The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Burger Bun Mystery

Alex Kalan's picture
Alex Kalan

Burger Bun Mystery

Hi all, I’m struggling to find guidance on achieving a particular bun result. I have a really nice brioche style bun recipe, but there’s one key recipe I can’t seem to figure out - a soft, not particularly structured, CHEWY burger bun like the one in the photo above (from a restaurant in Chicago). The key to this style is that it’s almost wrinkled/rippled, squishy (?) and dare I say a little leathery or taffy-like. There is no way this bun would ever fall apart or crumble. Think, as far away from a delicate, cake crumb as possible, and just about the opposite of my brioche bun. How do I do this? Please help! 

I realize that butter, oil, any fat will reduce gluten development, which seems to be essential to achieving the chewiness I’m talking about so I’m avoiding almost all fat (I do use 2 eggs per 500 grams flour). I know that enzymes in milk can also breakdown gluten, but I do want some richness (hence the eggs), so I’m using baker’s non-fat dry milk. I’m using high protein bread flour. I’m kneading the heck out of the dough in a mixer until the gluten is well developed. In the end though, I’m ending up with buns that look and act like, regular, nice, round, dome shaped buns.

Thanks in advance,

Alex

Alex Kalan's picture
Alex Kalan

The chewiness I’m referring to is reminiscent of pretzel buns, and even bagels, except that I’m fairly certain these buns aren’t boiled prior to baking. They are SIGNIFICANTLY less structured / softer than bagels or pretzels, but share that lovely chewiness.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Maybe this post can give you some ideas

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/61082/upper-half-bun-gone

Up the yeast, shorten the bulk rise or....how about cooking the dough and beating in the eggs like an eclair paste?

Have you ever made  Yorkshire puddings ?

Alex Kalan's picture
Alex Kalan

Thanks Mini Oven for the response. I looked at the post you linked, but couldn’t quite catch the commonality. It did make me realize however that I should have mentioned a few more things about my experiments.

In an effort to extend the shelf life of these buns (to a meager 2 days) I am using a tangzhong. I realize that Tangzhong does reduce total gluten development, but I’m doing it “by the book”, so it’s only 10% of my total flour on a 1:5 ratio with H2O, which doesn’t seem like it would have an overly dramatic effect of total gluten development. I’m also using a full 10g of yeast, which is on the higher end for my 500g total flour (including tangzhong). Salt is at 10g, sugar is at 50g, and the two flours that I’ve been using are the lovely (and remarkably expensive) Anson Mills French Mediterranean Heirloom White Bread Flour, and/or Caputo Tipio 00 “Chef’s Flour” which is significantly less expensive, but by no means cheap, and is also high in protein.

I’ve made Yorkshire Pudding before, but it’s been many years. Can you explain more what your thinking is on this point? (That was actually what made me think to mention the tangzhong.)

Also the dough is kneaded for 12-16 minutes in a mixer. The first proof is approximately 1.5 hours. It’s punched down and portioned to 100-105g, placed in 4” ring molds, and proofed again for 45 min.-1 hour before being egg washed and baked at 400* for approx 13 minutes.

I hope that helps. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Alex Kalan's picture
Alex Kalan

More significantly than what I have been doing however is the realization that I’m probably doing almost nothing right. None of my efforts have resulted in anything even remotely resembling the result I’m seeking. I’m willing to start from scratch if anyone has an idea how to achieve something along the lines of what’s pictured at the top of the post, and described in my initial statement.

I really don’t even know where to begin.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it came from the Burger Bar in Lincoln Park.

A "not particularly structured" bun may be low gluten. Have you tried low gluten flour with lots of yeast? The bun could have had a lye dip if it reminds you of pretzels.  The link to the large bubble buns, short bulk, early dividing and shaping... wrinkles in your bun most likely formed while cooling, large hot gas chambers in top of bun shrinking as bun cools.after baking.  You two are doing the opposite; one trying to eliminate top wrinkles, you, trying for them.

After checking out a YouTube video,  I take back the Yorkshire pudding thoughts. You can study the bun in this video very well.  Hey, it's all in the glaze!  

Alex Kalan's picture
Alex Kalan

Aside from the fact that I found both of the guys in that video extremely annoying, it was cool to see that burger bun in video. It was actually the only thing that Grumpy McGrumperson gave props to. That glaze is intense for sure. Also, I live in Sacramento, Ca. and it was funny to hear 2 guys from Chicago complain about a $12 burger as being expensive. The average non-fast food burger in Sac is probably $16.00, the good ones are $18 (and I’m talking 1/4 - 1/3 lb. of beef), and if you want to add bacon... step up from there.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

yes, I turned down the sound to a whisper.  They did make a few comments on the bun, they liked it and said it was soft. 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

A well made Panettone wrinkles like this.

Try using only egg yolks. Save the whites for something else.

Also I'm almost always convinced that most folks don't know what full-gluten development really looks like and on that assumption I suggest kneading / mixing even more.

The wrinkle effect occurs because there isn't enough protein support for the baked product and this is the reason a panettone is hung upside down after the bake. The volume of the product is greater than the protein structure can support so you need a really good rise where the product is 4-5 times greater in volume relative to the dough mass.

The tangzhong is a good shout in this case as is strong flour.

I think you have a good basis of knowledge to achieve your goals. Keep experimenting...

 

Michael

andythebaker's picture
andythebaker

try a full proof coupled with a vigorous amount of initial steam.

~andrew

Alex Kalan's picture
Alex Kalan

What do you mean by a vigorous amount of initial steam?

andythebaker's picture
andythebaker

if your oven has a steam function, steam for maybe 5 seconds and hold for 4-5 minutes before venting.

steam should allow it to expand more before setting, or in this case, collapsing just a wee bit.