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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- 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 (12 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 a damp cloth 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 a damp cloth 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 damp kitchen towel, 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