It's Valentine's Day, and most food bloggers have been posting all kinds of sweet and beautiful treats on their blogs for the last few weeks. I know lots of people make a big deal of this "holiday" every year, and for many, expectations are high. There will be chocolate, heart-shaped confections, expensive dinners, champagne... or at least the hope for these things.
Not for me. Valentine's Day doesn't hold any particular magic or allure for me. Don't get me wrong -- I am not one of those people who hates Valentine's Day. It's nice, and the sentiment behind it -- a day dedicated to love -- is, well, lovely.But my husband and I have never been the type of couple who get starry-eyed simply because the calendar says February 14. Maybe it's because he worked in the bar and restaurant industry for so many years. Kind of hard to plan a special date on one of the busiest nights on the year.
Maybe it's because often Valentine's Day menus are centered around rich, creamy, decadent foods, many of which we can't eat.
Or maybe it's because today is not only Valentine's Day. It's also Tuesday. It's three days before my mom's birthday. It's the day my son has baseball practice and my twins' reading books are due and photos from a recent shoot must be edited. Romantic, huh? Actually, yes. It is. And here's why.
Tuesday is the day after Monday, which was a holiday, which meant our family got a three-day weekend together. Tuesday is three days before the birthday of one of the people I love most in the world. It's also the day my son gets to show his incredible athleticism, and the day my girls proudly turn in the books that we read together in the kitchen yesterday. And Tuesday is a day for editing photos from my very first paid photography job. In other words, I am getting paid to do something I love. In other words, Tuesday is pretty darn great.
And if Valentine's Day happens to fall on a Tuesday, I guess that's pretty great, too, because it gives me a reason to do something else I love: bake bread. Specifically, bake my hands-down-favorite-in-the-world bread recipe. If you really want to know the way into someone's heart, this is it. Bake this incredibly simple, and incredibly divine, bread. We make them into buns with burgers, pulled pork, barbecued chicken or Italian sausages. We make them into dinner rolls, topped with rosemary and salt and slathered with butter. And every time I make them, my family gets a taste of how much I love them, and I get a few extra hugs and kisses... all of which makes for a very
Happy Valentine's Day.
Easy, Homemade, Beautiful Burger Buns
Adapted from "Moomie's" recipe via King Arthur Flour.
(Moomie, I think I love you.)
3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water*
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup honey (OR 1/4 cup granulated sugar)
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt (OR 3/4 tsp table salt)
1 tablespoon instant yeast (also called "rapid rise" yeast)
2 tablespoons melted butter OR 1 egg white (for topping)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients — by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer — to make a soft, smooth dough.
Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk.
Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces (for extra-large buns), 12 (for regular-sized buns) or up to 24 pieces (for slider-sized buns). Shape each piece into a round ball and flatten slightly. Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with a buttered piece of plastic wrap, and let rise for 60-90 minutes, until puffed.
Brush the buns with the melted butter for a satiny finish. OR, brush them with a slightly beaten egg white for a shiny finish, or if you want to top the buns with seeds. (The egg white will help the seeds stick.)
Bake the buns for 15 to 18 minutes (12-15 minutes for sliders), to a light golden color. For best results, do not over-brown.
Cool the buns on a rack before slicing, or if you're making them into dinner rolls, serve warm.
Yield: 8-24 buns, depending on size.
*For best results, use the smaller amount of water in summer or if the weather is humid; the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; something in between the rest of the time. The finished dough should be smooth, slightly soft and silky looking.
You might also like:
Genius Two-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse (I'm totally making this!)
V-Day Desserts Round-Up (Can't help it. I love desserts. I love pretty desserts. This post has both.)
Bridget's Orange Blossom Cut-Out Cookies (Beautiful. Simple. Scrumptious-looking.)