Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Perfect Burger on the Perfect Bun with the almost Perfect Fries

This week, I have been all about making at home what I normally buy at the grocery store. I made the perfect burger, which Gerry grilled perfectly on the charcoal grill, served on the perfect bun, which I made and baked this afternoon.

I started with the light brioche burger buns which I found a recipe for on Annie's Eats and they sounded fabulous. I then made her recipe for The Perfect Burger and the two recipes combined, do make the Perfect Burger.

I have been thinking about making French Fries at home as well, so what goes better with the Perfect Burger than French Fries? After doing some research online, I decided to try the classic double-fry method and while these were perfect right out of the oil, they did turn soft and soggy within a couple of minutes. My search for the perfect fry will continue.

From Annie's Eats - the Perfect Burger Bun

3 tablespoons warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
21/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For topping:
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Sesame Seeds

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, water, yeast, sugar, salt and egg. Mix briefly to combine. Add the flours to the bowl, and mix until incorporated. Mix in the butter. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 6-8 minutes. The dough will be somewhat tacky, but you want to avoid adding too much extra flour which will create tough buns.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each portion of dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet, 2-3 inches apart. Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise again, 1-2 hours, until puffed up and nearly doubled.

Set a large metal pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F with a rack in the center. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

The Perfect Hamburger
1 lb. ground round
2 Tbs. finely chopped yellow onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 or 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
4 slices cheddar or Swiss cheese (optional)
4 hamburger buns, split

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, mix together the beef, yellow onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each 3⁄4 inch thick.

Grill the hamburgers directly over medium-high heat, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Check for doneness by cutting into a hamburger near the center or testing with an instant-read thermometer. No pink should show on the inside, and the internal temperature should register at least 160°F on an instant-read thermometer. If making cheeseburgers, place a slice of cheese on top of each hamburger during the last 3 minutes of cooking.

During the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking, toast the hamburger buns, cut side down, on the grill. Serve the hamburgers on the buns with tomato, white onion, lettuce, dill pickle and condiments. Serves 4.

The almost Perfect Fries

I sliced two russet potatoes into 1/4 x 1/4-inch batons (picture McDonald's size fries). I rinsed the potatoes in cold water until the water ran clear. I then put the potatoes in a bowl and covered them with cold water by an inch. I added a layer of ice and put the bowl in the refrigerator for an hour and a half. I then heated some vegetable oil in a deep pot until heated to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, I drained the potatoes and dried them in a kitchen towel until completely dry. I added the fries a handful at a time into oil that was heated to 325 degrees and fried them just until they started to change colors, about 3 minutes. The fries were removed from the oil with a Chinese skimmer and placed on a rack over a baking sheet to drain.

All the fries were pre-cooked in this method. The oil was then heated to 375 degrees and the pre-cooked fries were added back in to the hot oil a handful at a time again, and allowed to cook for another minute or two until golden brown. The fries were removed to a paper towel lined plate and seasoned with salt while still hot. This procedure did produce perfectly crisp French fries, but they did turn soggy by the time we ate them. I will have to continue my research on this one.

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