Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sourdough Hamburger Buns

We love a good burger every now and then, but really limit how often we eat them because I had not been able to find a bun I felt good about. All that ends with this recipe, which results in the most wonderful homemade sourdough buns. They work really great for hamburgers and we have also used them for breakfast sandwiches and sloppy joes (and more). I cannot imagine a better bun than this.

1/2 cup sourdough starter, I used this one
1/2 cup warm water
1 pasture egg yolk, beaten (you can freeze the egg white for future use)
1 tbsp. olive oil, like this one, or melted butter, like this one
1 tbsp. organic cane sugar, like this one, or coconut sugar, or honey
1 tsp. sea salt or Real Salt
1 1/2 cups to 1 3/4 cups organic white flour, try this one (see comments about flour below)

Egg Wash:
1 pasture egg, beaten
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. water

Optional toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, caraway seeds, caramelized diced onions (or dried minced onions rehydrated for a few minutes) - about a tbsp. total for all six buns

How To:
1. In a medium bowl, combine the sourdough starter and water and stir to mix. Add the egg, oil or butter, sugar, and salt, and stir to combine.
2. Add the flour, start with 1 cup and add 1/4 cups until the dough has come together. The amount of flour you need will depend on the hydration of your starter (more liquidy = more flour and vice versa). You can start out stirring this with a spoon, but you'll end up using your hands as the dough comes together.
         After 1 cup flour (stirring only)                                After nearly 1 3/4 cups (before kneading)

3. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth. Then place back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap (or a plate) and a towel, place it in a warm spot in your kitchen, and let it sit about 30 minutes.
After kneading for ten minutes
4. After 30 minutes, turn it out on a lightly floured surface and pat it into an approximate rectangle (about a 1/2 inch to an inch thick). Now, we're going to fold the dough. Bring one (short) side and fold it a third of the way over the dough like I did in the pictures below.  

Then fold the other side over this side. So now you have a rectangle oriented the other way. This is often called an envelope fold.
1st Fold completed
Now do this again with the remaining rectangle - bring the short side 1/3 of the way over and fold the other short side on top. You will now have a small thick folded square or rectangle.
Pick it up in your hands and gently mush it into a ball shape. Place it back into the bowl, covered in plastic wrap and a towel, for another hour or so.
Gently mushed into a circle, ready to rest for a bit longer.
5. After about an hour (or so), divide your dough into six even pieces and, using your hands, shape into a flattened ball or circle. Set onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap (the same piece is fine) and a towel, and let sit in a warm place for about 5 to 7 hours. Your buns will rise during this time and approximately double in size.

6. Once your buns have risen, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the egg, water, and sugar and brush the tops of the buns. Bake as-is or sprinkle with your desired toppings (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden brown and your whole house smells like freshly baked bread. Let cool and then cut and serve. You can store them for 2-3 days in a paper sack or ceramic pot with a lid on the counter. Or you can freeze them for future use.

Seriously, these buns are AMAZING! I actually impressed myself with this recipe, they turned out so well. They are a little dense but light, if that makes sense, and hold together well for any type of sandwich, including a big greasy burger and sloppy joes. Once you make these buns, I would be surprised if you ever purchased hamburger buns again.

Note: I have made these buns substituting 1/2 cup sprouted whole wheat flour for the white flour. The buns are still nice, but not as soft as the white flour buns. Also, they do not freeze as well and are a bit harder than the white flour buns coming out of the freezer. In my opinion, the buns are better using all white flour.

This does take a bit of work, as all sourdough baking does. You will spend about 20 to 30 minutes hands-on time at the beginning and another 5 minutes with the fold (once you understand what you're doing) and maybe ten minutes prepping for baking. This makes six buns that are approximately four inches in diameter.

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This post was shared at Savoring SaturdaysStrut Your Stuff Saturdays, Fat Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, and Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm. Please follow the links for more great recipes and ideas.


  1. Slow-rise sourdough is the only bread my family eats, so I am definitely going to be trying these! They look amazing! Thanks so much for sharing them at Savoring Saturdays, I hope you'll come back again this weekend!

    1. I love hearing from other "sourdough" people! Let me know how you like the recipe and please share any great sourdough finds of your own. Thanks so much for the comment. :)

  2. I can't wait to try this. We've made whole wheat buns, and it's hard to go back to store-bought. Sour dough would be wonderful!

    1. I hope you give them a try - they turn out wonderful! And it is really a very easy recipe to make. Thank you so much for the comment!

  3. We are going to just love these Hamburger Buns! Hope you are having a great weekend and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. What's not to love about homemade hamburger rolls and you've really stepped up the game with the sourdough buns. I absolutely would really like these.

    1. You will love them! I hope you give them a try. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  5. My second batch is rising as I type. Has anyone tried to double the recipe? No worries as I will try doubling the next time and maybe make only 8 super sized buns instead of 12. In my mind it will be worth the try as the original recipe just gets eaten up in no time!

  6. That is wonderful! You'll have to let me know how it worked out doubling the recipe.

  7. Do you think the final proof could be done overnight in the fridge?


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