Dump the dough into an oiled bowl, and turn it so that the entire surface is coated. Cover with a towel and let it rise until doubled, about one hour.
4. Dump the dough onto a lightly oiled surface or silicone mat. Divide it into 4-ounce pieces. If you’re not weighing the dough, divide it roughly in half, then each half into thirds. Shape each piece into a ball and place on a parchment lined sheet, and then flatten into disks. You want the disks to be about an inch apart, so they grow together as they rise. Cover and let rise about 45 minutes.
5. Fifteen minutes before you’re ready to bake the rolls, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the egg wash by whisking the egg white and water. Just before baking, brush the tops of the rolls lightly with the wash and sprinkle with any combination of seeds and or onions.
6. After placing the pan in the oven, immediately decrease the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake 15-18 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. The internal temperature will be 190 degrees. Immediately remove the rolls to a wire rack to cool.
• Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, which was adapted from Annie’s Eats.
• To top with optional minced onions, dehydrated minced onions work great. Soak a couple tablespoons in hot water while the shaped rolls are rising. After about 30 minutes, strain through a sieve and spread out on a paper towel to dry.
• To freeze the rolls, wrap individually and store in an airtight plastic bag.