What happens when you have plenty of time at home to experiment with the power of tiny yeast fungi feasting on sugar and starch to create pockets of air in dough? In this case, the happy result of this type of boredom is these Sourdough Hamburger Buns.
The sourdough craze happening right now is unreal! I think the current crisis has made us all lean a little harder into our somewhat suppressed human need to be self-sufficient.
I’m finding myself fascinated with doing things the long way, the old fashioned way… there’s something a little more satisfying and romantic about it all. Maybe you are too?
The idea of being able to make these beautiful Sourdough Hamburger Buns any day of the week with pantry staples is so wonderful to me. They definitely brought our weekly burger night to the next level!
They do require a lot of time, but most of it is just letting the dough do its thing while it sits on the counter. There’s really very little hands-on time here.
This Sourdough Hamburger Bun recipe does contain both active, bubbly sourdough starter and a small amount of active dry yeast. This allows you to make them the same day that you start the dough.
I’ve included a possible timeline at the end of this post for making the buns in order to have them ready for dinner. If you are interested in keeping a sourdough starter (it is a little like keeping a pet), King Arthur Flour is a wonderful resource.
You may have success making your own sourdough starter from flour and water, but it is easier to start your own from the discard of a friend who has an established starter. It can even be dehydrated and sent by mail!
The boys and I have been making all things sourdough, including waffles, pizza, pretzels, and cinnamon rolls. The Clever Carrot has been such a great resource for us. All of Emilie’s recipes have turned out perfectly.
It’s so fun for the boys to watch the sourdough starter bubble up and learn the science behind it. It definitely counts as school around here!
This Sourdough Hamburger Bun recipe is adapted from my Butterhorn Rolls recipe. It is an enriched dough, meaning that it has milk, eggs, and butter. The glossy top comes from brushing an egg whisked with water over the surface of the risen bun just before baking.
I used my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook attachment to mix and knead the dough. It can also be done by hand but will take longer.
It is also very helpful to have a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients (especially the starter and flour) precisely. I also love using a bench scraper for portioning out the dough and for cleaning up my work surface.
I think the most difficult part of baking with sourdough is just being patient enough. You can’t rush the rise! If you try to bake your buns before they are ready, you’ll get a heavy, dense bun.
The more you experiment and practice, the more you’ll be able to rely on the feel of the dough and your intuition to know when it’s ready for the next step.
7am (or night before) – feed sourdough starter
10:30am – Mix dough together.
11:00am – Dough rests.
11:30am – Knead dough.
11:45am – Bulk rise.
2:15pm – Shape buns.
2:30pm – Buns rise.
3:45pm – Brush egg wash on buns and preheat oven.
4:00pm – Bake for 20 minutes.
4:20pm – Cool, then slice.
5pm – Grill those burgers, these buns are ready!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelylittlekitchen
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Sourdough Hamburger Buns
- Prep Time: 5 hours
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 buns 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
These fluffy, golden Sourdough Hamburger Buns will bring your burger night to the next level! Start the dough in the morning, and buns are ready by dinner.
- 1/3 cup (60 grams) bubbly, active sourdough starter
- 1 cup (240 grams) whole milk, warm
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon (2.85 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 cups (430 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter, soft
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
- 2 teaspoons (6 grams) sesame seeds
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix sourdough starter, milk, 1 egg, yeast, salt, sugar and 300 grams of flour on medium speed until a loose, shaggy dough is formed. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rest in the bowl for 30 minutes.
- With the dough hook, knead the dough for 7-8 minutes, gradually adding an additional 130 grams (or more) flour and 3 tablespoons of softened butter in small cubes. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky, but pulling away from the edges of the bowl as it kneads.
- Pour the dough, scraping the bowl to release, onto a floured work surface. Clean the bowl, then grease, and place the dough back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place it in a warm, draft free place. I like to keep it in the oven with the light on, but the heat off.
- After 2-3 hours, the dough should double in size. Remove it from the bowl and place it on a floured work surface. Divide the dough into eight equal portions (about 100 grams each). To shape the dough into buns, pull the edges of the dough balls into the center, then cup your hand around the dough and roll into a tight ball (see video). Place the shaped buns onto a parchment lined baking sheet a good inch apart. Cover with a plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray (damp towel may stick), and let the buns rise.
- After about 1 hour and 15 minutes, the buns should be doubled in size and touching each other on the baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk 1 tablespoon of water and one egg in a small bowl, and brush onto the surface of the risen buns. Sprinkle each bun with sesame seeds.
- Bake the buns at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until deep golden brown. The internal temperature should be about 190 degrees. Allow to cool a bit, then transfer to a cooling rack. Wait about 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Serving Size: 1 Bun
- Calories: 301
- Sugar: 4.9g
- Sodium: 331mg
- Fat: 7.4g
- Saturated Fat: 3.8g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2.8g
- Trans Fat: 0.2g
- Carbohydrates: 49g
- Fiber: 1.9g
- Protein: 8.9g
- Cholesterol: 61mg
Keywords: sourdough hamburger buns, sourdough buns, sourdough, homemade hamburger buns, buns
I was wondering if I didn’t have things timed right would I be able to put the rolls in the frig for awhile then bring them back out to rise before baking?
Thats what i did, 6 hours left outside (its warm enough) then the whole night in the fridge. 4 hours out before baking, turned out great.
Maria I did the first rise (whole loaf) in the fridge because I didn’t have enough time to complete the recipe. It rose slightly overnight. I took in out and let it sit on the counter for about 4 hours for the complete rise before I divided into buns. It worked beautifully!
Thank you! I want it to ferment.
Stacy Kadesh says
Could I use almond milk?
I’ve made these before and they are awesome but need my stand mixer at home to get it right and want to take to the lake to bake. Can I skip yeast and leave in fridge for a day then rise and bake when I get where I’m going? Or am i smarter to bake and freeze?
Bake and freeze and they’ll be great!!!
These are incredible! Buttery flavor and so light and fluffy. If you know what you’re looking at with rises and you sourdough, they’ll turn out beautifully!
Mine didn’t rise as tall as others, they rose out instead of up a lot. Is there something that I might have done wrong? I followed all the times exactly and let it rise in my oven with the light on.
Nancy Friesen says
Delicious recipe! I have a question though, can I use this recipe without the yeast? And if so, how much starter?
Can you use whole wheat flour instead?
Delicious! These are only rolls I bake anymore – everyone who tries them gobbles them up. Thank you for a fantastic recipe!
These were unbelievably easy and unbelievably delicious. I can’t hardly believe how good they turned out! Go make them immediately. You won’t regret it!
I’m planning to make burgers tomorrow, and would prefer to prep the dough tonight. My house is cold (~60F) so I want to make sure the dough has plenty of time to rise. Should I –
1- Do the bulk rise overnight, or would 8-10 hours be too much?
2- Shape the buns tonight and rise in the fridge overnight until baking tomorrow afternoon?
3- Follow the recipe and rise in the oven with the light on?
Obviously I am somewhat new to sourdough! Thanks.
Hi Mel, sounds like you are off to a good start – thinking ahead and planning so carefully! If you are new to sourdough, these buns are a little more forgiving than regular sourdough recipes because they also have yeast in them, which will give you a bit more predictability when it comes to the rise. You can definitey prep the dough ahead of time and do the bulk rise in the fridge overnight. I don’t have as good of results when I shape dough and then put them in the fridge (#2) option, but I know some bakers do this all the time. Use the oven light as an option for the rise after shaping. Sixty degrees is pretty cool for sourdough. It really loves 80-90 degrees. Be sure to keep the buns covered so they don’t dry out and form a crust when rising. Spraying a sheet of plastic wrap with oil may be a better option than the damp dishtowel, depending on the humidity level in your home. Hope you enjoy!
Thank you so much! They came out so delicious. I love how the egg wash makes a shiny crust.
I did the light on in the oven method for proofing, it works great, but I noticed the ones that were on the side with the light got much bigger! Maybe good to turn it around halfway through!
Courtney Bassetti says
Will this recipe work with bread flour?
Yes it will.
Excited to see how turn out. I read a bunch of reviews. I’ve been using kamut flour from food nanny so used this recipe (but reduced flour a bit). Letting it rise on stove for a bit and will put it in fridge over night and shape tomorrow and let rise per your instructions. It smells wonderful
I will circle back!
I’ve been making these for a few months now and they turn out perfectly!!! Since I’ve been making this recipe, I don’t buy store bought hamburger buns anymore!!! I love this recipe!!! Thank you for it!!!
During the last rise why did my buns fall? They looked like little buns when I put them back in the oven with the light on to rise for another hour. They were probably in there for closer to two hours.
Ruth Angel says
Hi Julia, I was wondering if it would work to make these without using yeast?
If so, should I alter the recipe?
Thank you so much!
Hi, you can make them without yeast. The recipe would be the same, the rise time would just be longer – depending on the strength of your starter and the room temp.
Ruth Angel says
Oh wow, thank you for replying so quickly! These look delicious and I am excited to bake them!
Can eggs stay out this long? Thanks!