16 September 2011
Homemade hamburger buns are the only way to go! With apologies to all the commercial bakeries out there, I have yet to find a store-bought hamburger bun worth eating. I was certainly not going to waste top-quality, grass-fed organic beef on a lackluster commercial bun.
I developed my recipe a few years ago after having another bad bun. That bun, like all the others, had no flavor at all and mooshed into a soggy mess from the slightest moisture. Wanting a flavorful bun that, while soft, can hold up to the heat and moisture of the meat, I set to work and came up with this recipe that is so easy to make, you may never buy another commercial bun.
Chatting with Rod of Rocky Mountain Organic Meats gave me the idea of having a Burger Throwdown, pitting his grass-fed organic ground beef against the best conventional ground-in-the-store ground beef available in a chain supermarket. We've had the Rocky Mountain Organic Meats before, and even my husband (who hasn't always been as tuned-in to all this as I am) immediately tasted the difference. So I wanted to see if other people would as well.
I don't mind telling you I was a bit nervous. After all, Rod was sending me this meat and I really hoped the taste test would turn out in his favor. But I was going to conduct the test impartially and, no matter how it turned out, report my true findings to my readers.
The Rocky Mountain Organic Meats ground beef arrived frozen, of course, and I thawed it in the refrigerator. Then I went to a popular chain supermarket and asked the butcher for their best ground-on-the-premises ground beef. I shaped the patties, seasoned them identically, cooked them in identical pans for the same length of time and did a blind taste test; only I knew which freshly made patties were which. All I told the tasters was that I wanted to get their opinions on two different kinds of ground beef, calling the conventional Number One and the grass-fed organic Number Two.
Amazingly, the results were unanimous! All six tasters were wowed by the grass-fed organic ground beef. Two tasters actually said "Wow!" in unison. One said "I thought the first one tasted good, but the second one was just so much more flavorful." Another taster described it as "beefier," while yet another declared it "steak-like." And one just said "Wow! The second it hit my mouth, it was just Wow!" They were all really surprised that there was such a difference.
But even more important than mere taste, all Rocky Mountain Organic Meats are 100% grass-fed, grass-finished and certified organic. No hormones. No antibiotics. No grain. No GMO feed. No irradiation. No feedlots where deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria thrive. Passionate about sustainable and organic agriculture and livestock production, Rod is dedicated to environmentally friendly agriculture practices, healthy land stewardship and--most important to me--the ethical treatment of animals. The animals are allowed to roam free and are treated humanely.
Please leave a comment below. I really want to hear from you about this!
24-Hour Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns
2 1/2 packed cups (12.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 cup water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1 In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt. With dough whisk or large wooden spoon, stir 3/4 cup water, beaten egg and oil or melted butter into flour mixture until blended. Add up to 1/4 cup more water, as needed. The dough will be very sticky. Cover with lid or plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to three days.
2 On the day the buns will be served, remove dough from refrigerator. On lightly floured surface, knead gently for a minute or two. Divide dough into 8 3-ounce pieces.
3 For hamburger buns: Roll each into a smooth ball, place on greased baking sheet and flatten gently into a 3 1/2-inch disk. For hot dog buns: Roll each into a 5-inch-long cylinder, place on greased baking sheet and flatten slightly.
4 Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour. During last 15 or 20 minutes (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 400 degrees.
5 Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove buns from baking sheet and place on wire rack to cool.