Our fridge is jam packed with produce from a recent CSA basket pick up. I have lettuce heads so large they are taking up the entire bottom shelf and beets and their greens poking out their cramped heads from the crisper drawer. This abundance is what sparks creativity in me. As someone who thinks about food consistently, I enjoy the challenge of using what I have to make something different, despite there being swiss chard in EVERY.SINGLE.BASKET throughout the year. Hugh on the other hand sees chaos, not food. To use up some of my loot, and to prove there are, in fact, meals in there, we made some bahn mi style burgers (tofu or turkey as you choose). A tender homemade bun with dressed cucumbers, shaved carrots, cilantro and avocado. I regret I don't have a picture of that to share with you, but the recipe for the buns is not to be missed.
If you want a successful recipe, Deb is your lady. Something tells me you're probably not a stranger to her site. If her dependable recipes and clean photos don't intrigue you, her wit and dry humor are sure to keep you coming back. There are rave reviews of the burger buns she featured and if there is anyone to be trusted, it is her. I tried to add some grains to them without risking a rock of a bun, and I think we did pretty well (you can find the original on her site). They have a bit of the heartiness that whole wheat products have, while still being gentle and delicate in structure. They make an ideal vehicle for a veggie burger, grilled salmon sandwich with greens and aioli or whatever you wish. Much like making pizza dough, it is a simple process, it's just the waiting time between rises that takes some planning ahead. Maybe it is not a quick weeknight endeavor, but there is no comparison to the storebought kind, and another bbq weekend is just around the corner.
WHEAT BRIOCHE BUNS // Makes 8 buns
This recipe below reflects the amounts for 8 buns, though the pictures show I did make four. If you only want four, simply halve the amounts below. I meantion it in the direction, but it bears repeating. Form the final buns into a more height focused ball than a wider one, they spread during that second rise and I found mine to be flatter than I'd have hoped.
3 Tbsp. warm milk
2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 1/2 Tbsp. natural cane sugar
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
sesame seeds, for topping
In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. In a small bowl, beat one egg.
In another large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, just turn and fold and tustle it around, until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but the more flour you add, the tougher the buns will get. Let it stay a bit tacky.
Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with a dish cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball (a taller ball, not a flat one, they flaten and spread on their own as they rise) and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with the dish cloth and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.
Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Keep buns in an airtight container. Should last about 3 days, getting firmer as days pass.