Fresh carrot juice gives these buns a rich golden colour, extra flavour, and sweetness, and helps to keep them soft for several days. You could use other vegetable juices here, like tomato, beetroot, or a mixture, and a home-juicing machine makes this very easy. Otherwise, you can often buy fresh vegetable juices at the supermarket.
But the heart of these delicious buns is the flours used, and a combination of Matthews 100% Canadian Strong White Flour, and Matthews Organic Wholemeal Flour, will give these buns a combination of softness and lightness while adding more bran flavour via the wholemeal. Extra-strong flour, with its higher protein content, is useful in dough mixes that contain butter, bran, vegetable juices (that contain fibre) that would otherwise soften the dough and produce a less-buoyant rise.
You need to leave the dough somewhere quite warm while it rises and especially once shaped (buns loose warmth easily), and for this the Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer was a star, keeping the buns extra warm during their last rise, and helping make the fluffiest tastiest burger buns in town.
If you're wondering what to tuck inside these buns then check out our Root Vegetable Fritters, packed with plant power and flavour.
Makes eight buns
Three things to set up first. Make the yeast mix by pouring the warm water into a cup then sprinkle on the yeast, stir well and leave until everything else is ready.
Next juice your carrots, weigh the juice (you can top up with cold water if you don’t have enough) then whisk in the salt and egg. Leave this to one side.
Put the two flours in a mixing bowl and pour in the boiling water in slurps, and mix it around with a fork. It’ll look lumpy but that’s exactly the idea: some of the flour will get gelatinized by the boiling water, and some wont, and this will help give you buns extra softness.
Add the yeast and carrot juice mixes, then mix everything together to a soft dough. Here a stand mixer is very helpful. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes in a mixer) then add the butter in small cubes and mix for a further 4-5 minutes or until the butter is mixed through and the dough is smooth and elastic.
Leave to rise somewhere warm, at about 28C, for about an hour until almost doubled in volume (ideally a bit less than that). Divide the dough into eight pieces about 100g each, and shape into balls. Cover and leave on the worktop for 20 minutes then roll each ball slightly flat, to about 2cm thick (or slightly thinner) and place on two baking trays – four buns on each – lined with non-stick baking paper. Leave somewhere warm to rise for about an hour: I use the Brod & Taylor box set at 35C, with the rack in the base and warm water in the steaming tray.
Mix the egg wash ahead of time: whisk the egg using a fork in cup with the salt, this helps it to break down. Then whisk in the sugar and water. This will give you a very thin, easy-to-brush wash that colours quickly with the added sugar, and doesn’t taste too “eggy”. Then roast your sesame seeds while you’re heating your oven, this will make them look better on the buns and taste more delicious.
Heat the oven to 180C fan. Brush the buns with the egg wash, sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds then bake for about 15 – 18 minutes until golden, better to err on the side of under-baking for maximum softness. Leave until cold then bag immediately to avoid them during. They freeze very well.