Please, please, please don’t cheat and buy buns at the store for this sandwich, or any other meat that requires a bun. Please.
I’m begging you.
Buns from the store are made en masse by people (or more likely machines) who don’t add a very important ingredient – love. Without the love from homemade buns, your sandwiches will look just like every other sandwich.
Don’t you want to make other sandwiches envious?!
Do you really want to eat buns made by machines?
After reading that store-bought bread contains plaster of paris, I’ve resolved to make my own bread whenever possible. I did give-in and bought hot dog buns for the Fourth of July when dinner plans were scooted up to lunch, but I was reluctant and to be honest, they didn’t taste that good.
While it’s entirely possible to skip this part and rely on buns from the store, I highly discourage that. Besides the nutrition stuff, homemade just tastes THAT MUCH BETTER! Seriously! Homemade buns took this sandwich to a rank far higher than any other bun could possibly do. These were fluffy, soft and absorbed the garlic butter like it was their job. Even my dad (a professional chef) wondered where we got the buns from! He thought we bought them! Never again will I disrespect the tri-tip sandwich with a store-bought bun.
Hamburger or Hot Dog Buns
(adapted from Good Cheap Eats)
1 1/4 cup milk (cow, almond, soy, etc.)
1 large egg
6 Tbsp canola/vegetable oil
3 Tbsp sugar (or the equivalent of preferred sweetener)
4 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp vital wheat gluten
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast
Measure yeast in a mixing bowl. Warm milk to 105-110 degrees (I used the microwave and a candy thermometer) and pour into yeast. Let stand for 5-10 minutes while yeast activates. When the yeast is slightly beer-foamy (milk won’t make it as foamy as water does), add all of the other ingredients and mix on medium until dough is smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes). Pour into a large oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place until dough is doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.
After the dough has risen, pour onto a flour surface and knead to form a long log-shape. Cut dough (I use a pizza cutter) into 12** equal pieces. Shape pieces into round buns and place on a cookie sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray (sprayed side down). Preheat oven to 375 degrees and let buns rise for 30 minutes. Bake for 15-22 minutes until lightly browned.
** The yield on the original recipe is 12, but the buns were slightly bigger than we preferred. I recommend dividing the dough into 14 buns the first time you make this recipe and then alter (if necessary) from there. They rise quite a bit in the 30 minutes of rest, and then again while baking.
I’ve made this recipe a few times and it’s made amazing buns (either hot dog or hamburger) every time. I tried to make this once for dinner rolls and while they were good, they sorta tasted like buns, lol. Go figure, right? I have a different recipe for a great dinner roll which I plan to share, but just in case you’re feeling adventurous, learn from my taboo on the dinner roll idea.
I’ll be honest with you guys – the math on this recipe was gruesome. Lots of conversions and googling and more adding than I care to do on the average day, but the end results are fairly easy and straight-forward (I’ll skip the gruesome part, but contact me directly and I’ll send you the details). This entire recipe costs $1.54. We made 12 buns so each bun costs a whopping 13 cents. Wow – that’s food for thought when we’re paying full price for that plaster of paris! Our total cost so far for our best-ever tri-tip sandwich is $1.19.