The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamburger buns

dabrownman's picture

After losing the beet pink in our Valentine Rose bake we decided not to give up and try another method hoping the red or pink would stick around in the crumb somewhere.  This time, instead of using beet juice and pulp we used roasted chopped beets.  We didn’t expect the crumb to stay pink but we hope that there would be some red blotches that hung around.


After reading Ian’s post on his fine looking cream cheese butter and milk enriched rolls we decided to use that as a base.  Instead of the milk we used this time, we will use buttermilk next time of the pink does not remain.  We cut the sugar and added more whole grains (30%), some potatoes, the chopped beets.  The hydration came in at 78% if you ignore the cream cheese and beets.  We made enough for 5 rolls of about 140-1455 g each wet - a good size for hamburger buns.


I know that hamburgers don’t sound very romantic for Valentines Day but, if you only get to have them once a month and you really go all out with  the fixings; bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms and various peppers with lettuce, tomatoes and grilled steak sweet and white potato fries its not so bad and better than nothing.  Especially if you have some kind of Pink Valentine Buns with some sesame seeds on top.


While the SD levain, where all the whole grains ended up with the exception of the malt, Toadies and oat flour,  was building itself up to speed we autolysed the flours and everything else except the beets and cream cheese.  Once the autolyse met the levain we did 10 minutes of French slap and folds.


This is a wet and sticky dough and bits will fly everywhere but stick to it and the dough will come together nicely,  After resting for 15 minutes the first of (2) S& F’s were done 15 minutes apart and the beets were incorporated on the 2nd set


 After another 15 minute rest the cream cheese was added and incorporated with Slap and folds until it disappeared.  Little red bits of beets will fly everywhere and stain what ever they hit so care is required if you care – but I couldn’t care less.  The dough was allowed to ferment on the heating pad for 90 minutes before being bulk retarded for 14 hours.

The next morning the dough was put on the heating pad for 2 hours to warm up before the rolls were shaped and placed on parchment supported by the mini oven’s vented broiler top.  After 2 more hours the mini oven was fired up to 425 F with the bottom of the broiler pan inside with 1 C of water for steam.

The rolls were brushed with melted butter and covered in a seed and salt mix thenan egg wash was applied.  The buns were loaded into the hot bottom of the broiler pan in the mini oven.  After 8 minutes the bottom of the broiler pan and steam was removed.  The temperature was turned down to 350 F, convection this time.


Every 5 minutes the rolls were rotated 180 degrees to ensure even browning.  After 15 minutes the rolls reached 205 F and removed from the oven to a cooling rack.  Total baking time was 23 minutes.

The rolls sprang nicely and spread perfectly for hamburger bun shape.  They browned nicely due to the butter and egg wash, they were slightly crispy too with the seed mix helping.  The crust did go soft as they cooled.  The pink went away on the outside again but to a lesser degree than last time so we have hope there might be some on the inside. 

Valentine Pink Chocolate Rose Left                                                               Pink Valentine Hamberger Bun Right

Well it wasn't pink on the inside but the crumb was tinted a yellowish brown from the beets and there were were more pink/red splotches throughout.  The crumb was very soft, moist glossy and open.  It smelled like a buttery croissant!  Can't wait to taste them tomorrow  They are gorgeous on the outside and in - perfect for the holiday

Caramelized onions, mushrooms. poblano and Hatch chillies, smoked  brown sugar and maple cured bacon, pickled jalapenos, dill pickle spear and aged white cheddar.

Lettuce, tomato, Beauregard, Japanese yams and russet  wedge baked fries.


Starter Build

Build 1



SD Starter












Dark Rye




Whole Wheat
















SD Starter Totals












Starter Hydration




Levain % of Total








Dough Flour




Red Malt








White Malt








Potato Flakes








Total Dough Flour
















Dough Hydration w/o starter












Add - Ins




















Total Flour w/ Starter












Hydration w/ Starter & Adds




Total Weight




% Whole Grain








Chopped Roasted Beet




Cream Cheese








Chopped Beet and Cream Cheese



Not included in Hydration Calculations






dabrownman's picture

We have been baking with YW, Combo YW / SD and straight SD lately but have not had the chance to compare identical YW and SD recipes to see how they might compare.  We recently made a Joe Ortiz Desem Starter that we really liked so decided to use WW to build each of the starters to the same 90 grams of levain with the same 80% hydration.


We usually want somewhere around 40 % whole grains minimum in our breads with sprouts and seeds, but since these rolls were going to be used for our monthly hamburger dinner we skipped the sprouts and seeds but added fresh chopped basil, caramelized onions, bacon and parmesan cheese instead. 

Yeast Water version is first for pictures.


These additions reflected isand66’s (Ian’s) bacon, caramelized onion and cheese bread we rank in our top 5 and his roll bake this week along with breadsong’s roll bake this week that had basil and parmesan cheese in it.  We thought combining the 2 would make for a very nice bun for our grilled poblano chili, caramelized onion and mushroom, cheese burger we were planning for dinner.


Since it is summer, we planned on bailing the rolls in the mini oven using (2) of Sylvia’s steaming cups designed for it.   We are amazed the varieties of well baked bread that come out of that little oven.


This was no exception.  Both rolls were soft and moist inside with the YW being more so but the SD was more open.  The crusts came out nice and crusty but were immediately toned down to nice and soft by brushing milk on them immediately – no one wants a hard hamburger bun. The crust on the SD was darker and more blistered and the spring was greater.  The SD rolls were baked last when the oven temperature and steam were working better.

Now for the Desem SD pictures


The YW rolls were slightly under baked and the SD ones were slightly over baked even though both were baked the same way and for the same time and temperature exactly.  Since only the levain was retarded, the SD tang was muted for the SD rolls and there was no SD tang in the YW as expected.

We liked both of these rolls equally well and have now found our new go to hamburger bun and possible bruschetta  bread.  We will add 10g each of potato flakes and ground oats with a little garlic and 12g of water to the recipe next time to make it even better.  We just forgot them this time by mistake.



The levains were built over (2) 3 hr and (1) 2 hr build before being refrigerated overnight.  Home ground whole wheat was used for the levains in keeping with the normal Desem starter feed.  We also ground the soft white whole wheat berries.


Each  dough was made by hand mixing the levain and non fat milk together first to break up and liquefy the levain, then the flours, butter and oil were added.  We added the fat to give the rolls an even more tender and moist crumb.  The dough was then hand kneaded for 4 minutes and allowed to rest for 15 minutes in an oiled, plastic covered bowl.

YW is on the right in side shot and on the left in the crumb shot.  The spirng better for the SD - quite unexpected.


(4) sets of S & F’s were done on 15 minute intervals with the herb, onion, bacon and parmesan added in on the third set.  The dough was then allowed to ferment and develop for 90 minutes.

Each batch made (6) 111 g rolls.  After dividing, the rolls were S&F’ed to shape and then rolled under the palms of the hand until the skin was tight and the fold seamed shut.  The rolls were then proofed for 2 hours on parchment in a plastic bag.

YW on the left, SD on the right.


The oven was preheated to 500 F and Sylvia’s (2) Pyrex cups, half full of water with a wash cloth in them were heated until boiling in the microwave.   The rolls with parchment were placed on the top part only of the mini’s broiler pan with the steaming cups and loaded in the lower rack for 10 minutes of steaming.  After 2 minutes the temperature was turned down to 425 F.

Who wants a plain cheeseburger?


When the steam came out at the 10 minute mark, the baking rack was moved to the upper level and the temperature turned down to 375 F convection this time.  In 5 minutes the rack was rotated 180 degrees and moved to the lower level for 5 more minutes of baking. 

When you can have one of these.  Both have grilled poblano peppers, Alpine Lace, Emmenthaler Swiss and brie cheese, caramelized onion and mushrooms.  One has lettuce and tomato and one does not.  Either makes any architect a proud builder :-) Even Lindy's on 4th in Tucson would have a hard time beating these burgers and no way they can beat the buns!


At 20 minutes the rolls were deemed done and removed to wire cooling racks where they were immediately brushed with milk to soften the crust for hamburger buns.

Brownman's Banana Bread made as a sheet cake For desert.

Formula follows the pictures.

YW StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
Yeast Water25200452.86%
Total Starter404199030.00%

Or the Desem starter below

Desem SD, Caramelized Onion, Basil, Bacon,  Parmesan Rolls     
Desem StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
SD Desem Starter1000102.86%
Total Starter404199030.00%
Levain % of Total14.49%    
Dough Flour %   
Bread Flour7525.00%   
Soft White Whole Wheat5016.67%   
Durum Atta5016.67%   
Dough Flour300100.00%   
Non Fat Milk19565.00%   
Dough Hydration65.00%    
Total Flour350    
Milk and Water235    
T. Dough Hydration67.14%    
Whole Grain %42.86%    
Hydration w/ Adds68.29%    
Total Weight621    
Add - Ins %   
Olive Oil 103.33%   


 Add ins are split between  12 rolls     
3 Bacon strips     
4 T Chopped basil     
6 T Caramelized onion.     
1/4 C Grated Parmesan    


dabrownman's picture

I've been searching for a a nice sesame and poppy seeded hamburger bun that would stand up to our monthly, stacked,  piled high burger by not falling apart while still having a soft moist crumb that toasted up well.  I took Sylvia's bun recipe for a starting point and converted it to YW from commercial yeast.  Then we thought we would make some retarded cinnamon rolls out of the same dough since it seemed like the thing to do and a nice fit. 

The YW levain was strong after the 2nd build at at the 8 hour mark.  Right after the 3rd build I refrigerated it overnight.  The YW levain was stronger than we thought and it tripled in volume in the fridge.  Amazing beasts they are!

The next morning we mixed everything together in the KA, it is a sticky wet 77% hydration dough and then developed and fermented the dough doing S & F's on a floured work surface which cuts the stickiness and makes the dough managable at the end of the S & F's at 68% hydration.  It was 85 F in the kitchen when we got to the point of splitting off the 2 hamburger buns from the rest of the dough.   The buns were raised on the counter in the  4" ramekins they would be baked in - eventually.  The steamed mini oven at 400 F to start was perfect for them.  There is a formula and method to follow the pictures.  They ending up being just what we wanted.  The seeded Buns tasted great, didn't fall apart and toasted well.  The fix'ins included; wedge sweet and regular potato fries, caramelized onions and mushrooms, baked BBW beans, roasted poblano pepper, tomato and lettuce.  Why no bacon ?

Coat that Pyrex with non stick spray first or you will be sorry !

The remainder of the dough was rolled out to accept the filling and then rolled up from the short side to make a log that was sliced into 12 pieces.  The rolls were placed into a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish and placed into the fridge for an 18 hour rise.  I expected them to double and they did at least that - no worries.  Baked them off at 350 F straight out of the fridge with some butter smeared on top before they went into the oven.  When they were nice and browned, out they came to receive a nice cream cheese icing to gild the lily.  They were delicious - the best ever.  Now the same dough makes hamburger buns too.  A 2'fer.

Yeast Water Hamburger Buns and Cinnamon rolls     
YW StarterBuild 1Build 2 Build 3Total%
Yeast Water50252510018.18%
Soft White0050509.09%
Starter %   
Levain % of Total 19.43%   
Dough Flour %   
Bread Flour32559.09%   
Soft White Wheat 10018.18%   
Dough Flour42577.27%   
Dough Hydration57.65%    
Add - Ins     
Mashed Potato7012.73%   
Milk Powder203.64%   
Add in Total25546.36%   
Total Flour550    
Total Water345    
T. Dough Hydrat.62.73%    
Hydration w/ Adds77.28%    
Total Weight1,158    
Bench Flour for S & F's70
Hydration w/ S&F Flour68.83%



 The YW levain is built over 3 stages  the first 2 stages are 4 hours each.  After the third stage is added at the 8 hour mark the levain is refrigerated overnight.  It will triple in volume while in the fridge.

 In the morning mix the rest of the ingredients with the levain in the mixing bowl.  Knead with a dough hook on KA 2 for 8 minutes.  Then increase speed to KA 3 for 2 minutes.  move to a plastic covered, oiled bowl.  Do 6 S & Fs at 15 minute intervals on a floured work surface returning the dough each time to a plastic covered bowl to rest.   This wet dough will firm up nicely.  Let rest on the counter for 1 hour after the last S&F.

 At this point I cut off enough dough to make 2 hamburger buns in4”ramekins.  These were allowed to rise on the counter until doubled in size.  A milk, water and egg yolk glaze was brushed on top and sesame and poppy seeds were sprinkled on.  They were then baked in a 400 F steamed mini oven for 10 minutes. The steam was then removed and the oven temperature turned down to 350 F convection this time.  After 5 minutes the ramekins were turned 180 degrees and baked another 5 minutes.  The buns were then removed from the ramekins and finished baking in 5 more minutes turning 180 degrees at the 2 and half minute mark.  The buns were then allowed to cool on a wire rack.

 The remainder of the dough was rolled out to ¼” thick rectangle and brushed with soft butter.  The filling was then added and the dough rolled up from the wide end.  


 ¼ C each brown and white sugar

¼ C each dried apples, apricots, cranberries and raisins reconstituted in 1 T each of Bourbon and water.

¼ tsp each of allspice and cloves

1 tsp each nutmeg and cinnamon

1/2 C each chopped walnuts and chopped chocolate chips.

After rolling, the dough log was cut into 12 equal pieces and placed into a 9”x13” Pyrex baking pan, covered with plastic and put into the fridge to retard overnight.  It should double in volume overnight.  Remove from fridge and brush tops with soft butter.

 Bake off straight from the fridge at 350 F until nicely browned.  Spread cream cheese frosting on top


8 oz powdered sugar

4 oz each cream cheese and softened butter

½ tsp of vanilla.

 Mix everything together with a hand blender and spread on top of the warm cinnamon rolls.

bryoria's picture

My first post!  I keep my bread notes in a cheap notebook stuck to my fridge, but thought a bread blog might work better, and enable me to share my notes.  I am fairly new to bread baking and find some of the posts here rather intimidating.  I took an artisan bread baking course at our local technical college last fall, developed a wild yeast starter during the class, and was off and running with the longer-fermentation methods.  Before the class I had been making all our bread, but  just plain whole wheat sandwich loaves from my own flour, mixed and kneaded and baked all in one morning. 

Although my freeform sourdough loaves always turn out well, I have not had much luck with 100% whole wheat sandwich loaves using the long fermentation methods, even after experimenting with aging my flour.  I would like to learn how to make a 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf that doesn't crumble in the centre.  Until then, I use my old, all-in-one-day method for sandwich loaves and alternate with the partial white flour sourdoughs I learned in my class.

Today I tried to make buns from one of the recipes we learned in the class, a multigrain sourdough.  It was my first time making buns from one of the class recipes.  They turned out great.

Notes on today's buns:

  • recipe from NAIT course
  • first time trying the dough as buns
  • divided dough into 16 pieces and formed as flat hamburger buns
  • placed on cookie sheets to rise for 30-40 minutes
  • baked on cookie sheets at 400 for 18 minutes, no steam, turning pans halfway through
  • buns softened as they cooled
  • good size for hamburgers
  • flavour fantastic, good texture

(updated to add photo showing crumb)

codruta's picture

I was in a search for the perfect hamburger bun for a long time. When I say "perfect", I mean perfect for my personal taste. I've tried Peter Reinhart recipe from BBA, I've tried different recipes form diferrent sites, I've tried Tangzhong method, all with wonderful results... but not perfect. Recently, I took hamelman's ingredients from page 258 (soft butter rolls) and Susan's pate-fermentee method link here , followed by these modifications: I've decreased the quantity of yeast, taking as refference the quantity given by susan, and I adapted for my quantity of flour, I've used milk instead of water, and remove the dry milk from the ingredients list and I did not used steam when baking. The buns came almost close to perfection. Next step is to use sourdough instead of old dough, but I'm not sure about how to substitute one to another (the old dough can be replaced using the same quantity and hydration by sourdough?? -can it be that simple??)

More pictures and complete recipe (written in romanian, but translator available on the sidebar, although, the automatic translation it's kind of funny) can be found here Apa.Faina.Sare


sourdoughboy's picture

I wanted to have fresh homemade sourdough hamburger buns for a big cook-out last Friday. Problem: the cook-out was at 7pm on a work night, and I'd only get home around 5:45. Timing and fridge space were issues. I wouldn't have time to shape buns and let them rise after work, and don't have room for sheet pans in my fridge (I live with 4 other people). This is what I came up with...


Petite Sourdough Hamburger Buns (makes approx. 20 3'' buns) (adapted from this recipe)




Night before:

1. Mix together bread flour, starter, water. Let sit for 30 minutes.

2. Beat together milk, eggs, salt, sugar. Combine with flour. Let sit for 15 minutes.

3. Lift/fold dough. Repeat twice more at 15'' intervals.

4. Cover, let dough rise overnight.

UPDATE: Brewboy makes a good point re: the potential riskiness of letting a dough with egg in it stay at room temp overnight. 

Morning of:

1. Divide dough, shape (20 or so) buns.

2. Place in cake pans lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap.

3. Stack cake pans in fridge with cardboard in between to prevent squishing.


Go to work!


Evening of:

1. Remove from fridge, let rise in 100F oven for 30''.

2. Brush buns with egg wash.

3. Crank up the heat to 350, bake for 35 minutes. (Note: no preheating, thus the extended baking time)


The results:

Soft, chewy, tangy hamburger buns! I was happy, as were the guests. I was worried they'd be too small but they were the perfect size for 1/2lb (before cooking) patties made from fatty (70/30) ground beef. One thing I would change was the topping I made for the burger--it was a sweet/sour onion caramelized with bacon fat. The burgers would have been better with a straight sweet caramelized onion, since the bun provided ample tanginess.

cake diva's picture

Hamburger buns from Saveur

August 4, 2009 - 9:28am -- cake diva

I had just come back from a month-long vacation in Asia where I gorged on fresh seafood and vegetables every day, so I was craving for some good old-fashioned hamburger.  Fortunately, Saveur had the hamburger for its Sept. issue focus story.  The sesame seed bun recipe for 12 buns took only 4 hours from start to plate.  The texture was soft without being airy like the commercial kind, and the taste with just a hint of sweetness- perfect with salty blue cheese burgers.

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 oz)

1 1/3 cups milk heated to 115F

1.5 tsp. + 2 tbsp. sugar

Eli's picture

I made Norm's Onion Rolls back in April and wish I had posted them then. That bunch seemed to be a little more aesthetic. These were great tasting and Norm's Onion Rolls, along with Henry's Scones have made me quite popular with the neighborhood.

Burger with Norm' s Onion Roll and Mr. Stripey tomatoes! Delicious!!

Thanks Norm and Henry!! ehanner's made me covet that onion poppy seed explosion again!

Thanks for making them look so good again!



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