I have eaten more bun-less burgers in the last two months than I care to count. Dairy-free, soy-free hamburger buns are impossible to come by at the grocery store, and ciabatta rolls just aren't the same as a soft, chewy hamburger bun. We are still going strong in our quest to avoid eating out, so last night I decided to try making some from scratch, along with French fries from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook. (If at this point you're wondering how on earth I have time to bake bread and hand-cut French fries with a three year old and a newborn, you should know that I accomplished absolutely nothing else yesterday. It's all about priorities.)
I hadn't come across any dairy-free burger bun recipes in my usual sources, so I came up with my own loosely based on a recipe for dinner rolls. Sweet potato is used to replace most of the butter, which lends just the right amount of sweetness without any added sugar. It's worth taking the time to pick up some bread flour as it really improves the texture. These are actually very easy to make, and while it does take several hours, most of that is just rising time. I don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to store-bought buns after this!
Homemade Hamburger Buns
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup mashed sweet potato (from 1 small baked sweet potato)
1 cup plain rice milk, warm (about 110 degrees)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 egg white
In bowl of standing mixer, combine flours, salt, and yeast. Mix to combine. In a glass measuring cup, combine warm rice milk, sweet potato, egg, and olive oil. Mix well. With mixer running at low speed with the dough hook attached, slowly pour in milk mixture. Continue mixing until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
Turn dough onto lightly floured board. Knead by hand for 2 minutes. You can add a little flour if it is really sticking, but try to use as little as possible so you don't end up with dry rolls. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hours.
Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Using bench scraper or sharp knife, cut dough in half, then cut each half into quarters so you have 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball between your palms. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Flatten into a disc and repeat with remaining dough pieces. Brush each roll lightly with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Put baking sheet in a warm place until rolls are puffy, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F and bake buns for about 10 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden. When rolls are cool, slice horizontally with a bread knife. Serve as is, or brush with dairy-free margarine or olive oil and toast on the grill.