Fun Hamburger Bun Recipe!

If you know me at all you know I love to bake bread.  If you don't know me, well I'll tell you, I love to bake bread!  Not just sandwich or artisan bread either.  I make my own English muffins.  Did you know one of the top brands actually sprays their muffins with antibiotics after they are baked as a preservative?  Who wants to eat that?

I also make my own hamburger buns.  This took a bit of trial and error.  I had a recipe that was decent but they were, to put it mildly, a hearty bun.  I really prefer a softer hamburger bun so I was thrilled when I found a great recipe for soft hamburger buns.  I've "perfected" this one now and it's a staple in our house.  Are these pretty or what?

They are delicious.  I don't just use them for hamburgers.  I'll heat them up in the oven and use them as a bread side for pasta and I've even been known to just butter them up and eat them that way.  I am a bread-a-holic.

So when Kim Ode from the Star Tribune posted a recipe for Dutch Crunch Buns in the Facebook group Baking 101, well I just had to try them didn't I? 

Here is a link to the recipe:
Dutch Crunch Buns

This recipe called for "instant potato flakes."  I can honestly say I have never used instant potato flakes before.  I'm not sure what the potato flakes add to the dough.  I didn't find much after a little Googling either (though I'll admit to just a little Googling).  If you know the answer I'd love to know!

The other unique thing to these buns is the rice flour "wash" that creates the unique crackled top that is really crunchy (and delicious as it turns out).  But I'll get to that.

The dough was pretty simple, mix all the ingredients, knead for just a couple minutes and you get this beautiful soft dough.

After a  couple hours in an oiled bowl the dough is ready to be shaped.  I made 12 buns out of the batch and they turned out the perfect size for hamburgers.  Typically I would put all 12 on the same pan.  I don't mind if mine touch.  But the recipe said to use two pans and the first time I make anything I follow the recipe.  Next time, one pan.

After another hour or so, I think I let them go an hour and a half, I had nicely risen buns.

The next step is to add the Dutch crunch coating.  This is a mixture of rice flour, water, oil, yeast, sugar and a little salt.  The coating is thick.  Per Kim it should be the consistency of frosting.  After it sits for about 15 minutes it puffs up a little too.

The directions say to apply the coating liberally, like you are "frosting a cinnamon roll" and to use either a brush or a spoon.  Since the coating was the consistency of frosting, I thought maybe an off-set spatula might be the way to go, but I tried the brush first.  Nope.  Didn't like how it pulled at the dough.  I didn't want my buns completely deflated!  The  off-set spatula seemed to work better for me.

Once they are all coated they get a little rest before going in the oven.

Because I had two pans they were rotated half way through baking.  This is what they looked like at the half way point.  Yay!  They were crackling!

After the allotted time in the oven they weren't all very brown so I gave them a couple more minutes.  I checked the temperature and they were 200F in the middle so they were baked and mostly browned (just not as pretty as the pictures in the recipe!).  The bottoms were done perfectly!

Of course we had to have burgers for dinner!  We only eat Butternut Woods Farms grass fed Highland beef at our house.  It's the best!  I topped mine with some three chili pepper Gouda from Roth and served it with a side of curried couscous and some asparagus we picked up just that morning at the St. Paul Farmer's Market.  Finished the asparagus with a dollop of wild ramp butter we picked up at The Golden Fig and dinner was served!  But enough about the fillings and the sides, how was the bun?  It was good!  It was really good.  There was a nice crunch on the top but the bun was very soft inside.  They tasted great too.  They were fun!

The crunch does only last the first day but we found them just as delicious the next day for breakfast, toasted with some eggs, ham and cheese!


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