Monday, July 9, 2012

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Beautiful homemade Hamburger buns

You probably think that I have the time of the world, you probably think that I live thousands of miles away from a grocery store and you probably think that I am crazy. To answer you: No, No and No (well may be the answer to the last one is yes). Making your own hamburger buns from scratch is by no means a time consuming task, especially if you have the right tools. Actually, your work will be done in 10 - 15 mins,
the rest is the work of yeast. I have many grocery stores with 2 miles radius but none sell a tasty organic version. Making things from scratch allows me to control the quality of the food and what is in it. We prefer to eat organic food if available, but sometimes organic alternatives are either not available or not tasty or very expensive. The homemade hamburger buns are tasty and can be organic if you wish so. I also love the fact that my almost 3 year daughter loves cooking and whenever I am making any kind of dough..she always request some to play with on the kitchen counter and she always asks for extra flour in a bowl!

Alya my daughter working with sticky dough

This is my second trial at making them, the first time did not have a happy ending. The dough did not do well in the second rise. I ended up with flat burger buns which were a bit too sweet to our taste. The first time I used dry yeast from a big opened package that was not stored in the freezer, so I am suspecting that the yeast did not do its magic although I proofed it in warm water. This time I used instant yeast in single use package. After the first failure, I called King Arthur helpline and the baker who assisted me said that the yeast could be the culprit. I always had yeast anxiety. Yeast scares me, the second rise scares me the most and still does. Yeast should be stored in an airtight container in the freezer if the packaging is open. I also reduced the sugar amount just enough to make it to our taste and not compromise the interaction with yeast. I hope I did not scare you, give it a try.

1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 packets active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 cups warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
sesame, poppy or caraway seeds or coarse salt (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400°F
*We give you this fairly wide variation for a couple of reasons. First, you'll find in the summer that you'll need a bit more flour to absorb a given amount of liquid than you will in the winter. This is because it's humid and flour acts somewhat like a slightly dampened sponge as a result.

Second, this particular dough should be quite slack, i.e., very relaxed in order to make soft and tender buns. So you want to add only enough more flour, past the 6-cup point, to make the dough just kneadable; sprinkling only enough more to keep it from sticking to you or the board.


Mixing and Kneading: In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt and 1 1/2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Now exchange the paddle with the dough hook.
Gradually add the rest of the flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and you have a smooth, elastic dough.(around 5-8 minutes)

Rising: Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

The dough after kneading and before the first rise
The same dough after the first rise
Shaping: Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 9 equal pieces. This is done easily by dividing the dough first into thirds, then those thirds into thirds. 

Alya claimed the 9th piece of dough
Shape each piece into a ball and flatten the balls into 3 1/2-inch disks. For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half inch apart so they'll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them three inches apart.
The shaped dough ready for the second rise

Second Rising: Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. 
The same dough after the second rise
Baking: Fifteen minutes before you want to bake your buns, preheat your oven to 400°F. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with whatever seeds strike your fancy. 

The dough ready to be glazed with egg wash and sprinkled with sesame seeds
Ready to be baked!
Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°F. (A dough thermometer takes the guesswork out of this.)

When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.

A happy ending!
This recipe does not yield to very puffy hamburger buns, but they are by far more delicious than store bought and again, mine were organic with no preservatives and chemical additions and cheaper.

N.B. The original recipe called for a baking time of 20 minutes, but I noticed that mine were a bit too crispy, so next time I will aim for less baking time.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 5, May-June 1992 issue.


  1. You just redefined homemade burgers.

  2. Your home made buns look absolutely amazing,well done for persevering and keep going - you inspired me to bake my own:)
    many thanks!