Homemade Burgers and Buns


Raise your hand if you love burgers.

Any burgers

Any meat stuffed between two buns

Fine, vegetarian burgers too

I have only one condition, don’t say you like McDonald’s

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I’ve had delicious burgers around town, but as you know, I am a fan of DIYs and homemade goods. When I make thing I want to brag about, I’d rather not take shortcuts in the major elements, or else I’ll come clean, confess and share the shame.

Now let me brag a little. I made burgers. I made the buns, and I made the patties. In fact, mom shaped them. I still take a little distance from touching red meat so I used her hands and help.

Fine I won’t brag about the burgers. I’ll just brag about the buns.

Or nag first. I dislike the common dry sesame covered burger buns. I know many of you do, so did I, remove the insides of the bun’s top half in order to eat less bread or fill it with mayo-drenched coleslaw or cabbage salad. I don’t do that anymore with my buns. My BURGER buns

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I tried this recipe from thekitchn.com a couple of times before. I made a non-dairy variation of it. They were OK, while this time the buns were amazing; slightly crunchy on the outside with soft slightly intertwined insides. They were firm to hold your burger till you’re done yet soft to the bite.

I. LOVED. THEM.

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Back to the meat that I didn’t touch. Ground beef patties season with only salt and pepper shaped into big thick disks filled with buttery smooth brie unfortunately pan grilled instead of chargrilled then finished in the oven. Since now it’s almost summer and BBQ season is already on, fire up the grill and give those burgers the flame they crave. For those who know, it’s not hidden the assembling of the burger is similar to Burger King’s Whopper. Two and a half years of experience assembling Whoppers, and other sandwiches there, had left their mark.

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It’s fascinating I come from a large family of butcherers and I’m not a big fan of meat. For 2 whole years I quit red meat altogether, if we disregard a couple of slips, but decided to get back tempted by mom’s kebab wrapped in thin Lebanese bread with pepper paste, chopped parsley, onions and sumac. My family from my father’s side are all butcherers; my grandma managed the butcher shop after her husband passed away leaving her with 8 children and another on the way. The 7 boys learned the profession and some of them (mainly my father) still practice that. I can barely tolerate touching meat and only until recently I’d touch chicken bare handed.

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In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t have many recipes that have meat. I prefer not using meat. I’m not sure I can go without it forever, it’s a big decision, but I try to stay away as much as possible. I did for a whole week when I took the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge and our regular eating habits at home use meat as an accessory and added-value element to dishes unlike The American Diet that gives meat the spotlight.
A movie I watched recently, Forks Over Knives shed the light on the hideous American Diet with all the meat at the center surrounded by factory-made products crammed with additives, colorants and flavorings and injected with vitamins and minerals. It’s an eye opener.

On the other hand, glorifying the American Diet with foodporn on the big screen, CHEF is a fun feel good movie I enjoyed this week. Give it a try and make sure you have enough napkins. FOR THE DROOL.

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Homemade Brie-Stuffed Burgers with Homemade Buns

Ingredients

Burger Buns

Makes 8 buns (Use the 2 remaining buns for breakfast the next day)

  • 1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup milk (dairy or nut milk)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or non-dairy butter)
Burger Patties

Makes 6 patties

  • 1 kg ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 100 gm brie cheese
  • olive oil
  • Lettuce or Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Mustard

Procedure

  • In a bowl, mix the warm water and yeast and leave it for 5 to 10 min to proof
  • In separate bowl whisk milk, eggs, oil sugar and salt. Add the yeast mixture and stir
  • Add the flour and stir or process in a mixer with the dough hook until a dough forms
  • Knead by hand with little flour for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springs back when poked
  • Cover the bottom of the bowl with a thin layer of olive oil and coat the dough, cover with a plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for at least an hour to rise until it doubles
  • Punch the dough down and on a floured surface divide the dough to 8 pieces and roll into balls
  • Arrange in a baking sheet and let them rise again for 30-40 minutes
  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees
  • Melt the butter and brush the tops of the buns
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden
  • Cool, slice and serve fresh
  • Cut the brie into pieces and set aside
  • Add salt and pepper to the ground beef and mix well
  • Divide into 12 pieces and shape into discs
  • Arrange the brie on top of 6 meat discs, cover with the other 6 discs and seal the edges firmly and shape them to firm round discs
  • Heat a skillet with a few drops of oil and sear the sides of the patties. Be careful not to move the patty before it is well browned otherwise it’ll crumble. Don’t press it either, it’ll lose the juices
  • Either cook the patty completely in the skillet or finish it in the oven for a few minutes till it’s done.
  • Place each ingredient in a plate and serve for your beloved ones to assemble the way they like.

Mine went like: Emmental melted on the hot beef patty, mustard on the top bun with lettuce, tomatoes and raw onions.

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How would you make yours?

What would you like to have in your burger?

8 thoughts on “Homemade Burgers and Buns

  1. Very cool post. I genuinely appreciate when someone makes their own burger from scratch 🙂
    I LOVE the idea of stuffing Brie inside. This, I’ll definitely try!
    About the bread, I’d like to share a couple of things, if I may. One of them is the technique for shaping the dough before proofing (last rising), which you should apply whenever you make small breads (rounded, baguette-like, or even ciabatta). Call it advice from the bread-geekness times when I used to bake bread at home, before having to stop this altogether 😉
    The aim is to achieve a perfect rising and baking, to ensure a good and even finishing of the crust, and a concenttric pattern of “bubbles” inside the crumb, like in good artisan breads. So you should never “roll” the dough into balls to shape it. Instead, you need to work it in a way to turn it into a ball while creating a surface tension (which is the key to a great crust!).
    To do so, after you divide your dough into the desired number of balls (btw, make sure you CUT the dough by pressing a sharp knife, not serrated – never tear your dough pieces to divide it, you’ll loose most of the trapped air you tried to create in the first rising), you want to shape the buns by pulling the dough in a way to stretch the surface on opposite sides and tuck it back underneath. You seal by pinching the bottom. it would look a bit like an inverted bag. This tightening of the skin on top ensures that your bread rises upwards, and not sideways, and yields a delicious even circular crumb on the inside.
    I know it’s a bit abstract to explain. I’ll take a photo of this technique in a book I have (what I used to call my bread-making bible), and will send it to you by email. Believe me, it will improve your breads dramatically!!
    Another thing about the bread, since you usually prefer to make dairy-free food. You DO NOT have to include milk in bread. The recipe would still work provided you keep the same liquid to dry ingredients ratio. if you want to stick to an enriched bread, coconut milk is also a great non-dairy alternative, or you could simply substitute with water for a leaner bread.
    On a health note, I would stay away from (most commercial) vegetable oils, and even further from non-dairy butters. You’re way better off with real butter believe me. Coconut oil would be the best choice if you want a vegan bread (but don’t use is WITH coconut milk, it would be too coconutty!).
    One last comment, and it is about Fork over Knives. It is indeed quite an intense film, but it is in my opinion, somehow biased or incomplete, showing only one angle of the story, backing it up with figures and statistics (too much of them actually). Well, call it the ABC of so-called scientific study, and by extrapolation demagogy… But that’s a different story.
    The film focuses way too much on the animal factor in the American diet, but as you pointed it out, it is surrounded by tons of “factory-made products crammed with additives, colorants and flavorings and injected with vitamins and minerals.” So it is important to understand that, not only people are themselves eating huge amounts of this said crap, but also eating meat from animals being fed that same crap. Which changes everything. Which changes the animal itself, hence its meat.
    So in my opinion, instead of steering away from red meats altogether, you would gain much more in making sure the meat you eat, be it scarce or frequent, has been “produced” properly: in proper farms, where animals eat real (hopefully organic) food, live decently, have their natural cycle and diet respected, minimal supplementations and medication, then the meat is handled properly,…
    And who better than a member of a butchers family to find such information about the meat they eat, find out its source, and access reliable suppliers of animal products? I mean you have access to information that some of us would die to get 🙂
    That being said, I totally understand and share your concern over the food you eat. You’re worried about the meat, well, I invite to worry more about the “all-purpose flour” and sugar (and vegetable oil, and non-dairy butter) you listed in your recipe. People underestimate how toxic such ingredients are, and how often they are on their menu. Look into it, how they’re made and what they do to our body, then add your findings to the equations of the modern diet (it’s not typically American, but unfortunately global), you’ll have a better understanding of the problem, and can make wiser food choices.

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    • I realized that I still haven’t replied to you. Sorry
      I really loved the tip you gave me about the bread, I will try it next time. I had it in mind to be honest as I made a dough last time.
      Food has been changing a lot and habits have too. I hope people realize that food brought up the traditional way is the best. But as long as there is a market for the other nasty products (mainly due to lower costs and the quantity of production) producers won’t stop keeping it coming.
      The non-dairy butter I used is non-hydrogenated and made from oils and soy free, which is a little better. I use it for Mike mainly who can’t have cow milk products.

      Have you noticed the food trends lately? Like now they are asking consumers to get back to butter.

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  2. These burgers look quite delicious! I also make my own buns, and I am afraid there is no going back to the packaged stuff.
    I understand how you feel about red meat (any meat), but I do think it is OK to have it once in a while, if you feel your body needs it. I dislike the word “flexitarian” (I am not sure it exists in English, but it is a fashionable word in French), meaning you only eat meat occasionnally and have a mostly vegetarian diet. I privilege quality over quantity, and buy less meat nowadays, but every now and then, a good meat dish is such a pleasure! And burgers are not just about the meat ; the whole experience is incredible!

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    • Thank you!
      This is the lifestyle I have without any labels or French names 😜
      Lately I’ve been relying on what mom’s cooking at home (it’s normal here that we stay at our parents) but now that she’ll start working I’ll make some effort to get home and cook instead. My repertoire contains more vegetarian recipes with some with chicken and tuna and mostly it’s unprocessed. That’s why the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge in a previous post was more of a meal plan than detox or bizarre food

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  3. i hate the sesame buns too… it’s weird my relation with sesame, I love extra in my zaatar, dislike it on any bread.. haven’t attempted making my own buns yet, but lately I made a lentil veggie burger which I ate between two lettuce leaves.. perfect ( recipe will be up soon).
    Having less meat is always a better idea, but I know I can’t be a full-time vegan or vegetarian. So as you said, I enjoy real meat ( not the ultraprocessed unknown stuff) as a side dish occasionally.

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    • I’m glad to know I’m not alone on this. I prefer the sesame-less buns at any time.
      I’m not eating meat much lately. I don’t really crave it daily but at some points I daydream about that kebab wrapped in bread topped with pepper paste, parsley, onions and sumac mix or a burger. I’ll keep my moto MODERATION
      (I have to apologize once again to my body for stuffing it with lots of not very healthy things)

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