July 16, 2008

Hawaiian Hamburger Rolls

2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 oz active dry yeast

for the egg wash
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water

Stir together the milk, pineapple juice, butter, vanilla, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger and yeast. Pour in the milk mixture and stir until the dough starts to come together, adding more pineapple juice if the mixture looks dry or more flour if the mixture looks wet. If you have a stand mixer, use the dough hook to mix for about 8 minutes. If not, knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a towel and wait until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough and divide into 6* even portions. Make tight balls out of the dough by pulling the dough towards the bottom and gently stretching until a ball with a smooth top forms. Place seam-side down** on a baking stone or metal baking sheet. I actually just used my silipat and baking sheet. Allow the rolls to sit for a minute. Flatten each dough ball with your hand or the back of a large spatula until it is about 3 to 4 inches wide. Cover the rolls with the towel again and set aside until they have just about doubled in size, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. Whisk together the water and yolk to make the egg wash. Brush onto the tops of the rolls. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on both the top and the bottom and when tapped, they sound hollow. Allow to cool, then slice.

*If you want extra large rolls, divide into fourths. The dough, divided in sixths yields rolls big enough to hold a 1/4 lb burger.

** Or seam side up if the seam is fairly smooth and you want the interesting look pictured.

My thoughts:
I love having King's Hawaiian rolls, especially spread with a little butter, for breakfast. I've always thought it would be fun to make a homemade version but I have never found a recipe that looks right and was having a hard time coming up with a recipe of my own, having only rarely made a sweet yeast bread.

Rather than try and make an exact replica, I decided to take the Hawaiian sweet roll concept and create a new recipe, an homage if you will, that was more of a hamburger or sandwich roll than a stand alone roll.

The rolls I created aren't quite as sweet as the King's Hawaiian rolls but they are perfect for hamburgers and sandwiches. They add just a touch of sweetness and flavor without overpowering the flavors of the sandwich within and have a great, light texture without being too soft. Really a great variation on the typical hamburger bun.