September 18th – Cheeseburger Day

The good ol’ US of A loves its Cheeseburger, so much so that on September 18th, they celebrate National Cheeseburger Day! And why wouldn’t they? Americans consume around 50 billion hamburgers a year!

There have been several claims as to who was the original creator of the Cheeseburger. However, the oldest claim belongs to 16-year-old Lionel Sternberger. A young Lionel was said to have added a slice of cheese onto a cooking hamburger at his father’s sandwich shop, the “Rite Spot” in Pasadena, California, in 1924. Dad was so impressed, he added the burger to the menu and dubbed the creation the ‘Aristocratic Burger.’

According to the McDonald’s Hamburger University, the inventor of the Hamburger itself was an unknown vendor at the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis. The town of Athens, Texas, claims that a local by the name of Fletcher Davis who ran a small cafe on the Henderson County courthouse square in the late 1880s’, was the inventor of the Hamburger. Davis did attend the St. Louis World Fair as a “pottery-turner” representing W. S. Ceramics Co. It is speculated that he used that pass to gain access to the fair to sell his hamburger sandwich on the midway.

Hamburgers started appearing in Australia in the 1930s, typically garnished with lettuce, tomato, and onions. The addition of beetroot and pineapple that defines the iconic Aussie Burger did not occur until the 1940s’ and attributed to the opening of the Edgell and Golden Circle canneries. It has also been suggested that the addition of beetroot and pineapple was a practical joke played on US troops ashore on R&R. If this is true, American’s disdain for beet’s on burgers may be more a matter of National pride than taste? Ironically, if it was a practical joke, it backfired, and now the ‘Aussie Burger’ is stuck with a definitive ingredient for which even Australians are somewhat divided.

The Hamburger holds a special place in my memories. My father raved about a burger he ate on a family holiday to Hawaii in the early 70s’. It was a simple burger; two beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun. He thought it would be popular back home and would great to open that restaurant here. Mum dismissed it as another of Dad’s stupid ideas. But I often wonder how life would look now had Dad been one of Melbourne’s first McDonalds franchisees? But my fondest memory is of my Grandfather’s burgers (or Grumps, as we liked to call him); he was a regular grill master. I can still see Grumps flipping burgers in his elaborate outdoor kitchen as we frolicked in the pool on those long Summer days. Good times!

In honour of the great American Cheeseburger, I present my Bacon Double Cheeseburger.

Hamburger Rolls

Ingredients
  • 7 g / 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 45 ml butter, melted
  • 500 g Type ‘00’ flour
  • 20 g salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Olive oil
Method

1. Add yeast, 70g flour and water to mixing bowl. Wisk to combine. Allow to stand 10 to 15 minutes until mixture is frothy.

2. Add caster sugar, egg and salt to mixture. Wisk to combine.

3. Sift remaining flour to mixture, one cup at a time. Mixing mixture with a dough hook as you go. Once all flour has been added, mix for 10 minutes.

4. Remove dough from bowl. Lightly coat dough with olive oil. Place dough back in bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place and let stand for about 2 hours until dough has doubled in size.

5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Gently pat down to remove bubbles. Divide into 6 equal portions and form into a ball.

6. Pat and stretch each portion into disc shapes, about 2.5cm thick. Place discs on to baking paper, cover loosely with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place and let stand until dough has doubled in size.

7. Preheat oven to 190 degrees (375 degrees F.)

8. To add sesame seeds, lightly brush each disc with a mixture of egg white from 1 egg and 2 tbls of water wisked together. Sprinkle sesame seeds over buns. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes, gently brush buns with melted butter.

9. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes.

Hamburger Patties

Ingredients
  • 1 kg Beef mince
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small granny smith apple
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g bread crumbs
  • 1 tbls paprika
  • 1 tbls garlic powder
  • 1 tbls mixed herbs
  • 1 tbls salt
  • 1 tbls tomato sauce
  • 2 tbls Worcestershire Sauce
Method

1. Add grated carrot, grated apple, roughly chopped onion, bread crumbs, herbs, spices and sauces to a food processor. Process until smooth.

2. Combine mixture with cold beef mince and eggs.

3. Form patties approx 2 cm thick. (Tip. Use an egg ring as a guide for consistent sized patties.)

4. Place on tray lined with baking paper, cover with plastic film, and allow to rest in refrigerator for about 1 hour.

5. Cook in frying pan or on flat grill until the patties are browned and caramelised.

TIP: To avoid sticking in pan, line pan with a small sheet of baking paper

To Construct Bacon Double Cheeseburger

1. Cook bacon until crispy. Sit aside on paper towel.

2. Half buns and lightly toast the cut side under grill.

3. Cook hamburger pattie and top with a 2 slices of Gruyere cheese, cook until melted.

4. Add tomato sauce and American mustard to top and bottom halves of toasted roll.

5. On the bottom roll, place 2 hamburger patties, top with crispy bacon, pickled cucumber, and thinly sliced onion. Place other half of roll on top… enjoy!

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