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It's Grilling Season! Homemade Sesame Seed Buns

In Boston, we were a part of something I dearly loved and miss every day - a meat share program through Chestnut Farms.  Each month we picked up a cooler full of delicious, farm-raised meat.  Opening the cooler was like opening a box from under the Christmas tree - half the fun of the meat share cooler was the surprise of what you received.  In addition to the usual cuts of chicken, beef, and pork, sometimes you'd open the cooler to find get a package of breakfast sausages or maple-glazed bacon... and the next month you might get goat.

There certainly are meat shares that I could join in Colorado, but instead we started a new tradition.  My parent's have friends who own and run a ranch and we purchase a steer each year that we share with a few other friends.  As of last week, my freezer is overloaded with 70 pounds of various cuts of beef.  Each is nicely labeled with the cut of meat and we are particularly flush with ground beef which is great as we head into grilling season.   

We hosted friends for dinner on Saturday night and I wrote to say that we "have a freezer full of beef" and that we'd grill hamburgers for dinner.  I didn't provide any context, which was clearly a mistake... I left our friend M wondering if we were just weird meat hoarders or just addicted to red meat.  As I was prepping food for dinner, I realized we didn't have any hamburger buns.  It was raining and grey and I just couldn't motivate to go to the store... so I made them instead!

There is something so satisfying about baking bread.  These simple ingredients come together to form something magnificent!  I suspect you have everything you need to whip up these buns in your pantry and refrigerator (and if you don't have sesame seeds, just omit them - most fell off the buns anyway).  Even better, I love making things at home that you normally buy at the store (e.g., mascarpone cheese, ricotta, graham crackers).  That reminds me that I read about a cookbook entitled The Homemade Pantry: 101 Food You can Stop Buying and Start Making.  Does anyone have this cookbook?  It has been added to my wish list...

Note that when you make these, you need to allow five hours from when you start the buns to when you want to eat them.  There is very little active time, but they need to rise twice.

Homemade Sesame Seed Buns
Yield = 12 buns
Recipe from Issue #122 of Saveur 

1  1⁄4-oz. package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 1⁄3 cups milk, heated to 115°
1 1⁄2 tsp. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
4 cups flour
1 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2" cubes, softened
Canola oil, for greasing
3 tsp. sesame seeds

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle, stir together yeast, milk, and 1 1⁄2 tsp. sugar; let foam.  Stir in remaining sugar, flour, salt, and egg.  Mix on low speed until dough forms. Replace paddle with dough hook; add butter; knead on medium-high speed until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 8 minutes.  Transfer dough to an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap.  Let rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Heat oven to 400°.  Divide dough into 12 portions; shape each into a tight ball.  Place balls on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet.  Lightly brush balls with oil; cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 1⁄2 hours. 

Uncover dough and, using a spray bottle filled with water, moisten dough; sprinkle each ball with 1⁄4 tsp. sesame seeds, being careful not to deflate the buns.  Bake, rotating once, until golden brown, 18–20 minutes.  Let cool.

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Reader Comments (6)

Darcy, we are on the same wavelength! There is nothing better than homemade bread, and there is nothing better than having a freezer full of local, organic, humanely raised meat on hand. I love not having to think about buying meat at the grocery store. These buns look scrumptious!

May 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterali

The buns are great, Ali! So simple and good -- Rob pointed out that they aren't that different from what you get at the store (although I think they are much prettier and obviously fresher) - but I think that is the point. You can make them yourself and then you don't have to buy them at the store!

May 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

it's burger bun day!!! love it, just in time for gilling season. I wish I had a freezer full of meat. Hmm....I wonder if I can buy a Swiss cow., although the Swiss don't even like Swiss cows, they like American cows. Swiss cows for milk and American cows to eat. Can't wait to try these if only Zach would stop being lazy and go refill the gas tank (for somer reason that is totally a husband job, like taking out the trash). HAVE FUN IN BERLIN!!!!!

May 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertalley

Talley, what is wrong with the Swiss cow? I had no idea American cows were preferred. I'll trade you some Swiss milk (and butter) for some American beef. I feel the same way about the gas tank - totally a man's job! The countdown is on to Berlin... I can't wait ;)

May 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

Darcy I just looked at your post about the buns and reheating them. Next time you do something like that, meaning reheating something from the freezer or fridge, try a quick pass under running water and then reheat. It drives the water into the bread. It is then steaming inside when opened. Tastes like fresh.

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterToby

Toby, what an awesome tip - thank you SO much! I will definitely try that the next time I am reheating a bread product from the freezer. Thank you!

June 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

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