Source of Recipe
by Heston Blumenthal
from Further Adventures in Search of Perfection
In this recipe, Heston uses grams for both solid and liquid measurements for pinpoint accuracy. To weigh liquids, any suitable container can be placed on digital scales and the scales reset to zero.
List of Ingredients
For the pre-ferment
400g/14oz Canadian very strong bread flour
1g/Ľoz fast-action bread yeast
400g/14oz cold water
For the dough
700g/1lb 8ľoz pre-fermented batter
200g/7oz free-range egg yolks (approximately 10 eggs)
60g/2Ľoz water at 20C
400g/14oz Canadian very strong bread flour
100g/3˝oz unrefined caster sugar
70g/2˝oz skimmed milk powder
15g/˝oz table salt
14g/˝oz fast-action yeast (2 sachets)
60g/2Ľoz browned butter, strained and at room temperature
30g/1oz grapeseed oil
35g/1Ľoz Trex, at room temperature (available at supermarkets, Trex is a vegetable fat used for pastry and bread)
For the egg wash
50g/1ľoz whole free-range eggs
20g/ľoz free-range egg yolks
sesame seeds, as needed
For the burgers
625g/1lb 6oz beef chuck
1.2kg/2lb 10Ľoz short-rib meat, minimum 30-day dry-aged
625g/1lb 6Ľoz beef brisket
For the cheese slices
750ml/1 pint 7fl oz Manzanilla sherry
9 garlic cloves
8 black peppercorns
6 sprigs fresh thyme
16g/˝oz sodium citrate (available from chemists)
850g/1lb 14oz Comté cheese
For the tomato concentrate
3kg/6lb 9ľoz tomatoes, very ripe
salt, as needed
For the finished burgers
8 sliced buns
16 cheese slices
grapeseed oil, as needed
8 hamburger patties
table salt, as needed
tomato concentrate, as needed
mustard, as needed
mayonnaise, as needed
pickles, as needed
3 of the reserved tomatoes, each cut into 8 slices
˝ onion, sliced thinly and the rings blanched for 20 seconds in boiling water
1 head crisp lettuce, such as iceberg
You will need the following special equipment: food mixer with dough hook, very coarse sieve, meat grinder, large cast-iron pan, digital probe.
PREPARING THE PRE-FERMENT
1. Tip the flour into your mixing bowl and add the yeast.
2. Using a dough hook, begin mixing on low speed and gradually pour in the water until it has all been added.
3. Continue mixing on medium speed until a very liquid batter has formed.
4. Pour this batter into a clean, dry container (at least four times bigger than the volume of the batter). Cover and leave in a cool place for 24 hours to ferment.
MAKING THE DOUGH
1. After 24 hours, weigh out 700g/1lb 8ľoz of pre-fermented batter and put it in a mixing bowl with a dough hook attachment. Add the egg yolks and the water and begin mixing on a low speed until the dough is homogeneous and very liquid again (approximately two minutes).
2. Sift the flour, sugar, skimmed milk powder, salt and yeast into a separate bowl through a very coarse sieve (this will help prevent them forming lumps when added to the dough). Stir to combine. If a suitable sieve isn't available, simply stir the ingredients together.
3. Gradually add the sifted ingredients to the dough while continuing to mix on slow speed. Once all have been added, increase the speed to medium and mix for another 2-3 minutes. The dough will look very sticky and wet.
4. Brown the butter in a pan until it develops a very nutty aroma, then strain it and discard the butter solids.
5. Add the browned butter, grapeseed oil and Trex to the dough and continue to mix for another 3-4 minutes, until well combined.
6. Stop the mixer and let the dough sit for ten minutes to absorb the water, then continue to mix on medium speed for another four minutes.
7. Cover the dough and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
8. In the meantime, cut a piece of baking parchment to fit a large baking sheet.
9. Cut eight sheets of aluminium foil 50cm/20in long. Fold the sheets of foil in half in the shorter direction, then continue to fold in half until you have an aluminum strip 1cm/˝in wide and 50cm/20in long. Tape one end of the strip to the other with a bit of overlap to form a ring approximately 12cm/5in in diameter. Repeat this process with the other sheets of foil.
10. When the dough has chilled, weigh out eight 85g/3oz portions. Any remaining dough can be wrapped up and frozen to use another time.
11. Lightly flour your hands and quickly roll each piece of dough into a small ball using the palm of your hand. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet and place a foil ring around each one.
12. With wet hands, lightly pat the balls flat, then cover the baking sheet with cling film to prevent the dough from drying out.
13. Set the dough aside in a warm place (between 18-22C), for 1˝-2 hours to let it prove.
14. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 225C/425F/Gas 7, and mix all the ingredients for the egg wash except the sesame seeds.
15. Using wet hands, lightly flatten the dough balls within the foil rings.
16. Just before baking, pour some water into a tray and place at the bottom of the oven to make it lightly steamy. (This will prevent the buns from cracking on the surface and developing too thick a crust).
17. Bake the buns for seven minutes, then remove from the oven and brush the tops with the egg wash. Generously cover each one with sesame seeds.
18. Return to the oven for a further seven minutes, or until the buns are done. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.
MAKING THE BURGERS
1. Cut the chuck into 3 x 3cm/1 x 1in cubes and toss with the salt in a bowl. Cover with cling film and store in the fridge for six hours. The salt will penetrate the meat during this time and begin to draw out some of the moisture.
2. In the meantime, cut the short-rib and brisket meat into 3 x 3cm/1 x 1in cubes and combine the two.
3. Using a meat grinder with a 3mm plate, grind the short-rib and brisket twice. Refrigerate this meat until very cold.
4. Combine the cold ground meat with the cold diced chuck and mix well.
5. Before you begin the final grinding, place two layers of cling film across a chopping board or baking sheet and position under the mouth of the grinder.
6. Using a coarser, 8mm plate, pass the meat mixture through the grinder. This will retain some larger pieces of the chuck.
7. As the meat comes out of the grinder, have a second person use their hands to lay out the strands of meat on the cling film. Try to keep the grain of the individual strands running lengthwise in the same direction without getting tangled together. To do this, start laying the meat down at the edge of the sheet furthest from the grinder and work across to the closest edge.
8. Wrap the meat up tightly in the clingfilm, twisting the ends in opposite directions to form a log shape. Prick a few holes in it with a pin to release any air pockets trapped inside, then continue to twist the ends to tighten until the log is about 12cm/5in in diameter.
9. Wrap the log in another layer of cling film to keep it from coming apart, and refrigerate until needed.
10. When the meat has chilled thoroughly, place the still-wrapped log on a cutting board and use a very sharp knife to cut slices about 150g/5Ľoz in weight. (The cling film helps to keep the meat from falling apart.) Place the finished patties on a baking sheet and refrigerate for later. If you have more patties than you need, they can be individually wrapped at this point and frozen until needed.
11. To finish the patties, take each one between the palms of your hands and gently press into a burger shape the same diameter as the bun and 2cm/ľin thick. Take care to keep the grain of the meat running in the same direction.
12. Cover the burgers with cling film and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them.
MAKING THE CHEESE SLICES
1. Combine the sherry, garlic, peppercorns and thyme in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
2. Remove from heat and allow the ingredients to infuse for ten minutes.
3. Strain the infused sherry, then allow it to cool.
4. Pour 500ml/18fl oz of the cooled and infused sherry into a pan and whisk in the sodium citrate.
5. Shred the cheese and add to the liquid in small amounts, whisking each addition until it melts and you have a very smooth, fondue-like texture.
6. Pour the liquid cheese on to a large sheet of baking parchment and quickly use a spatula to spread it into a layer about 3mm/1/8in thick. Cool completely.
7. Using a circular cutter or a knife, cut pieces about 10cm/4in in diameter and refrigerate until needed.
MAKING THE TOMATO CONCENTRATE
1. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop the pulp and seeds into a bowl. Avoid damaging the central veins, so that the sliced tomatoes retain their form. Reserve some of the tomato halves for garnish.
2. Press the pulp through a very coarse sieve to remove any seeds and large pieces of flesh and core.
3. Pour the liquid into a pan and reduce at a simmer until the liquid takes on a thick, ketchup-like consistency. Stir often as the concentrate thickens, and lower the heat to avoid burning it.
4. Season with a little salt. The taste will be very intense, but when spread on the buns, it will really enhance the meaty flavours of the burger.
ASSEMBLING THE BURGERS
1. Brown the butter until it develops a very nutty aroma, then strain it and discard the butter solids.
2. Slice the buns in half and brush the cut sides with the browned butter. Place under a hot grill to lightly toast them.
3. When the buns have a nice golden colour, remove them and place a cheese slice on each cut side. Set these aside, but keep the grill on.
4. In the meantime, place a large cast-iron pan over a high heat until very hot - about 5-10 minutes.
5. Drizzle a layer of the oil into the pan, then add the patties, being careful not to overcrowd them.
6. Flip the patties every 30 seconds. This helps create a wonderful crust and even heat gradient, mimicking the action of a rotisserie, which helps to get edge-to-edge, medium-rare meat while still forming a nice seared crust.
7. When a crust has formed on both sides, usually after about two minutes (the patties will be rare; if you prefer them more cooked, increase the cooking time), remove the burgers from the pan one at a time and use a digital probe to check the temperature. If the meat is above 52C, transfer the burgers to a warm place to rest. Keep the pan hot.
8. Finish the buns by placing them back under the grill until the cheese slices have melted.
9. Remove the buns from the oven and spread with some of the tomato concentrate, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, sliced tomatoes, blanched onions and lettuce.
10. To finish, brush the burgers with the browned butter and quickly sear both sides of them in the hot pan for about 15 seconds. Remove from the pan and blot any excess juice with kitchen paper. Place the burgers on the prepared buns, sandwich together and serve right away.
Preparation time overnight
Cooking time 1 to 2 hours