What do you do with 3.6 pounds of leftover Dr. Pepper shredded pork? Why, you make barbecue sandwiches, naturally. Our only problem is that we didn't have any hamburger buns and I'd already spent my weekly budget so hitting the grocery store was out of the question. You see, I'm rather disciplined in that respect; ok, call it anal, but how do you think we manage to take a month's vacation every summer? That's right - we save for it a dollar at a time!
Thankfully the pantry gods were shining on us because we had all the bread makin's so between the two of us, the Big Guy and yours truly whipped 'em up in no time flat. Things rise pretty quickly when your room temperature's approaching the 80 degree mark. Just sayin'.
Next time you've a minute and are so inclined, whip up a batch of these gorgeous buns. They're soft and squishy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, kinda' sweet, a little salty too and just darn near perfect specimens. I caution you though:
- The dough is extremely soft so be careful how you form them. We shaped them into perfect rounds which then became perfect squares except for the single bun that I cooked in a round ramekin. It could be that my dough was too sticky, so you may need to add more flour;
- Be sure you've got lots of fresh butter waiting for you when the buns come out of the oven. They're incredible dipped in the stuff and eaten while still hot. Of course I didn't do that and if you believe me, I've some swamp land in Tucson to sell you.
- Be ready with a baseball bat to guard your work if you happen to be making these and roasting some Hatch green chiles at the same time. We could have had a stampede!
By the way, our pulled pork sandwiches included some of the Big Guy's secret barbecue sauce (sorry, he's not sharing), along with the cabbage apple slaw with maple walnut dressing from the other night. What more can I say except here's the recipe for that too - finally. It's delicious!
Hamburger Buns (adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious.com)
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 F)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour, divided (I used 3 cups bread flour and 3 cups all-purpose)
1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Coarse sea salt
Heat milk in a small saucepan until bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat and cool to 105 F. Meanwhile, stir together warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle in yeast, mix lightly with a fork and allow to stand until foamy. About 5 minutes.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add bloomed yeast, butter, sugar, eggs, milk and salt. Mix to combine then slowly add 4 cups of flour. Beat at medium speed for 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl. Change attachment to dough hook and with motor running add additional 2 cups of flour. Beat for 5 minutes. Dough will be very sticky, but if it doesn’t leave the sides of the bowl clean, add more flour a tablespoon at a time. Transfer to a large buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft free place and let rise until doubled. Note – the recipe said 2-1/2 hours; however, mine only took 1 hour.
Butter 2 baking sheets. Punch down dough and form into 16 balls (I weighed mine and they were between 92 and 94 grams each). Arrange on baking sheets, flatten slightly, cover and let rise in a draught free spot until they’re doubled (again, mine took 50 minutes, but the recipe said 1-1/2 to 2 hours, so it depends on the temperature of your room). Preheat oven to 375. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 14 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and they sound hollow when tapped. Cool on wire racks. Download Hamburger Buns
Cabbage Apple Slaw with Maple Walnut Dressing (an original from JBug’s Kitchen)
1/2 a small cabbage, thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and julienned
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple jack brandy
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste
Walnut halves for garnish
In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, apple, carrots and sweet onion. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise and sour cream. Whisk until well combined. Whisk in vinegar, maple syrup and apple brandy until smooth. Fold in toasted walnuts. Combine dressing with vegetables. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as required. Cover and chill until serving. Garnish with walnut halves.