Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pulled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches (with Homemade Burger Buns!)

The Super Bowl is coming up. I'm a little bitter because my team totally blew it. But I'm looking forward to next season, because that's what you gotta do. I'm used to my teams winning many many championships, but I'm also used to disappointment. It's the world we live in. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Regardless of your team allegiances, chances are you or someone you know will be tuning into the big game. OR they like to eat food. That's where I come in.

I made these burger buns from scratch recently for some tasty pulled Buffalo chicken sandwiches which I served with homemade blue cheese dressing and sliced celery. The buns would be excellent for burgers as well... obviously. I fully realize that most "normal" people buy their buns, but these are actually so easy to make that I'd totally judge you for not giving it a whirl in your own kitchen. You don't want to be judged by me. Seriously.

The pulled Buffalo chicken recipe makes more than you will need for the 12 buns. I actually loved using the leftovers to make Buffalo chicken nachos. Use your imagination. It's Buffalo chicken. You can't possibly go wrong because it will taste good on EVERYTHING.

I am submitting this post to Yeastspotting.

Burger Buns
Makes 12
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

3/4 to 1 cup (170 to 227g) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons (28g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups (418g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons (43g) melted butter

*For best results (a smooth, slightly soft dough), use the smaller amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate); and something in between the rest of the time.

Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients except for the melted butter by hand or an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook until a soft, smooth dough forms. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until it’s nearly doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces. A good idea is to weigh the dough, divide that number by 12 and cut into pieces that weigh that much. Each of my pieces were roughly 65g. Shape each piece into a round ball, then flatten it to a squat round blob about 2 1/2 inches across.

Place the buns on a lightly buttered or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until noticeably puffy.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Brush the buns with about half of the melted butter and bake until golden, 18 to 22 minutes. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the remaining melted butter, which will lend the buns a satiny, buttery crust. Place the buns on a wire rack to cool completely.

*Note* You can divide the dough into 8 equal pieces for larger buns or into 24 small pieces for slider buns. Adjust baking time accordingly.

Pulled Buffalo Chicken
Makes about 8 cups

6 chicken breast halves (about 4 pounds)
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) hot sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot)
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Put all the ingredients in a crock pot on low for 8 hours. Remove the meat and use two forks to shred it. Return to the crock pot and continue to cook for another hour to help soak up the juices and create more of a sauce.


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