This post is brought to you by Woolworths Gold
The perfect hamburger is made up of a soft, fresh bun filled with a juicy, meaty patty made with quality beef and your favourite sauce and salad. Glossy topped, sesame seed sprinkled milk buns are perfect for the task as they have a soft texture from the method using "Tangzhong" or water roux. This allows the buns to be downy soft and stay fresh for longer. I paired these with Woolworths award winning Gold Angus Beef Burgers and Woolworths Gold Wagyu Beef Burgers, salad and sauce.
Most of my conversation with friends revolves around food and I was talking to my friends Nick and Belinda about burgers. You may have already read about Nick, the single man on the prowl. Many viewers of the Wolf of Wall Street saw the movie as a cautionary tale warning of what can go wrong with too much money and power take influence on a group of people. Not my friend Nick. He saw it as a "how-to" guide on how to live life...
After watching the movie, he started calling himself "The Wolf" at his workplace. Alas, the name didn't really stick. In truth, he isn't so much a Jordan Belfort, more a guy with aspirations to be a Playboy. He is the guy that pictures of expensive cars in an effort to pretend that they are is. He means well (I find myself repeatedly saying) and he is terrific fun and comes out with some great lines.
We were talking about burger buns as I was telling them what I was making the next day. "I like my buns gentle and soft," he said making a soft caress motion with his hands. We all gave him a ferocious side eye including Mr NQN. He was actually talking about burger buns although you wouldn't know it.
The case for a good hamburger must surely start with the bun. And I will contend that nobody does better burgers than Americans. When we went on our road trip, we were simply dazzled by the burgers there - have you tried a burger with corn chips in it? No? Do it, because it gives burgers an amazing crunch. Anyway, the one thing that they all had in common was a soft topped bun. Some places here do crusty buns and they are my least favourite. Not only do they scrape your upper palate but they just make the whole thing tough and throw out the soft, texture of a great burger. So I decided to make my own.
I realise that buying the buns is a lot easier but I was going to cheat with the filling. I was going to use some Woolworths Gold award winning burger patties. There are two kinds: a 350 day Grain Fed Wagyu Beef Burger that has an intriguing blend of native herbs and spices in it. The other one is a Grass Fed Angus Beef Burger with sweet caramelised onion. They're both coarsely ground burgers and large, thick patties made with Australian beef and both won awards at the Product of the Year Awards 2015 in the Fresh Meat category.
The buns that I have based the hamburger buns are what a lot of burger places here in Sydney are using: the milk bun that is downy soft and slightly sweet and rich without having the extravagance of a brioche bun (that quite honestly seems to polarise people). They're soft and glossy buns that smoosh down well (I'm sure smoosh is a term bandied about in the burger world). The key to milk buns is the Tangzhong, a water roux originated in Japan to allow the dough to remain moist as well as keep a downy texture and keep it fresh for a few days.
The burger patties are easy to cook. You cook them on low heat for 8-10 minutes each side as they're thick but juicy. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two as they look very similar once cooked but I really liked the native mountain pepper leaf in the wagyu burger while Mr NQN preferred the simplicity of the Angus burger with caramelised onions and roasted garlic. Better still, the friendly people at Woolworths are giving one reader the chance to win a Woolworths Gold voucher to the value of $100 as a prize for one reader who likes and shares a picture of this burger on Instagram using the hashtag #WoolworthsGold and #whatsfordinner! The competition ends on the 4th of March, 2015 and is open to readers in Australia.
ETA: The winner is Kylie T. of NSW!!
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your perfect burger like? What is the bun like and what does the filling consist of? Are you a fan of brioche buns for burgers? And would you prefer grass fed Angus or Wagyu beef for your patty?
Hamburger Milk Buns
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella
Preparation time: 25 minutes plus proofing time of about 1.5 hours
Cooking time: 25 minutes
- 38g/1.34ozs. bread flour
- 190ml/6.7 fl ozs. water
- 2.5 cups/312g bread flour
- 75g/2.65 ozs. white sugar
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup softened butter, cut into cubes
- 1-2 tablespoons of oil for the bowl
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Step 1 - In a small saucepan over medium heat whisk the smaller amount of bread flour and the water and whisk until it becomes a smooth paste (if you want to get technical, heat it until it reaches 65°C/149°F). Cool until it reaches room temperature. This is called the "Tang Zhong" which is a water roux paste. You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate it but let it come to room temperature.
Step 2 - Place the larger amount of bread flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and add the sugar and yeast (but not salt yet, salt can inhibit yeast development at this early stage if it comes directly into contact with the yeast). Whisk it all together. Then in a separate jug, whisk the egg and milk together. Set the mixer on a low speed and add the milk mixture and the room temperature tang zhong paste.
Knead until it becomes elastic - about 5-6 minutes in the mixer with the dough hook then add the softened butter and then keep kneading for another 2-4 minutes until the dough is stretchy and elastic. You should be able to take a ball of it and stretch it so that it becomes thin in the centre without breaking (the window pane test).
Step 3 - Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and set aside for 60 minutes. Knead in the salt.
I made 5 but this recipe makes six good sized ones (my buns were a bit too large)
Step 4 - Line a baking tray with parchment and divide the dough into six balls making sure that the surfaces of the buns don't have any creases or lines. Brush with the egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Oil a sheet of parchment and place on top of the buns and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F.
Step 6 - Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. When cooled split them in half and fill with hamburger filling.