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Elizabeth Poett's Ranch Burger on a Honey Bun

Ranch Burgers on Honey Buns

byElizabeth Poett
Total 2 hours and 15 minutes (includes rising time for the dough)
Active 60 mins
Makes 6 servings
Everyone needs a perfect burger recipe, and this is my go-to. The fresh honey buns are soft, delicious, and simple to make. The Worcestershire sauce and fresh garlic add just the right combination of sweetness and flavor to the ground chuck. I like to offer a wide variety of toppings on burger night so each person can assemble their own favorite burger.
TIP: The Japanese method of making a "tangzhong" slurry and adding it to bread dough makes for a longer lasting and more tender roll. Cooking a small amount of the flour with liquid helps the flour absorb more liquid. This makes the dough easier to work with and helps the bread rise more, with a finished product that contains more moisture for a tender texture.
Ingredients
For the buns
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large egg, whisked until foamy, for brushing the tops of the buns
For the burgers
  • 2 pounds ground chuck (85 percent lean)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (for greasing the pan before grilling)
  • Sliced cheese
  • Toppings and condiments: sliced tomatoes, lettuce leaves, mustard, ketchup, dill pickles
    Directions
    1. For the buns: Heat 1 cup milk and 1 teaspoon honey over low heat until just warm to the touch (about 100°F). Turn off the heat, pour into a small bowl, and add the yeast. Mix and let sit for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is foamy, which means the yeast is activated.
    2. While the yeast is activating, make a slurry by combining the remaining 1/4 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons water, and 2 tablespoons bread flour in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens to a paste. Turn off the heat and let cool.
    3. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the yeast mixture, the remaining 3 1/4 cups flour, and the salt. Add the egg and the slurry to the bowl. Mix on low speed until fully combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the butter and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, elastic, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
    4. Grease a large bowl with the olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
    5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round bun, then transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them out so that none of the buns are touching and they have room to spread. Cover the buns and let them rise until doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes.
    6. When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 375°F. Use a pastry brush to brush the top of each bun with the beaten egg. Place the buns in the oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the tops with the remaining 1 teaspoon melted butter. Let the buns cool while making the burgers.
    7. For the burgers: In a large bowl, mix the chuck, eggs, Worcestershire, garlic, salt, and pepper together until fully combined. Make 6 balls of the mixture. Take a ball and put it between two plates. Use the plates to flatten the burger by pressing down. Repeat with the remaining balls.
    8. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When hot, grease with the butter. Cook the burgers in batches if necessary for 5 minutes. Turn the burgers and cook the other sides until they reach the desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium. For cheeseburgers, place cheese slices on the burgers and cover the skillet until the cheese melts completely, about 2 minutes.
    9. Split the buns in half and toast cut-sides down until golden brown. Place the burger patties on the bottom half of the buns, then add your favorite toppings and condiments.