My family’s favorite Sloppy Joe recipe is based on one from the Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book from 1961. (I love this cook book. They use lard.) They call it “barbeque hamburger mix”. The original recipe calls for four pounds of ground beef and makes 30-40 sandwiches. Sometimes I make a whole batch, sometimes I cut it in half. In either case, the leftovers (if there are any) freeze and reheat well.
Sloppy Joe recipe
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
4 pounds ground beef
14 oz ketchup (can use homemade/lacto-fermented)
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar or rapidura
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon Lawry’s Salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Saute onion in butter. Add ground beef; brown lightly. Drain off excess fat. Add rest of ingredients and simmer covered 30 minutes. Use to fill 30 to 40 hamburger buns.
To serve the sloppy Joes, I make homemade buns using a recipe that is very similar to my mom’s favorite bread recipe. This variation is sized to fit in a bread machine, so if you have a bread machine you may use it to mix up the dough without worrying that it will overflow as it rises. I normally use my Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine and mix up a double batch at one time. That way I have enough dough to make two loaves of bread plus one dozen hamburger buns. Most of the time I make sourdough bread, but I like this recipe for when I need something quick and my starter isn’t active. I figure it’s still better than the majority of what’s available in the grocery store, even if it’s not soaked or fermented.
Hamburger Bun Dough
1 egg plus enough water to equal 1 1/3 cups
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar (Could use honey instead, but the dough will be more sticky)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour (I used half organic white bread flour and half fresh ground hard white winter wheat. You could use 100% whole wheat, but the dough will be heavier.)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast or 1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
Place all ingredients in mixer or bread machine and mix for 6-8 minutes, until ingredients are well mixed and gluten has had a chance to develop. If mixing by hand, blend all ingredients except flour. Add flour one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. (You may need to adjust the amount of flour based on humidity conditions.) When dough is stiff enough to mix by hand, dump onto a well-floured counter and knead for 5-10 minutes.
A double batch covers the bottom of the Bosch.
Cover and let rise for 20 minutes. Punch down dough, let rise until double in size. This batch got a little past double, but that’s okay.
Divide dough into desired number of buns and loaves and shape accordingly. Remember, the bread will rise again and double in size. Cover with a clean dish cloth and place in a warm location until it doubles in size. Note: I line my baking pans with super parchment reusable parchment paper to prevent sticking and any transfer of materials from my well-used pans. I grease my bread pans with locally rendered lard. (New bread pans are on the wish list.)
Here’s the bread ready to go in the oven. Notice the size change.
Bake buns around 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, until lightly browned. Bake bread at 350 degrees F for around 30 minutes.
Cool on wire rack before slicing (if you can wait that long). Cutting hot bread will allow steam to escape and dry out the loaf of bread, but sometimes they disappear so fast it doesn’t really matter.
And that’s all there’s to it. I usually start the bread in the early afternoon and it’s done by supper time. My boys are old enough to make the meat by themselves (this is a good recipe to introduce kids to cooking). With the bread machine or mixer I can multi-task more easily, but it’s not that much more work to do it by hand if needed.
This dough can also be shaped into buns for hot dogs or brats.
What are your family’s favorite recipes? How do you get your kids to cook?