Home-made burgers in soft white rolls

This is the recipe I made for Pallab Ghosh’s science report for the BBC on in vitro meat. 

Don’t be discouraged by the length – it’s actually 2 recipes on one page - burgers and the rolls.  Both are very easy to make and the burger mix takes no time at all. 

The rolls freeze well, so can be baked ahead, and the burgers can be mixed, shaped and chilled a few hours before they’re needed.  The burgers also barbecue well.

This recipe for soft white rolls makes 8 rolls and comes from my book National Trust Simply Baking.  

Serves 4

For the soft white rolls

100ml tepid water

2 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast

500g organic plain white flour, plus extra for dusting

1˝ teaspoons sea salt

170ml tepid full-fat milk, plus extra for glazing

For the lamb burgers

2 tablespoons olive oil + oil for cooking

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 Thai chilli, finely chopped with seeds (or to taste)

3-4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Finely grated zest of one lemon

400g organic minced lamb

salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Unsalted butter to taste

1 red onion, finely sliced

3-4 small ripe tomatoes

4 inner romaine lettuce leaves


1 To make the rolls: put the tepid water in a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and mix thoroughly.  Leave for 10 minutes or until it has dissolved, smells of fresh yeast and looks frothy.  Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Add the frothy yeast, rinse the yeast bowl with the milk and mix into the flour.  It should form a sticky dough, but if necessary add a little more tepid water as different flours will absorb different amounts of water.


2 Turn out on to a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes.  Don’t worry if it seems ridiculously sticky at first: it will become soft and silky as you knead it.


3 Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.  Knock back by briefly kneading, and leave to rest for 10 minutes.


4 Lightly dust 2 baking sheets with flour.  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball then gently shape each into a flat round about 1cm thick.  Place on the baking sheets.  Lightly brush each roll with milk and sift a little extra flour over each.  Leave to rise, uncovered, for a further 30-45 minutes or until well risen and puffy.  Preheat the oven to fan 200°C/gas 7.


5 Bake for 15 minutes or until well risen and lightly coloured.  Tap the bottom of a roll: if it sounds hollow, it is cooked.  Leave to cool on a wire rack.  If you like your rolls really soft, cover with a tea towel while they cool.  Be warned, these are very moreish.  You can freeze once cold.


6 To make the burgers: Set a small frying pan over a medium low heat.  Once hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and as soon as its warm, mix in the finely diced onion, garlic and chilli.  Fry for 10 minutes or until soft and golden, then tip into a mixing bowl.


7 Add the parsley, lemon zest, minced lamb, salt and pepper to the bowl.  Wash you hands and, using one hand, mix and beat the burger mixture until it feels well mixed and bound together. 


8 Return the small frying pan to a high heat.  Take a tiny patty of the meat and fry for about a minute on each side.  Once cooked through, remove, cool and taste.  If necessary, adjust the seasoning of your burger mix. 


9 When you’re happy, divide the seasoned minced meat into 4 even-sized lumps.  Roll each into a ball, then on a clean plate, shape and pat into a burger.  Place each on a plate lined with greaseproof paper. Cover with paper and chill until needed.


10 When ready to eat, either brush each burger with olive oil and barbecue over a medium high heat for about 5 minutes on each side or preheat a non-stick frying pan, on a medium high heat.  Add about 3 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and fry the burgers for 5 minutes per side for medium well cooked or until cooked to your liking.  If cooking on a barbecue, turn regularly and move if necessary to stop the coals from flaring.


11 To serve:  cut open 4 soft rolls, butter one half, top with a hot burger and add sliced onion and tomato to taste.  Rip each lettuce leaf in half, place on the other half of each roll.  Sandwich together each roll and serve with paper napkins.







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