The Farm

My parents started this farm about 25 years ago. In May of 2015 my husband Lee and I bought it from them so they could enjoy retirement (by that I mean remolding a house to have the kitchen of their dreams and ballroom dancing) and we could raise our girls on the farm like we had been hoping. Our petite herd occupies  14 acres (an additional 14 is leased to a local crop farmer) and consists of a couple steers for beef, a spoiled dairy cow and her calf, four donkeys, a horse and assorted poultry and waterfowl. Lambs arrive occasionally in the spring, but haven’t started our own flock yet. This summer we were able to get things off to a good start and plant a fairly large garden. Lush and wonderful it has provided most of our veggies this summer. The garden also inspired my favorite family farm moment so far. Our family was sitting down for a simple meal of hamburgers and sweet corn when our oldest daughter piped up “All of this food is from our farm!” And it really was, the beef was from one of our cows, the corn, tomatoes and onions were from our garden and I had baked the burger buns that day. We had everything except the condiments covered! She frequently asks if we are eating a “farm to table” meal, and happily I am usually able to reply that most of it is its. To honor that first special farm to table meal my family shared, I would like to share that hamburger bun recipe with you. I love this recipe because it comes together fast. Faster than I can load three kids into the car and got to the store to buy buns and involves much less chaos.

Homemade Hamburger Buns:

2 Tablespoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm milk

3 Tablespoons melted butter

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons sugar (white or brown, you can also skip this if you find its too sweet)

1 Egg

1 teaspoon salt

3- 31/2 cups flour*

Dissolve yeast in warm water and milk (I do this directly in my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl).  Add the sugar, butter, oil, sugar and honey and allow to proof for five minutes.

Add the egg, salt and about 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Mix together at a medium speed for about two minutes.  Add remaining flour until a soft dough forms.  This will be slightly softer than regular bread dough which is what you want.

Turn onto a floured surgace and knead until it is smooth and stretchy ( about 3-5 minutes).  Divide into 12 equal pieces and shape into a ball.  On a greased or nonstick cookie sheet place the balls about 3″ apart and flatten slightly so they look disc-like.  Let rise for 10 minutes.

While the dough rises, pre-heat your oven to 425’F (if you have a convection setting use it!).  Bake the buns four about 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Allow to cool before using for all your burger bun needs!  Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.  Any unused make excellent bread crumbs ( I will show you how later)

* I have used a combination of wheat flour and all purpose flour with great results.  I have not used more than 1 cup whole wheat.  Your end product will be slightly more dense, but will also have wonderful flavor.

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