Multigrain Homemade Hamburger Buns

Hamburger Bun, Overhead


Fear Conquered: Homemade Burger Buns

"I have no idea what I should write about for this recipe," I say, drumming my fingers across the laptop keys and tilting my head back against the sofa cushion.

Boyfriend Javelin is washing dishes and making small noises of protest over certain pieces of cookware. He glances at me. "What recipe is it?" he asks.

"Hamburger buns," I say. And I sigh. Even the name sounds boring. What is there to say about burger buns?

Boyfriend Javelin rinses something, sighs loudly, viciously attacks it with a fingernail, and rinses it again. "You could talk about all the dishes they make," he offers gloomily.

I half smile, half glare at him. "But they don't make many dishes," I point out. "There's just a bowl and spoon and baking sheets."

"I was JOKING," he says, stopping long enough to stick his tongue out at me. "I don't know…" he says, scrubbing a new dish slowly. "Why did you start working on the recipe to begin with?"

Homemade Hamburger Buns

"Yeah, yeah, I know," I say, drumming the keys again. "But I can't talk about that. It's boring. I need a story or something." I sigh and roll my head from side to side. "I need something more meaningful than 'Here's why I made yet another recipe all from scratch'…" Because what can be said about burger buns? They're round. And they're made of bread. And they've got sesame seeds on top. You put burgers in them. Seriously - I'm bored just thinking about it.

"So talk about why it's the best bun then," Boyfriend Javelin says. He slaps off the water and leans in close to inspect a plate. And growls something dark.

"But it's NOT the best bun," I object peevishly. "Brioche buns are much better. And Hawaiian buns are amazing. These are just…like…basic buns." I throw my head back against the couch cushion. Woe is me!

Boyfriend Javelin shoves the water back on full blast and rinses the plate again, then unceremoniously shoves it into the dishwasher rack with a clatter. "Look," he says, and I can't tell if he's justifiably irritated with me or the offending plate. "You had a reason for working on these buns otherwise you wouldn't have kept going. So talk about that."

I sigh. I moan. I roll my head back and forth. And drum my fingers on the keys again. Which quickly leads to exercise in alliteration. Boring buns. Boring basic buns. Boring basic burger buns. Brilliantly boring basic burger buns. Basically boring brilliant burger buns. Basically brilliant boring burger buns. Brilliantly basic boring burger buns.

Hamburger Bun, Split

Truthfully, I don't know if these are brilliantly basic or basically boring or basically brilliant. But I do know they're basic - in the best possible way. No fancy ingredients, no special techniques, no special equipment. Just measure and dump, mix and knead, rise and bake. Maybe that's the boring part.

These buns are so soft and so tender, you'll never miss those pale, squishy, store-bought burger buns - eight squashed to a bag. And these buns are so simple to make, anyone can confidently bake gorgeous buns. Anyone. Maybe that's the basic part.

These buns are also tasty. Not buttery-brioche-tasty. But rustic, fresh-baked tasty. With toasted sesame seeds, whole wheat flour, rolled oats and olive oil. Sure, these may be boring and basic, but there's something brilliant about pulling a tray of toasted, golden buns out of your own oven. Basic, boring - but brilliant.

Homemade Hamburger Buns Closeup

And that's why I'm sharing this recipe. Everyone should be able to fearlessly bake their own brilliant burger buns. Believably brilliant basic boring burger buns. (Boyfriend Javelin is still washing dishes and I'm still working on my alliteration.)


Photo Tutorial

2 Cups of Milk
Heat 2 cups of skim milk to 105F - 115F. I use the microwave.

Yeast Added to Warm Milk
Add the milk to a large bowl and sprinkle 3 teaspoons of yeast over the milk. Mix the yeast into the milk with your fingers.

Yeast Blooming in Warm Milk
Let the yeast and milk rest for 5 minutes - the yeast will begin to bloom.

Oats Added to Yeast and Milk
Add 1/2 cup rolled oats to the milk and yeast.

Whole Wheat Flour Added to Bowl
Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour.

1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Add 1/4 cup olive oil to the flour/milk mixture.

Sugar and Olive Oil Added to Bowl
Add 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar.

Unbleached All Purpose Flour Added to Bowl
Add 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour.

Vital Wheat Gluten and Kosher Salt Added to Dough
Add 1 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten and 2 teaspoons kosher salt.

Dough Mixed Together with Wooden Spoon
Mix everything together with a large wooden spoon until the dough forms a sticky mass.

Kneading Dough on Floured Board
Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary.

Kneaded Dough Resting
Gather the dough into a ball and let rest for 10 minutes.

Keading Dough Second Time
Knead the dough for another 5 minutes, then gather into a ball.

Dough Covered for Bulk Rise
Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap.

Dough After Bulk Rise
Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Deflating Dough After Bulk Rise
Punch down the dough and deflate it thoroughly.

Dough Gathered Together for Second Rise
Gather the dough back into a ball and cover again with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for another 30 minutes.

Deflated Dough Gathered into Ball
Punch down the dough and gather into a ball; turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Dough Split in Half
Divide the dough in half.

Splitting Each Half into Thirds
Divide each half into thirds (a total of 6 pieces).

Half of Dough Split into 6ths
Divide each piece of dough in half (total of 12 pieces).

Lined Half Sheet Pan
Line a 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Dough Formed into Burger Buns
Form each piece of dough into a smooth ball and place on a baking sheet (no more than 6 pieces of dough per sheet). Flatten the balls of dough with your palm.

Egg Wash with Pastry Brush
Brush each flattened bun with egg wash.

Roasted Sesame Seeds

Buns Brushed with Egg Wash and Sprinkled with Sesame Seeds
Optionally sprinkle each bun top with sesame seeds.

Buns After Final Rise, Ready to Bake
Allow the formed buns to rise for 20-30 minutes.

Homemade Hamburger Buns Closeup
Bake the buns for 20 minutes (I bake each sheet of buns separately). Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the bake time.

Buns Cooling on Wire Rack
Transfer the buns to wire racks to cool completely before storing or freezing in airtight bags.

Hamburger Bun, Split

Hamburger Bun, Overhead
The perfect size for even large burgers.

Homemade Hamburger Buns


Multigrain Homemade Hamburger Buns

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 3 hrs
     Cook Time: 20 min

Ingredients (12 buns)
    • 2 cups milk, warmed (105-115℉)
    • 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup rolled oats
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
    • 1 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
    Egg Wash
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 Tablespoon milk
    1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper
    2. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk with your fingers; set aside for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom
    3. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl in the order listed and mix together thoroughly with a large wooden spoon until the dough gathers into a sticky mass (or use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook)
    4. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, adding extra flour as necessary if the dough is too sticky to work with (or use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook); after kneading, let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead for another 5 minutes
    5. Gather the dough into a ball and return to the mixing bowl; cover with oiled plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1 hour; punch down and deflate the dough, gather into a ball, re-cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 30 minutes
    6. Make the egg wash by thoroughly beating together the egg and milk with a fork; set aside
    7. After the dough’s final rise, deflate and gather the dough into a ball; divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (first divide the dough in half, then divide each half into thirds and then each third in half once more)
    8. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball and place on lined baking sheets (no more than 6 buns per baking sheet); flatten the balls of dough with your palm and brush each piece of dough with egg wash; optionally sprinkle bun tops with sesame seeds
    9. Preheat the oven to 375℉. Allow the shaped buns rise for 20-30 minutes until puffed, then bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the bake time
    10. Transfer the buns to wire racks to cool completely before storing or freezing in sealable airtight bags
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    Hungry for Tips?
    • Stand Mixer: I often use a stand mixer to make these buns which frees up my hands from kneading the dough. After the yeast blooms, I just measure, dump, mix and knead. But if you don't have a stand mixer, don't fret - kneading the dough by hand is simple and the final dough will turn out beautifully.
    • Bread Machine: This recipe makes a lot of dough and it rises quite aggressively, especially during the first two rises. So if you intend to use a bread machine, cut the recipe in half. This will ensure the bread machine paddle can effectively mix and knead the dough while also avoiding basket overflow during the rise cycles. I recommend selecting the Whole Wheat option on your machine and removing the dough just before the final rise cycle. You can then shape and bake the buns following the recipe instructions.
    • Flour: You will need at least 4 cups of all purpose flour for this recipe. But if you're baking on a humid day, you will likely need extra flour (perhaps an extra 3/4 cup). If you're kneading the dough by hand, you may need extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to the board. The dough should be always be tacky, but if it sticks and clings to your fingers, the board or the stand mixer bowl, add a little more flour.

      Unbleached All Purpose Flour Added to Bowl
    • Sesame Seeds: I think sesame seeds manage to make even the most crude of buns resemble something close to gourmet. And they add a bit of toasty flavor to the bun. So I highly recommend sprinkling your buns with sesame seeds. But you could also try poppy seed. Or maybe a little flax seed. Or even a combination of all three.

      Homemade Hamburger Buns
    • Knead and Rise: Why the double knead? To soften the flours and encourage the formation of gluten strands - a strong gluten structure helps to trap the gas released by the yeast. Why the triple rise? To encourage the formation of gas pockets within the dough for lighter, softer buns. If you're in a rush, you can skip the 30 minute rise and get right to forming the buns.

      Dough Gathered Together for Second Rise

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    1. I love this! A good burger is never good without a great bun and I like the healthier twist on it! You make me want to leave work and go home and bake! Great pics! Thanks for sharing :)

    2. Thank you for the kind words, Petra - I'm so glad you enjoyed and I hope you get a chance to do some baking soon :)

    3. Bintu @ Recipes From A PantryAugust 28, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      OMG. These look good. I want to make them now. Sharing on twitter..

    4. Aww, thank you, Bintu! I'm so glad these could inspire baking urges and thank you so much for sharing :D

    5. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)August 28, 2013 at 7:27 PM

      I'm a big fan of basic! These look perfect!

    6. These are anything but boring - they look perfect! As for the negative comparison with brioche and Hawaiian buns, I prefer this to those sweet ones. And American burger buns from the store are also sweet (& horrible). So, far from being boring these are fabulous!

    7. Thanks, Kayle - I'm good at overcomplicating things so I'm happy to hear that didn't here...

    8. Thank you for the kind words, Kellie - I can't help but compare these to brioche buns because whenever I've had a truly spectacular burger, it's almost always been on a brioche bun :/ But I'm happy you enjoyed these - I do as well!

    9. Great buns! My fave buns for hamburgers contain potato - hard to find in the midwest (they're more in the east). But these look like fun. Never made my own hamburger buns - really should give it a try someday. Good stuff - thanks.

    10. I love the Disqus avatar, John! And I'm intrigued by the use of potatoes for hamburger buns. My mom sometimes bakes up a potato dinner roll (which is tasty) but I've never used them for buns before... Thanks for the kinds words and I hope you get a chance to bake up your own burger buns at some point...

    11. Bugger! I wish I had seen this yesterday! I wouldn't have bought those cheap tasteless buns at the grocery store! I have never made hamburger buns but have had the pleasure of eating a few burgers with them and there is NO comparison! I'm so glad that JW talked you into this post. I will be giving this a try once it starts to cool off around here. Thanks and hope you're having a great day!

    12. I hope you had a great holiday even without the buns, MJ! I should have baked a batch of these myself and taken them to my in-laws but time got away... I'm so glad you like the look of these and if you do get a chance to try, let me know your thoughts...


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