Another hamburger (or sandwich) buns which I decided to make on a whim. I didn’t have my car today but I wanted to make burgers. Well, why was I even thinking of buying store bought? What was I thinking? These rolls take only a total of about 3 hrs total from start to cooled enough to use.
When I begin cooking or baking breads I am always – ALWAYS – thinking of where did all this come from? Compared to many other bakers or cooks I am a novice and understanding the whys, hows and whens is on my mind. So, what about hamburger buns? Remember these 2 words: White Castle…
Most everyone knows that thousands of years ago, that the ancient Egyptians ate ground meat, and down through the ages we also find that ground meat has been shaped into patties and eaten all over the world under many different name.Keep remembering “White Castle”…
A Hamburger Slavic Connection
Anyways, years later when Genghis Khan’s grandson, Khubilai Khan (1215-1294), invaded Moscow, they brought their unique dietary ground meat with them. The Russians adopted it into their own cuisine with the name “Steak Tartare,” Tartars being the Russian name for the Mongols. Over many years, Russian chefs adapted and developed this dish and refining it with chopped onions and raw eggs.
Years later in the 1600’s, ships from the German port of Hamburg, Germany began calling on Russian port. During this period the Russian steak tartar was brought back to Germany and called it “tartar steak.” This ground beef was only cooks on the outside and nearly raw on the inside. In fact, in France they prefer to have their ground beef patties raw on the inside.
Later in the 1800’s the English and Irish were the first to cook their beef patties well done throughout. The English called the burger Salisbury Steak after Dr. James H. Salisbury, who recommended to his patients that they eat only well-done beef patties three times daily, with hot water before and after, to relieve colitis, anemia and other illnesses.
The hamburger itself comes from Hamburg, Germany and the frankfurter comes from Frankfurt, Germany. But it what may interest you is to know that while the meats themselves are German in origin, the idea of placing a hamburger or a frankfurter, known as a hot dog, on a bun was completely American. Still thinking about White Castle?
So, when do I get to the hamburger (or hot dog) buns? And why am I asking you to remember: White Castle? Keep reading… Well, burgers were first popularized in the States by German immigrants settling around Cincinnati, Ohio. But the first hamburger wasn’t eaten between the halves of a bun until the early 1900s.
Many of us heard of the Admiral Sir Edward Montagu. Who? Well, Admiral Sir Edward Montagu had the official British Title of the Earl of Sandwich – yup, him – and the myth (or fact) of his invention during the 17th century in the Colonies for his use of putting meat between 2 slices of bread. He did this to make it easier to eat while gambling. After a while the idea caught on when others began to order there meats to be served as “the same as Sandwich!” – thus the ‘sandwich’ was born.
There is still a lot of confusion of who actually placed the first hamburger on a bun even though there is good evidence that the first hamburger served on a bun was made by Oscar Bilby of Tulsa, Oklahoma on July 4, in 1891. At a Fourth of July party on his farm, Oscar Bilby served ground beef on his wife’s homemade buns. Prior to this in the U.S., cooked ground beef patties were served mainly between 2 slices of bread.
But eating ground beef started to become a problem. At the time, Americans were hesitant to eat ground beef after Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel ‘The Jungle’ had publicized the poor sanitation practices of the meat packing industry. About this same time a cook in 1921, Walt A. Anderson, partnered with a successful insurance man, Edgar Waldo “Billy” A. Ingram, to make a chain of restaurants and market their brand and distinctive product. Ok… remember what I wanted you to keep fresh on you mind?
The founders of this company set out to change the public’s perception of the cleanliness of the industry. To invoke a feeling of cleanliness, these entrepreneurs designed their restaurants in small buildings with white porcelain enamel on steel exteriors with stainless steel interiors. And their employees? They all wore spotless uniforms. These first restaurants of theirs in the early 1900’s in Wichita, Kansas, were a success. They were… wait for it… wait for it… called White Castle.
Walt A. Anderson is credited with the invention of the first commercially made hamburger on a bun as well as the kitchen as an assembly line. The
cook became a replaceable “food technician”, hence giving rise to the modern fast food phenomenon. Due to White Castle’s innovation of having chain-wide standardized methods there was no “have it your way”. At White Castles, customers would be assured that they would receive the same product and service in every White Castle restaurant.
- 2 cups (9.6 oz) unbleached bread flour
- 2¼ tsp (0.25oz) instant yeast
- 2 tsp (0.35 oz) Diastatic Malt Powder (optional - promotes a strong rise and great texture)
- ¼ cup (1.94oz) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (16 oz by weight) warm water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/8 cup (1.5oz) of honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp butter, softened
- 1½ to 2 cup (7.2 to 9.6 oz) of flour in reserve
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Combine flour, optional Diastatic Malt Powder, instant yeast, granulated sugar; mixing well.
- Add the warm water in the bowl of your mixer, fitted with whisk.
- Blend on low setting (about 2 to 3 mins) until it becomes a smooth sponge.
- Set aside for about 30 mins or less until a fair amount of yeast activity is present.
- Adding 1½ cups (7.2 oz) flour, egg, salt, honey and 3 Tbsp of softened butter.
- Mix at low setting until all ingredients are well blended.
- Knead at med setting for about 5 mins - add the remaining flour if necessary adding abut a Tbsp at a time, to form a smooth, soft dough that is only slightly sticky to touch and soft.
- Remove from mixing bowl, oil bowl, return dough to bowl and oil top of dough.
- Cover with plastic wrap and a towel.
- Allow dough to rise until doubled - about 1 hr.
- Preheat oven at 350°F
- Gently deflate and place on a very lightly floured surface.
- Divide into 8 to 10 equal pieces (about 3.5 to 4.0 oz).
- Roll into balls, flatten to about ½ to ¾ inch thick and using spray oil spray all sides of the flattened balls.
- Cover with plastic wrap and a towel.
- Allow to rise again until doubled (about 45 - 60 mins.)
- Carefully brush risen buns with half of the melted butter.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown - when tapped sounds hollow.
- Remove from oven. To help keep a soft crust, brush with the remaining half of the melted butter.
- Allow to cool completely before serving.
- -Honey helps to retain freshness longer as it has shown to inhibit staleness, mold and bacterial growth.
- -For larger, sandwich rolls weigh whole dough and divide by 4 oz. Then divide dough into the rounded result.
- -Store buns in a zipper bag for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months when properly prepared for freezing bread.
- -When using measurements by weight ensures accuracy to correct for humidity or dryness because of weather conditions and the inside of your kitchen.