I’ve been making hamburger buns for years but, recently I created a hamburger bun recipe using sourdough that makes normal hamburger buns hard to go back to!
For our family, summer means cookouts, and cookouts often mean burgers.
We like to load our burgers up with lots of fun toppings, so I don’t have any patience for a wimpy burger bun that won’t hold up to a juicy burger with all the fixings.
To me, store bought burger buns just don’t cut it. They get soggy with the first gush of burger juice and squish flat when you try to get your mouth around your first bite.
Not to mention, they often don’t taste like anything at all, and they’re typically full of preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients.
Bread should be hearty, nourishing, flavorful, and supportive. Not wimpy or weak.
And like I said before, it’s hard to go back to regular buns after trying making this sourdough hamburger bun recipe!
Why Make a Sourdough Hamburger Bun Recipe?
These buns have a wonderful sourdough flavor that adds to the flavors of your burger (and pairs quite well with the sweetness of bbq sauce, if that’s your sauce of choice).
The wonderful thing about sourdough is that you get to control the level of sour. If you want your hamburger buns extra sour, then give the dough a good 8-12 hours to rise/ferment before you shape the buns for their final rise.
If you like a more mild sourdough bun, then just stick with the recipe below as it is written. A 4-5 hour first rise gives this recipe a perfect, light sour-ness that won’t overpower your burger.
I also use whole wheat flour in this bun recipe. The longer rise times helps soften the sturdier whole wheat flour, resulting in a wheat bun that is still tender and moist. And, the whole wheat flour gives great nutty flavors that play so well with the sourdough flavor.
Making Sourdough Hamburger Buns
Traditional sourdough bread is made from very simple ingredients: sourdough starter, water, flour, and salt. However, to give the sourdough hamburger buns a bit of extra softness and flavor that you crave from a good burger bun, I like to add some butter, egg, and honey (or sweetener of your choice) to the dough.
One thing to pay attention to when making sourdough is the consistency of your starter. The amount of moisture in your starter will have an effect on the amount of moisture you need for your dough.
My sourdough starter is about the consistency of a very thick pancake batter. So, if your starter is thinner, you may need to add more flour to reach a dough consistency that is soft, but not too sticky. If your starter is thicker than a batter (more like a sticky dough), you may need to add a splash more water to the bread recipe, and you will want to add your flour a little at a time, to make sure you don’t end up with a dough that is too dry.
In a nutshell, you want a bread dough that is soft and slightly tacky, but not overly sticky.
How To Knead Sourdough Hamburger Buns
The recipe below calls for hand-kneading your sourdough buns. Sourdough needs a good deal of kneading to strengthen the gluten. So, if you are kneading by hand, get ready for a 10-15 minute arm workout.
If you’re not up to kneading by hand (and, honestly, I rarely am), you can knead your dough in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for 5-7 minutes.
You can also use your bread machine’s dough setting. This tends to be my go-to way of kneading bread because I can set it and let it go. And it rises at a perfect temperature too! If using your bread machine’s dough setting, know that when the machine says your dough is done, it’s not. Just turn off the machine and leave the dough in there to rise until at least doubled (or longer if you’re looking for longer fermented sourdough).
Hamburger Bun Recipe: Sourdough Buns
Yield 10 (4oz) buns
- 1 cup sourdough starter*
- 1 cup filtered water (find the best water filtration systems here)
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 2 Tablespoons honey, or another sweetener (find organic honey here)
- 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour, divided (find organic whole wheat flour here)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (find unrefined sea salt here)
- 1 – 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (find organic all-purpose flour here)
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water (for the egg wash)
- optional, sesame seeds (for topping)
- In a medium bowl, mix the sourdough starter, water, eggs, melted butter, and honey.
- Add the whole wheat flour and salt. Mix well.
- Add the all-purpose flour ¼ cup at a time, until your dough comes together.
- Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes by hand. (This dough can also be made in your stand mixer or in your bread machine on the dough setting.) Once kneaded, the dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
- Place kneaded dough in a clean, greased bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel. Place the bread in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 4 hours. (If you want a more sour bun, you can let the dough rise for 6-8 hours.)
- After dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 10 roughly equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten the ball to about 1-inch thick. Place the rounds on a greased baking sheet.
- Cover the shaped buns with your tea towel and let them rise for another 1-2 hours, until nearly doubled and puffy.
- Near the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Once risen, gently brush the buns with with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if desired).
- Bake the buns in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden and firm when tapped.
- Transfer the buns to a wire rack and let them cool completely before using or storing. Slice before using.
* My sourdough starter is about the consistency of a very thick pancake batter. If your starter is thinner, you will most likely need to add more flour to your dough. If your starter is thicker (closer to a sticky dough consistency), you will probably need to add a splash more water to the bread recipe, and you will want to add your flour a little at a time, to make sure you don’t end up with a dough that is too dry. You want your bread dough to be soft and slightly tacky, but not overly sticky.
Courses Lunch or Dinner
Serving Size 1 bun (4 oz)
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Have you ever made a hamburger bun recipe using sourdough? What are your favorite burger toppings? Share with us below!