First, let me start by saying we like burgers in our house. We like them in the car. We like them at a restaurant. We like burgers from everywhere. As a matter of fact, if we go somewhere around 10:30 or 11:00 am, I try to order breakfast. My husband, he orders a burger.
So, naturally, I have begun making burgers at home. Not just any burgers, we have sliders. I love sliders, because they are small and I think they are really fun. We have had a few different types, such as bacon pineapple teriyaki with homemade onion rings (I will eventually share the recipe for the onion rings). Anyway, I made a new type the other day and my husband said it was the best thing he ever tasted. To be totally honest, he probably says that once a week. It's great to cook for him.
What made these sliders so totally different, is that I made homemade pretzel buns. Before you shut me out, let me tell you this. They are easy, really fun, and a great project for kids to help with.....ok maybe not that last part, but they are easy and fun, and fun for kids to watch.
I'm going to give the recipe for the buns, then my recipe for hamburgers.
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about) hot water (125°F to 130°F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon celery seeds
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white, beaten to blend (glaze)
Combine warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl and whisk. Allow to to activate for 10 minutes. The mixture should look creamy and bubbly. Add bread flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and celery seeds. Stir with a spoon until the dough comes together. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for 3 or 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Grease medium bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then towel; let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 35 minutes.
Flour baking sheet. Punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 pieces. Form each dough piece into ball. Place dough balls on prepared sheet, flattening each slightly. Using serrated knife, cut X in top center of each dough ball. Cover with towel and let dough balls rise until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease another baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Bring 8 cups water to boil in large saucepan (make sure it is very large). Add baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar (water will foam up). Add 4 rolls and cook 30 seconds per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer rolls to a clean towel to dry bottoms, then to a prepared sheet, arranging X side up. Repeat with remaining rolls.
Brush rolls with egg white glaze. Sprinkle rolls generously with coarse salt. Bake rolls until brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Serve rolls warm or room temperature. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 375°F oven 10 minutes.)
For the hamburgers:
I like to add a bit of liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce to the meat, and one egg. Make patties by placing about 2 tablespoons of meat into the palm of your hand and gently flattening it into a circle. Make it very thin. Place on a hot frying pan (medium high heat) with just a tiny bit of oil. Salt and pepper both sides. Once you flip the burger and salt and pepper the second side, top with grated cheddar cheese.
Thinly slice or grate the lettuce and mix with mayo (use homemade if you have it!). You're going to place this on the bottom bun, under the meat. You can add thinly sliced red onions or tomatoes, but remember this is a small burger.
Split the buns, butter them, and cook them in a frying pan, butter side down over medium heat until browned. For this particular hamburger, I spread stone ground (also called deli-style) mustard on the top, then added my homemade dill pickles.
Assemble, and enjoy.
Oh, and I also made homemade chips with this dinner. I left the skins on and used my mandolin slicer to get really thin slices of potato. I cooked them in about an inch of oil (bacon grease, lard, veggie oil...whatever you have), transferred them to a paper towel and sprinkled them with equal parts Parmesan, paprika, and salt (I also added a hit of pepper).
This actually comes together really quickly, and I think it's quite fulfilling.