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If you’re looking to elevate your burger (or any of your favourite sandwich fillings), these delicious homemade hamburger buns are a great place to start. They are so light in texture and high in flavour. The best buns ever! So soft, pillowy and airy, vaguely sweet, perfect for any sandwich.
These simple hamburger buns will give your burgers extra flavour and better texture than store-bought buns.
While you probably won’t want to make your buns when cooking burgers for 20+ people, they’re worth the “effort” when cooking for a smaller number of people.
These buns are easy to make; the dough is super soft and easy to work with. You can either make them using bun rings or freeform. They can be scaled to any size you like and freeze exceptionally well.
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- 1 ½ cups Milk - or 1 ½ cups water + ¼ cup dry milk
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 3 cups Bread flour
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- 1 ½ tsp Active dry yeast
- 1 egg - or 1 yolk or 1 egg white, whisked with 1-2 tablespoons cold water
- Sesame seeds - or other options of your choice
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Using the dough setting and hand shaping
- Place ingredients into the bread pan following the recipe order or following the order and method specified in the manual of your Bread Maker.
- Use the dough setting.
- Check the dough consistency during the kneading cycle. If needed, add more flour or liquid.
- Remove the dough from the bread machine when the dough setting finishes.
- Divide dough into small balls or your desired shape (see notes).
- Place buns in lightly greased pans or parchment-lined baking sheets. Leave plenty of room between each bun.
- Cover with a dry towel and allow rising in a warm place until it doubles in volume, for about 45-90 min.
Brush the buns (optional)
- You can optionally brush the buns with melted butter.
- Add water (or olive oil or cream or milk) to a small bowl, and then add your cracked fresh egg (or egg white or yolk).
- Whip the egg and water together using a fork or whisk until it is thoroughly blended.
- Using a pastry brush, immediately apply a thick layer of egg wash to the rolls ready to bake. Be sure the egg wash is wet – don’t let it dry before adding the bread to the oven.
- To make seeded buns, brush the egg mixture over the melted butter; it'll make the seeds adhere.
- Sprinkle buns with the seeds or toppings of your choice.
- Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF.
- Bake it until golden for about 12 (smaller buns) to 30 (bigger buns) minutes.
- I use a thermometer to test for doneness. Insert into the centre of the bread. It should register 93ºC/200ºF.
- Rotate the pans halfway through baking.
- Remove immediately from pans and let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Leaving them on the pan to cool could result in a soggy bottom crust.
Melted butter (Optional)
- If you want, brush with melted butter, giving the buns a satiny, buttery crust. If you've made seeded buns, apply the melted butter carefully to avoid brushing the seeds off the buns.
- Use as a base for burgers (meat or plant-based) or any favourite sandwich filling.
The dough can also be made using a mixer.Knead the dough with the dough hook for about 8-10 minutes on a low setting. When kneading by hand: about 10-12 minutes. Before shaping the buns, let them rise covered for about an hour or until about doubled in size in a lightly greased bowl.
Scaling the recipe for larger or smaller bunsTo shape the buns, gently deflate the dough and divide it into equal pieces.
You can make these in whatever size you like. To figure out the weight of each bun, weigh the whole batch of dough, then divide by the number of buns you want to give you the dough weight of each ball. Weigh them out separately, and you will have identically sized rolls!
- For reasonably big (about 10cm/4” diameter) burger buns, each should weigh in at about 85-115g/3-4oz worth of dough.
- 60-85g/2-3oz for smaller (about 7.5cm/3” diameter) ones.
- If you prefer huge buns, go up to 155g/5.5oz.
Shaping the bunsThere is a technique for creating surface tension (tightness on the top of the ball). This tension encourages the dough to rise higher while making a lovely smooth top.
- Stretch the top to create a smooth top.
- Flip over, stretch the sides towards the centre, and pinch together.
- Do this all around the edges until the sides are smooth.
- Flip the ball over, so your pinched part is down.
Can Burger Buns be made without ring moulds?Yes. I don’t use them, and it works perfectly. Just shape each bun into a tight ball and space it well apart on a baking sheet.
Optional toppingsAdd sesame seeds, dried onion, parsley, poppy seeds or whatever you like! Add them on just after you add the egg wash. Just keep in mind if you add anything salty, you should eat the buns that day as the salt will make the baked bread go a little soggy and wrinkly.
Why are sesame seeds most commonly found on hamburger buns?They make the bun more interesting than just a plain bun. They do add a touch of crunch They add a nutty, sweet taste, but in a light way. Since sesame isn’t a strong flavour in the first place, and the seeds fall off relatively easily, they’re mainly there to make the bun look better.
Optional egg washTo make the most beautiful burger buns, you can use an egg wash for a nice shiny and golden top, sprinkled with sesame seeds, dried onion, parsley, or poppy seeds. Without the egg wash (or other options), you would end up with a lightly coloured bun. The egg wash, melted butter, or baking soda solution is to help the sesame seeds (or other toppings) stick and assists with browning the buns. To make an egg wash, mix one egg (or egg yolk) with 1 tablespoon of water (or milk). Just before popping them in the oven, brush the mixture over the tops of the buns, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, dried onion, parsley, "everything" mix, or poppy seeds. Note: Be sure to brush the egg wash on the dough evenly and thoroughly, getting all around the bun and right to the bottom. Any bare spots left from brushing will leave pale spots on the finished burger buns.
Other optionsThere are a few other ways to have a golden-brown bun:
- Melt some butter and brush it over the top of each bun. The butter helps give the buns a golden-brown finish as it bakes. If you want to add sesame seeds to your buns, the butter will also hold them in place.
- Mix some baking soda and water. The baking soda and water help brown the buns due to the alkalinity of the baking soda. Brush that solution over the buns, and it will also give the buns a golden-brown finish.
- Milk alone has been used as well.
How to know when the dough is ready to bake?When you make bread, it is essential to go by how the dough is behaving and not just the time in the recipe. While the recipe is an excellent general guide, the starting temperature of your dough, the weather, and the temperature of your room can affect how fast it rises. The best way to tell that dough is ready to bake is to poke it gently with your finger. If it springs back straight away, it is not yet ready. If your finger leaves a slight indentation that bounces back slightly, you know it is ready to bake.
How to tell if you have over-proofed your dough?Either you leave them proofing too long, or you forget about your buns rising, and they overproof. This means the yeast produces all the gas it is capable of making while doing the second proof, and it has nothing to give in the oven. It's sad, but it happens. If you have over-proofed your dough, they will probably deflate while egg washing them. Then, the over-proofed dough doesn't do much in the oven as there is no gas to rise the bread. They should still taste fine; they might just be a bit saggy.
Why did my buns wrinkle when they came out of the oven?This happens with a super soft dough. If you are using the rings, then they might get a little fold around the edge, and the crust might get a little wrinkly. It's all good. You didn't do anything wrong. You just made a really soft bun.
Can you make the buns ahead of time?If you would like to get a head start on making these buns, you can do the first rise overnight. Remember that the fridge is your friend when you are working with yeasted dough - if for some reason, the dough is going to be risen before you need it, you can pop it in the fridge to slow down the rising time. I tested this overnight, but you could probably do as little as 3 hours in the fridge if you wanted to make the dough in the morning for later in the day. I try not to leave the dough in the fridge for more than 24 hours as the yeast starts to lose its rising power. You should be able to shape the dough into buns straight from the fridge but leave it to stand for about 30 minutes if it feels a little firm. Remember starting with the cold dough will mean you need to add some time onto the second rise. Go by how the dough looks, not the time in the recipe. It all depends on your starting dough temperature and the environment.
How to store the bunsThese are best enjoyed on the day they are made, but it is perfectly fine to store and enjoy later. Store the homemade buns in an airtight container, zip lock bag or wrapped in foil at room temperature for up to 3-5 days. Avoid short-term refrigeration, as this will dry them out. Freeze for longer storage.
How to freeze bunsWrap the cooled buns in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Then place the bread in a freezer-safe plastic bag — label with the date, and freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature. It will only take a short time to thaw (about 30 minutes). They are probably best toasted once defrosted.
Do I have to use Bread Flour?The dough needs it for strength. If you are outside North America (US/Canada), bread flour is sometimes called high grade or strong flour. If bread flour isn't available in your country, you could add some vital wheat gluten to add strength.
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