Round these parts, we don’t eat a lot of white bread—it’s a leftover from my Weight Watchers era, back when the Fat & Fiber plan was helping me to lose 100 pounds. The goal each day was to eat no more than xx grams of fat and at least yy grams of fiber. (I don’t include actual numbers because I no longer remember what they are. Maybe that’s why I’m 20 lbs heavier than I’d like to be.) Anyhoosie, whole grains are a wonderful source of fiber, so I learned to love them lo these many years ago.
Fast-forward to yesterday. I’d planned burgers for dinner, and thought I’d just pick up some whole wheat buns. Who knew it would be so difficult to find them? Labor Day weekend, the 4th of July, sure, you’d expect a run on buns, but mid-November? I was left with no other choice but to make my own. OK, I could’ve bought white buns, but there’s a principle involved here.
The first place I lookedultimately provided the winning recipe, though I did my due diligence online and in other cookbooks. This recipe didn’t call for whole wheat flour, so I just swapped out half the white. The dough came together in a snap, and thanks to my Kitchenaid mixer I didn’t even have to knead. And the end result was pretty darn perfect: Soft, ever so slightly squishy, faintly sweet, and substantial enough to withstand whatever condiments you want to throw at it.
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion
Makes 8 buns
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, room temp
1 large egg
1½ cups whole wheat flour
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, then knead until dough is soft and smooth. (If you’re using a stand mixer, use the paddle to mix and the dough hook to knead.) Place dough in a lightly greased bowl (I use cooking spray), cover, and let rise for 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces (either weigh it or eyeball: halve it, then halve each half, then halve each quarter). Shape each into a flattened ball—bring the corners into the center and pinch together, then turn it seam-side down and, cupping it gently underneath your hand, roll it in small circles on an unfloured, ungreased surface—you need the friction to help make them round. Place on a greased baking sheet (or use a Silpat baking mat). Cover and let rise 30-40 minutes, until they’re downright puffy.
Preheat oven to 375. Bake buns for 12-15 minutes, until they’re golden brown (mine took 14). Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.