My Grandma Rita is a fantastic baker and cook. Looking back, I’m amazed because the dishes I remember the most are completely unexpected. Sure, she could make a great traditional meat and potatoes meal (my grandparents raised cattle and pigs after all), but you should have tried the sweet and sour pork and eggrolls she made for. She also fermented some of the best sauerkraut I have ever had!
(Memories Forever Photography)
But where she really excelled was her baking. I will never be able to make an apple or pumpkin pie, gluten-free or otherwise, that will live up to hers. And her donuts, don’t get me started. Is there anything better than a freshly fried donut coated in sugar?
I can still picture that large ceramic bowl sitting on her counter with bread dough rising in it. She would always cut off small pieces of the dough for her grandchildren eat. And what would she make with this dough? Just about anything and everything from savory to sweet! Buns, dinner rolls, cinnamon roll, and best of all kolaches.
Grandma Rita, however, never used a recipe. I remember asking her once if we could make cookies. She simply started mixing things together in the bowl, before I knew it she had cookies baking in the oven out on the porch. She went to check on them, letting me peak inside the oven too. Declaring more flour, as the cookies had spread too much. Her ability to never follow a recipe (or perhaps an unwillingness) is entirely fortunate and unfortunate for me. I have inherited her ability to just go in the kitchen and completely wing it, but it also means, unfortunately, I will never be able to have one of her recipes. Thus I will never be able to duplicate anything she makes; although I doubt she can exactly duplicate any of them either – not that she will ever admit it. She is incredibly headstrong (another trait I no doubt inherited).
Sometime around the age of twelve or thirteen, knowing this about my grandmother I asked my aunt Donna for her all-purpose bread recipe that I could use for everything. Here is what I received:
Actually, this is the 2nd or 3rd copy of the recipe as it was well used and loved. It also may have something to do with the fact that I am anything but neat in the kitchen. This fact has not improved with age, just asked my husband.
I have no idea who Joe is (as I’m certain it is not my father) or where my aunt found this recipe. What I do know is, I have used this recipe for everything from buns to dinner rolls and most frequently for sweet applications; like caramel rolls.
Since going gluten-free however, this recipe has just sat in my recipe box. However, I have been sporadically interested in making bread again. I was excited by the challenge of trying to convert this recipe.
My first attempt was laughable. They truly were hockey pucks; I put way too much flour into the dough. I made the dough more like the traditional bread I remember instead of the more batter like dough gluten-free baked goods require. My 2nd attempt was much butter. Fantastic out of the oven, but unfortunately became heavy once cooled. On the third attempt I made hotdog buns. It made for a glorious dinner that night as I was finally able to have meat on a bun – a soft smushy bun –ahh the simple pleasures in life.
Finally, here I have a bun that I am completely satisfied. It is soft, moist, and airy. Like all gluten-free bread it still best the day it is made, but nothing toasting (or even 45 to 60 second in the microwave) can’t fix on day two.
I have actually had this bun recipe created for at least a year and have used it to make kolaches, caramel rolls and monkey bread. My delay in posting has simply been a lack of pictures. I made it once several months ago just to take pictures. What happened? I lost the pictures, all of them. They were simply no where to be found. So early this week, I made them once again and this time I have the pictures.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
Joe’s Hamburger Buns
~ Makes 8 Hamburger Buns or 12 Dinner Rolls~
- 5.1 oz. (3/4 cup) potato starch
- 2.2 oz. (1/2 cup) tapioca or corn starch
- 1.0 oz (1/4 cup) almond meal
- 0.6 oz. (2 tablespoons) millet flour
- 0.6 oz. (2 tablespoons) corn flour
- 0.5 oz. (2 tablespoons) amaranth flour
- 0.5 oz. (2 tablespoons) garbanzo fava flour
- 1.0 oz. (3 tablespoons) potato flour
- 0.7 oz (3 tablespoons) flaxseed meal
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast*
- 2 large egg, well beaten
- 3.0 oz. (1/4 cup) honey
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup milk
- potato starch and millet flour for shaping buns and flouring
In a bowl, whisk together the yeast; potato and tapioca (or corn) starch; almond meal; millet,corn, amaranth, garbanzo fava, and potato flour; along with the flaxseed, xanthan gum, baking powder, gelatin, and instant yeast.
In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the egg, honey, canola oil, and salt. Add the vinegar and milk, mix to combine
Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients, mix on low. When mixture forms a smooth batter, beat on high for 2 minutes, stopping two or three times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl mix equal parts potato starch and millet flour. Divide dough into 8 equal portions for hamburger buns and 12 portions for dinner rolls. Roll each portion of dough into a ball using millet-starch mixture to prevent sticking. This is the easiest to do by dropping the dough portion into the flour mixture and then turning the dough over in the flour to entirely coat before shaping, rolling into a ball, with my hands. Place the shaped dough onto parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t flatten the dough as it will flatten on its own during the rising and baking and processes.
Brush the dough with water, milk, or an egg wash to remove the flour coating, egg wash will give the buns the best color. Allow to rise until about doubled in size, approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
While dough is rising adjust oven racks so the racks are in the lowest and middle positions. Heat oven to 350 F.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or move to a cooling rack to cool. Buns will fall slightly as they cool.
*Since the yeast is not proofed before adding to the ingredients ensure your yeast is fresh and still active. If you are unsure if your yeast is still active, test 1/4 teaspoon of the yeast in a ¼ cup of warm water with a pinch of sugar. If the yeast bubbles and foams within 5 minutes it is alive and active and can be used in the recipe; if not your yeast is dead and is unsuitable for bread making.