The Perfect Burger Bun

Who ever thought I would go to the trouble to make hamburger buns at home?  And then, who would have thought that after having found a recipe I really did like, I would continue to search for a truly perfect bun?  Not I, though Ben is probably less surprised.  But here I am, and the search is over.  Thanks to Deb at Smitten Kitchen for doing all the real work of the search, all I really had to do was enjoy the spoils.  Ben teased me for making burger buns the first time around, but I think now he understands why it is worthwhile.  These buns are truly fabulous.  It’s not easy to describe just what it is that makes them the perfect burger bun – the sturdy but light texture, the subtle sweetness, the golden crust for starters.

These really weren’t any more difficult to make than any other yeast bread or sandwich bun I’ve made before.  The only road bump was that after the second rise, I checked the shaped rolls to find that they had spread and expanded so much that they had filled the whole baking pan.  I was so frustrated and was ready to throw in the towel, but in an effort to save them, I just reshaped the rolls, topped them and popped them in the oven.  It worked out perfectly and they were delicious.  So either keep a very close eye on them during the second rise or just reshape them.  Either way, it will be fine and they will be great!

If you are looking for some ideas of what to put on these buns, here are some of our favorite burgers:
Salmon Burgers
The Perfect Hamburger
Chicken Parmesan Burgers
Stuffed Italian Burgers

Stay tuned for another great burger to put between these buns tomorrow!

Light Brioche Burger Buns
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3 tbsp. warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. instant yeast
2½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

For topping:
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash
Sesame seeds

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, water, yeast, sugar, salt and egg.  Mix briefly to combine.  Add the flours to the bowl, and mix until incorporated.  Mix in the butter.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 6-8 minutes.  The dough will be somewhat tacky, but you want to avoid adding too much extra flour which will create tough buns.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal parts.  Gently roll each portion of dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet, 2-3 inches apart.  Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise again, 1-2 hours, until puffed up and nearly doubled.

Set a large metal pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 400˚ F with a rack in the center.  Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Source: adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Comme Ça via The New York Times

50 Responses

  1. great looking buns. 😉

  2. Wow – I never even thought to make my own – I will have to try this! I love making bread!

  3. These buns have been on my “to make” list of a good long time now and I keep being reminded of the great recipe!
    Yours looks perfect!

  4. i’ve made these many times and absolutely love them! they are so good with BBQ pulled pork also. sturdy enough to withstand the sauce.

    you are right though, they do like to spread during the 2nd rise.

  5. My husband’s favorite food on earth is cheeseburgers. I only see this enhancing his love for them. Thanks!

  6. That’s funny that you posted this recipe this morning. I was about to make them on Saturday and and thought you had posted a hamburger bun recipe ages ago but when I went to look for it I couldn’t find it. We had store bought instead. I’ll definately have to try these soon. Thanks for posting!

  7. Wow! Those do look just perfect! I will have to try these during grilling season! 🙂

  8. Wow….you are brave!! I think I’d be too afraid to attempt hamburger buns but these look so yummy I just might step out of my comfort zone!!

  9. I’ve made these buns before for the fourth of July, in fact. They really are good. So good that my friends forgot about the innards of the burger and focused on the bread. Lovely photo!

  10. That picture of the bun sliced in half looks amazing 🙂 Great work, Annie! I’m not sure if I am that ambitious…. but maybe I’ll have to give it a try. Ohhh and I just clicked on your link to the chicken + parmesan burgers…. YUMMY!

  11. Yum I love hamburger buns! But I always want burgers and am too lazy to make my own buns. Ill have to try these out one weekend

  12. These look so plush and pillow-y. Yum

  13. I’ve really been getting into bread baking here lately and have been wanting to try making my own sandwich buns. Thanks for this recipe!

  14. Is a stand mixer necessary for this, or can you do the mixing with a hand mixer, and the kneading with hands? I’d like to give bread-making a shot and keep getting dissuaded by all the stand mixer talk!

    • Diane,
      Yes, any bread recipe can be made by hand – I just prefer the stand mixer because it is easier and I get better results. You can check Smitten Kitchen’s version (link at the bottom of my post) for instructions by hand.

    • These work for sure! I’ve made them since I found them on SmittenKitchen’s blog. But I followed the New York Times recipe the second time (not adding ANY flour at all when you’re kneading) so that they come out fluffy! That worked so well.

      To Diane: I have the very powerful Cuisinart 1,000 Watt stand mixer, but I knead every bread I make by hand. I always wanted to get into bread making by hand…I guess I like slapping that dough around, it’s very distressing. You can take any recipe at all and just do it by hand.

      Annie, this is really one of the best blogs around. I love reading your posts!

  15. So, I think in the recipe there should be some water. I made the recipe as it is written, and the dough never came together. Is there a liquid missing?

    • Rachelle,
      Yes, I’m so sorry. Actually, the exact same thing happened to me because Deb only has the water listed in the text of the recipe but not the ingredient list. I missed it when I retyped it. I have corrected it now.

  16. I agree! I made these a couple of weeks ago and they were great! I’m not even a bread maker and they were easy and delicious.

  17. I will get to these in a while!

  18. I made these a few weeks ago for a big burger night and WOW. They truly elevated burger night into a spectacular feast.

  19. A muffin top pan makes a great hamburger bun pan! I am going to try your recipe using the pan. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. Those are spectacular! I never thought I’d say that about hamburger buns!

  21. I have been getting lots of ground meat from my meat CSA, so I need some appropriately delicious buns to pair with the amazing burgers I have been making. These look great!

  22. I have been wanting to make my own burger buns for some time now, but have always been somewhat nervous about it! Now that I’ve recently started making bread at home, I think I’m ready for this next step. Brioche buns–sounds amazing!

  23. These look just perfect. I annot imagine a better roll!. The baking of these scares me a little, but I have copied the recipe to give them a go 🙂

  24. I seriously must make!

  25. I just made a batch and they turned out pretty good. I think I added a bit too much flour and they came out a little tough (like you said). I’m not really sure how it happened though, cause I only added 2 more tablespoons to the dough. I’ll definitely have to try again and when I do I need to learn your trick Annie on how you made your looks so cute and perfectly round.

  26. These look fabulous! I think I’ll have to try making them!

  27. I’m wondering if these would work using James Beard’s technique of par-baking so that I can have some in the freezer ready to just pop in the oven for 10 minutes when I need them . . . Guess the only way to find out is to try it, right? 😉

  28. meant to say “de-stressing” not distressing.

  29. I loved these and my family did too. I made them because I didn’t want to go to the store for ONE thing. I’ll definitely make them again. THANKS!

  30. I just made these, WOW! So good. However, every time I make a yeast bread recipe from here, mine are always REALLY wet. I don’t know if its that I used all-purpose flour, that our place is on the cold side… frustrating to say the least, but never the less, amazing buns 🙂

  31. Ignore that, I made a second batch, with bread flour, PERFECT!

  32. I just made these — they look beautiful and they taste wonderful. I can’t believe I made them and they were quite easy! This is a great recipe — thanks for testing and sharing!

  33. I really want to try this recipe – but I have one quick question! Do you know at all how well these keep and/or freeze? Its only my husband and I, as our daughter eats her burger without the bun. I wouldn’t want to go through the time and effort of making them only to make half a batch, but I don’t want to eat burgers for four straight meals either!

    • Annie,
      I find that just about all bread/rolls freeze well and taste pretty much the same after being thawed as they do when made fresh. In fact, we just used some of these burger buns (thawed) tonight!

  34. Annie,
    Made these buns yesterday. They were really easy and wonderful. I also just finished ready about Andrew’s birthday party and decided I wished you were my mother!

  35. This may be a stupid question, but freezing always confuses me. If you were to freeze these to save them, what would you do to make them unfrozen? leave them out on the counter during the day? Or do you suggest popping them into the microwave?

    • I thaw mine in the microwave on low power for a few minutes, and then toast them on the grill. Or, I leave them in the fridge to thaw during the day. The counter works too. Really it’s up to you.

  36. I just made these and, as promised by you and several of these comments, they were incredible! My husband and I both agree that we cannot go back to store-bought buns now! I did attempt to make them with freshly ground whole wheat flour (in place of the bread flour) and they turned out amazing. If there wasn’t a good excuse to have burgers several nights in a row….there is now! Thanks Annie. I LOVE your blog!

  37. Just made these today….terrific! The were so light I didn’t feel like I had eaten a ton of bread. Great BBQ sandwich!
    I froze the extras and will probably make another batch so I can have more in the freezer for “emergencies!”

  38. Any chance you have a perfect whole wheat burger bun? LOL I’m rather inexperienced with breads, but I am pretty sure that you shouldn’t substitute whole wheat flour for bread flour as it will affect the rise and consistency of the bread. Am I wrong?

    • Not yet, but I’ll keep my eye out for one. You’re right, you definitely won’t have the same results by substituting whole wheat flour.

  39. Hi Annie! When you make a double batch do you simple just double all the ingredients??? Thanks! Can’t wait to make these!

  40. Thank you, Annie!!! I have been so intimidated to venture into bread but today I finally did it and all because of you. These buns are wonderful and they came out perfect!! Next…..pita bread.

  41. My husband and I ate these buns last night as I made southwest burgers for dinner. Absolutely amazing! I really don’t think either of us could go back to store-bought burger buns – just perfect.

  42. Just made these, Annie. Great recipe! Will be making much more to keep in the freezer. 🙂 Thank you!

  43. wow, these were so good and easy too! I have such a hard time finding a store bought bun that doesn’t get soggy and these held up to nice juicy sausages and sauerkraut! just wanted to note that I made both hamburger and hot dog buns with this recipe and was able to get 4 hamburger buns and 6 hot dog buns out of one batch. We used 2 tonight and I froze the rest. Thanks for such an awesome recipe!

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