Updated: Jan 6, 2021
We have an expression in Russian, “Ne les v chuzoy monastur so svoim ystavom.”That means, "Try not to change anything in your new home." Instead, try to adapt and make things as comfortable as possible for yourself and for the people around you. As you know, I try to feed my family the healthiest food I can. Even on holidays or other occasions when people tend to eat more junky food, I try to come up with healthy options. I love America and have great respect for this country, so I never substitute iconic American food items for holidays like the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. I try to have all traditional American food around, however I still make it as healthy as I can.
As you know, the Fourth of July is right around the corner, and you have to have hamburgers for the Fourth, right? And if you have hamburgers, you also need buns. Now, I know it can be popular to skip the bun. I, myself, skip the hamburger bun at most potlucks and cookouts because I don't want any junk in my body. However! These buns are totally the exception. They are not bad for you! These buns are probiotic, which means they are full of good bacteria that help you digest your food. So please EAT YOUR HAMBURGER BUN!
Not only are these probiotic hamburger buns good for you, they're also super easy. The kids love to help me make them. You do need to prepare these ahead of time because you need to allow the dough time to rise. The good news is that you can double the recipe and freeze what you don't need (they freeze really well!). Then you're good to go for the next 3-4 cookouts.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Inactive time: 6 hours
Baking time: 30-40 minutes (depends on size)
Total time: 6 hours 45 minutes
Yield: 24 small buns or 12 regular (4-oz) buns
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Probiotic Buns Ingredients
1 cup active sourdough starter (see my notes on sourdough starter)
1 teaspoon Celtic salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm milk
¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 large egg
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Poppy seeds (topping)
Sesame seeds (topping)
Egg wash (topping)
Probiotic Buns Directions
1. Add all wet ingredients plus the yeast to an electric mixer (or a bowl if you are mixing by hand): active sourdough starter, milk, egg, yeast, olive oil and melted butter.
2. Mix the wet ingredients with the hook attachment until they are well-blended.
3. Add the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, and salt.
4. Mix everything together on medium speed for 3 minutes
5. When the dough forms a ball, cover and let it rest for 2-3 hours. Depending on the ripeness of your starter and the temperature of your kitchen, the dough will rise faster or slower.
6. If your dough doubles or even triples in size, it’s time for the next step. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and pinch each one into a perfectly shaped round ball. Use plenty of flour to prevent stickiness. Press each ball with your fingers and place it on a baking sheet.
7. Let the dough rise again for 1-1½ hours or until it doubles in size.
8. Whisk an egg and egg wash each bun gently with a brush.
9. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or a combination of both.
10. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350F or until the buns have a nice golden color.
11. Toast the buns when you're ready to eat them for even better flavor.
Now that we've covered the buns, let's talk about the hamburgers. By now you know I love experimenting with food. But my husband gave me some advice a few years ago. He said, "Inna, you can play around with meatballs as much as you want, but don't mess with hamburgers." As much as I would love to go crazy and add different flavors to hamburgers to spice up the more bland beef flavor, I don't. I've learned that Americans like for the meat flavor to shine through. I use grass-fed beef as much as possible, and it gives the meat an even beefier taste. The only things I add are salt, freshly ground pepper, and a little bit of yellow mustard. That’s it. Simple and delicious. I like to season the patties right before cooking so the salt doesn't pull any moisture out of the meat.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: 12 5-ounce patties
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
1½ pound sirloin steak (doesn’t have to be exact weight)
1½ pound chuck eye steak (doesn’t have to be exact weight)
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
Celtic salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Hamburger Ingredient Notes
There isn't an exact science to this recipe. Don't stress about how much of each meat you have or if your patties are bigger or smaller. As long as everything sticks together, it should work just fine.
In my opinion, using a mix of 50% sirloin steak and 50% chuck eye steak is perfect. Just keep in mind that it will be easier to grind the meat if it is slightly frozen. That way during the grinding process, the fat won't smear through the meat; instead, the protein and fat will be evenly distributed through the mixture.
I recommend letting the meat get to room temperature after forming the patties. It's a nice way to have relaxed and juicy meat inside and nicely seared outside vs ice cold patties straight from the refrigerator.
I use Celtic or pink salt for the high mineral content, but if that's not something you worry about, course kosher salt is a great option.
For every pound of meat I always use ½ teaspoon of salt.
1. Cut your cold, slightly frozen meat into cubes.
2. Grind the meat with an electric mixer. It's best to keep the grinder attachment in the refrigerator beforehand so the blades will be cold and won’t smear the fat.
3. Add mustard, and mix with your fingers gently without compressing any of the meat.
4. Start forming patties one at a time. Set the patties aside until they've reached room temperature for best results.
5. Season patties with salt and pepper before cooking.
6. Heat the cast iron pan until nice and hot.
7. Place your patties in the pan, cooking a few minutes on each side and trying to not to turn too many times.
8. Put your burger on a bun and add your favorite toppings.
Hamburger toppings are totally up to you.
We topped our hamburgers with the always classic sliced steak tomatoes, sliced red onion, lettuce, and homemade aioli sauce. My husband’s favorite topping is caramelized Vidalia onions. If you find them, you have to try them. My husband calls them “hamburger candy.” It’s so true. They're 30% sweeter than regular yellow onions. The season for them starts April 16 and goes through the end of September.
"Hamburger Candy" Ingredients
2 medium Vidalia onions, sliced
1-2 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup beef stock
Salt and black pepper to taste
"Hamburger Candy" Directions
1. Add butter to a cast iron skillet on medium heat, and let it melt.
2. Add onion, salt, and black pepper. Stir.
3. Cook for 5-6 minutes uncovered.
4. Add ⅓ cup of beef stock.
5. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once in a while.
6. Use as a topping for any sandwich you wish.