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The Perfect Slider Bun

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    Posted: 16 August 2017 at 06:58
I’ve long been in search of the perfect slider bun. Not as simple a task as it seems.

A slider bun really has some strict requirements:

First, of course, is size. You want a bun whose diameter is slightly less than the diameter of the meat filling. The “burger” should, in other words, just peek through. Height is important, too, because you want to maintain a balance between the meat and the bread. With most so-called slider buns, in my opinion, there is too much bread, and it both overpowers the filling, and makes the slider difficult to eat.

Second, or maybe tied for first, is texture. A slider bun should be on the soft side, but not so soft than it collapses. This, imo, is the problem with things like brioche. When you bite into it, your saliva, along with the juices from the filling, make the bread sort of doughy, almost pasty. In other words, the mouth-feel just isn’t right. On the other hand, while you want a bun with some body to it, you don’t want one with a hard crust. While otherwise appealing, things like pretzel buns require so-much pressure to bite through, that the fillings squeeze out the sides
Let’s not forget that sliders are finger food. The bun, when all is said and done, is a support structure for the burger. It’s there so you can pick up the slider and bite through it without wearing the fillings.

Next is taste. The bun should have some favor of its own, it should complement the taste of the fillings without overpowering them. In short, the bun might win an Oscar for best supporting role, but never one for best actress.

Is there one perfect slider bun? Probably not. Most of those I’ve tried---both commercially made and ones I’ve baked myself---fall down in one or more categories. For instance, flavor wise, sweet potato and squash buns are ideal mates for lamb and venison. Unfortunately, their crusts are too hard for this application. To make them work as sliders, you have to first bake them as bread, slice them appropriately, then use a ring mold to punch-out appropriately sized rounds.
As noted, brioche is far too soft. And the crust on pretzel buns, if they’ve been made correctly, is hard and crackly. Frankly, I can’t think of a worse choice.

For several years, now, I’ve been in search of the perfect slider bun. I’ve scaled-down standard recipes, explored off-beat ethnic breads, and created my own. None of them were quite right. Until now. I’ve finally come up with one that balances the three requirements perfectly. Equally important: its flavor profile seems to work with any protein you might use for a slider.

I’m one of those people who actually own a slider-bun pan. But I recognize how rare that is, and wanted to create a method that anybody could use. Along the way, I’ve accomplished that task as well.

Doncha love it when a plan comes together!

Anyway, my slider buns are a modification of Barbari, which is a Persian breakfast bread. I’ve written, before, about Barbari as a slider bun, but this is a further refinement. Here’s how to make them:

1 tsp honey
1 ¼ cups warm water (approx.)
2 tsp dry yeast
4 cups unbleached bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbls Ras el Hanout
2 tbls olive oil plus additional for glaze
Sesame seeds (either black, white, or a combination)
A 2 ½-inch cookie cutter
A small chopstick

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a small bowl, dissolve the honey into 2/3 cup of the warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast bloom about five minutes, until frothy.

In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, and Ras el Hanout. Make a well in the center and pour the yeast into it. Draw in enough of the flour to form a soft paste. Cover, and let stand for about 20 minutes, so the sponge can form. It will be bubbly, and will have risen slightly.

Pour half the remaining water and the olive oil into the sponge. Mix in the rest of the flour, adding more water, a little at a time, as needed to form a firm but moist dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and shiny, about ten minutes. Alternatively, knead in the mixture, using the dough hook, for five minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl (turning to coat all sides with the oil), cover, and set aside until doubled in bulk, about an hour. Punch down the dough, turn it out onto a lightly oiled work surface, cover, and let rest ten minutes or so.

Prep the pans. Lightly dust a sheet pan with semolina or cornmeal.
Gently roll the dough out until it’s a half-inch thick or slightly more. Using the cookie cutter, cut the dough into 2 ½” rounds. Transfer them to the sheet pan, leaving at least an inch space between.

Using the chopstick or something similar, make six to eight dimples in each round. Brush liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Bake at 425F 12 minutes, turning the tray halfway through the bake time. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 19-20 slider buns.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 August 2017 at 12:23
Brook - I finally was able to take a look at this, and I sure like it. The thought and methodology you put into developing this is pretty impressive, and I am going to have to try these.

Thanks for sharing!

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