Friday, January 17, 2020

keto burgers: qu'est-ce que c'est?

I left my keto burger buns in a Ziploc bag overnight, knowing that this would have the effect of softening the bread's impossibly hard crust. Sometime after midnight last night (so I guess, technically, very early this morning), I took the buns out and slathered them with mayo (bottom half of each bun) and homemade fromage à l'ail et aux fines herbes (top half of each bun). I layered pickles on the bottom halves of the buns, then microwaved two frozen, pre-cooked burger patties and two strips of thick-cut bacon until crispy. The result is below:

Visually, the assembled burgers didn't look that bad. Taste-wise, they weren't that bad, either, although I knew I was in violation of the "don't eat late at night" rule of thumb (there's apparently some disagreement as to whether eating just before sleeping is actually bad for you). The problem was the consistency of the bread, which proved to be way, way too heavy for hamburger buns. Conclusion: this bread recipe is fine for making dense loaves that you can slice thinly, the way Joe Duff does in his recipe video, but it's no good at all as a replacement for light, fluffy hamburger buns. Getting through those burgers last night was an actual chore, even for a big, high-stomach-capacity guy like me.

So the upshot is that I actually kind of like the fathead-dough recipe, but I now know that it was never meant for anything remotely like thick-breaded sandwiches. I could, in theory, use the bread to make crostinis and things like that (in fact, I'm already visualizing a lox-and-cream-cheese scenario), but as for hamburgers... never again. I need to find a light and fluffy keto-dough recipe, and I think I've already seen several that actually use yeast and involve proofing, which leads to a puffier texture. The problem is that this will mean buying yet more esoteric ingredients like chia seeds and so on. I already have psyllium-husk powder, which some of the recipes use. I could also continue to use this recipe, but I'd have to shape the bread into something substantially thinner. Another possibility is that I can experiment with the current recipe in an attempt to find a lighter, fluffier version of it, but I don't know how a recipe that's so cheese-heavy can be made less dense. Most likely, I'll switch recipes and go with a yeast-y alternative. More on this as it happens.


Charles said...

"...then microwaved two frozen burger patties..."


Kevin Kim said...

Sorry. I should have specified that these were handmade patties that I had stored in the freezer, not that pre-stamped shit you can buy at Costco. Or is the problem that I froze the patties to begin with? 'Cause I do that all the time, man. After all, if I make eight burger patties, I won't be eating all eight in one sitting!

Kevin Kim said...

Or is the problem the microwaving? If so, then unsubscribe to your heart's content. The ideal way to reheat frozen burger patties is via sous vide, I should think, but I don't live in an ideal world.

Charles said...

Wait, so did you cook them and then freeze them, or did you freeze them raw? I was thinking that you froze them raw and then thawed and cooked them in the microwave. Your use of the word "reheat," though, would seem to indicate that they were fully cooked before they went into the freezer--in which case, yeah, I guess zapping them works.

(Although I was mostly just trying to post a humorous comment. It seemed like a funny thing to say at the time.)

Kevin Kim said...

Just to be clear, I'd never cook a burger from a raw state in a four à micro-ondes. It'd dry out before it was done cooking. I'm sure you already know this, so I hope you'll give me credit for knowing that, too. A lot of commenters seem to assume I'm just stupid, and it's the tacit presumption of stupidity that motivates them to comment. But since I was apparently unclear in my post, I'll go back and rewrite that part so that misinterpretation is impossible.

Eggs, for what it's worth, don't come out too badly in the microwave if you're gentle with the temperature and the handling. (My buddy Mike rebels against this notion.) And raw bacon—as my uncle taught me—is made for microwaving. Two slices of thick-cut bacon in my microwave, zapped with high heat for 3 minutes = crispy perfection. (Wrap your rashers in thick paper towels for easy cleanup.)

John Mac said...

Hmm. I admire your steadfastness is the search for an alternative bread. I just gave it up and ate my burgers as patties. Which meant I ate burgers a lot less often because it ain't a burger without a bun!

Confession: I've never tried cooking raw bacon in the microwave before. Just didn't occur to me. Guess what I'm having for breakfast this morning...

Charles said...

No assumption of stupidity! I was just working off of a mistaken assumption (that the frozen patties would be raw). Thus my surprise.

I am skeptical on the eggs, though. Are we talking poached here? Or maybe a steamed eggs sort of dish? What is your technique/equipment/etc.? In my experience, one thing microwaves are not good at is temperature regulation, so I'm curious how you manage that. Is there some secret to getting good eggs from the microwave? Enquiring minds want to know! Unless by "don't come out too badly" you mean "are edible, but only just."

I've never tried bacon in the microwave, but it makes sense. I will have to give it a shot sometime, though. I imagine it would be a pretty good way getting rid of some of the grease. Is there a lot of popping and exploding?

Kevin Kim said...


The bacon will continue to sizzle a bit when it comes out of the microwave, but that dies down quickly enough.

Uncle John's technique was a lot neat-freakier than what I've ended up doing. (Uncle John is my mother's younger brother.) What he originally taught me to do was to wrap each slice of bacon in an inner layer of paper towel and an outer layer of newspaper, presumably to minimize the amount of grease getting all over your microwavable container. My version of his technique dispenses with the newspaper.

You do have to be careful about overcooking for the same reason you have to be careful when microwaving popcorn: the paper might burn if left in too long. Then again, burning paper isn't a problem unless the bacon itself is beyond crispy and has started charring, i.e., the paper doesn't burn until the meat starts burning. I've microwaved five slices of bacon for over six minutes with no problem.

Kevin Kim said...


For microwave scrambled eggs (the very thing old-school Mike rebels against), you just 'wave the eggs in short bursts on medium heat, stirring between bursts to get even heating. There's always a tiny bit of collateral damage in the form of a thin layer of egg that won't peel off the sides of your container, but that's a minor problem.

Flavor and texture can become issues if your bursts last too long. The eggs can become nasty-rubbery, and their flavor can curdle into something unpleasant. Keep the bursts at around 30 seconds, and this danger can be avoided. Also keep in mind that, as you know, the eggs will continue to cook once taken out of the microwave, so removing them when they're slightly underdone is okay.

My favorite thing to do is to make scrambled eggs mixed with shredded cheese, salt, and pepper.