Monday, July 29, 2013

Celebrating My Momma's Birthday

Yesterday, July 28th,  was my momma's birthday. The celebration planning started last week when my daddy messaged me on Facebook. Dad wanted to know if I would bring food for the family occasion and he would buy the cake and ice cream. After discussing choices with Bill, I messaged back that I would be happy to bring BBQ pulled pork and coleslaw.

Twas the Week Before Momma's Birthday

After deciding on the BBQ pulled pork, I thought about making my own hamburger buns. Several years ago, I acquired a 1973 Better Homes and Gardens Bread Making cookbook that quickly became my bread making bible. I thumbed through the cook book index. Yes, it had a hamburger bun recipe that would yield two dozen buns. Visions of golden, hand formed buns, succulent pulled pork, and creamy, fruity craisin coleslaw danced in my head. My taste buds woke up and my stomach rumbled as I pictured the smoky sweetness of pulled pork, topped with a spoonful of sweet and tangy coleslaw perfectly framed by yeasty, just baked buns. Excitement coursed through my veins as I lept up and ran to the kitchen to make a trial batch of buns. Twas the week before my momma's birthday celebration!

The trial batch of buns turned out beautifully. Bill volunteered to taste test the buns. After taking a bite of warm, buttered bun, he told me they weren't good enough for anyone else. He was going to be forced to eat them all. No way I believed that. (Scroll down for the bun recipe)

Twas the Day Before Momma's Birthday

The smells of simmering pork butt, yeasty bread dough, and sweet, tangy coleslaw wreathed around our heads all afternoon. Finally, the fork shredded pork was blended with the smoky sweet BBQ sauce and placed in the refrigerator. Twenty-four golden rounds of cool bread were packed into containers and the craisin coleslaw had been stirred once or twice before being packed into a quart size plastic bowl. All the dishes were washed as I sat down to rest by Bill on the love seat. A good days cooking was at an end.
Momma's Birthday

The aroma of fresh brewed coffee drew me out of bed on Mom's birthday morning. (I love the auto brew setting on my coffee pot.) Today was the big day. Carefully, I packed the crock pot of BBQ into a box, packed the bowl of coleslaw in a soft side cooler, and packed mom's gift into a gift bag.  Then everything was tucked behind the seats in our Ford truck. Time to leave.

Mom enjoyed her birthday feast, presents, and the gift of no dirty dishes. The family loved my hamburger buns, craisin coleslaw, and BBQ pulled pork. Mom had a surprise for my two brothers and I. She gifted each of us with a black berry pie. The day before her birthday, she was baking pies for presents. Life just doesn't get much better than family cooking for family.

Hamburger Bun Recipe
(The italics are my tips and comments)

  • In large mixer bowl combine 4 cups all-purpose flour and 2 packages active dry yeast.
  •  Combine 2 cups warm water - 110 degrees, 3/4 cup cooking oil, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 Tablespoon salt. ( I don't have a thermometer. I tested the temperature on the inside of my elbow. The water was above luke warm, but not so hot it was uncomfortable)
  • Add to flour and yeast mixture; add 3 eggs (not ice cold - I take the eggs out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before I need them. Cold eggs will keep you dough from raising properly.)
  • Beat eggs into mixture at low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. ( The first time I did not use dough hooks, just regular beaters. The second time I didn't use my mixer at all, I hand beat the mixture and the dough was fine.)
  • By hand, stir in 4 cups all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. (fluff the flour with a fork, wire whisk or sifter before measuring it out.)
  •  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface; knead til smooth and elastic.
  •  Place in a large, greased bowl, turning once.
  •  Cover (I use a clean kitchen towel); let rise in warm place til double - about an hour.
  • Punch dough down; divide in 3 portions. (I used a kitchen scale and each portion weighed a pound and a half, or 24 ounces.)
  • Cover; let rest for 5 minutes
  • Divide each portion into 8 balls.
  • Turn ball in hands, folding edges under to make an even circle.
  • Press ball flat between hands.
  • Place on greased baking sheets, pressing to 3 1/2 inch circles. (Set a round 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter on the baking sheet, place the flattened ball inside the cookie cutter, press it into a circle, lift the cookie cutter up - Voila, a perfect 3 1/2 inch circle of dough.) 
  • Let rise till double - about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 375 degrees about 10 minutes.
Yield: 24 buns