14 August 2008

Stealing the Show

It's safe to say that the meat is typically the most important part of a hamburger, while the bun is just there so you don't get your hands dirty. But after a while, you get sick of the straw-like bun that contains the burger. I know I did, that's why I'm glad I made Martha Stewart's recipe for hamburger buns. Not only do they look amazing, but it tastes exactly like a hamburger bun is supposed to, although the store-bought ones never taste like it themselves. Ironic!

This dough is a dream to work with, and doesn't take very long to knead, thanks to an autolyse after a 1-minute kneading at the beginning.


The key to making perfect rounds that hold their shape is to develop a taut outer skin. Don't over-flour the work surface, or else you'll lose the traction needed to shape the rolls.

Pull the outer edges of the dough into the middle until you have a round ball. You will start to feel a bit of resistance from the dough when you've done it enough.

Once you've completed the first step, turn the dough ball so the seam side faces down, and use the edge of your hands to 'cup' the underside while continually turning the ball. This forms the seal.


Topping the risen buns

Once risen, the buns will have puffed quite a bit (which is why you want to flatten them a bit before letting it rise, or else it'll be more spherical than bun-like). You then brush the tops and a bit down the sides with an egg-milk glaze, finishing with a sprinkling of your choice of toppings. I like the look of wheat bran.


What's awesome about this recipe is that the finished product looks like a hamburger bun, and it'll never be confused for a giant bread roll. The texture of the crumb is very even, springy, and soft.


Homemade Hamburger Buns
From The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics
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Makes 12


  • 1½ cups warm water (100-110°)

  • ⅔ cup instant nonfat dry milk

  • ⅓ cup unsalted melted butter, cooled

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 ¼-ounce packages active dry yeast (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (my addition)

  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • Canola oil, for bowl

  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 1 tablespoon seeds, such as sesame, poppy, fennel, or cumin, optional (or wheat bran, however much you need for sprinkling)


  1. Place the warm water, dry milk, butter, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and stire to combine. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture, whisk, and let stand until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add egg, 1 yolk, 2 cups flour, wheat gluten, and salt; whisk until smooth. Add 2½ cups flour; stir with a wooden spoon. When mixture becomes too thick to stir, use your hands. Add up to another ½ cup flour until dough is tacky when pinched but not sticky. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead for 1 minute. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes.

  3. Knead dough again until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Punch down dough; divide in half. Cut each half into sixths; form flattened balls. Arrange buns 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover; let stand until doubled in size, 45 minutes.

  4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk remaining egg yolk and milk; brush egg wash lightly over buns. Top buns with the seeds, if using. Bake until golden and hollow sounding when tapped, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Buns can be frozen in a resealable plastic bag up to 2 months.



  1. Christina,

    Those buns look absolutely wonderful and soft. I have hamburgers on the menu plan next week and I think I'll be trying these instead of my own recipe for buns.

  2. Gorgeous buns!! I envy your kneading skills.

  3. I had to chuckle to myself, as we're all commenting on your buns... :) they do look just divine though!

  4. I'll jump on your bun bandwagon :)

    I love the golden color they all have, that's something that's always missing on those store bought ones. I am totally jealous of your dough skills :)

    Oh and I'll email you back soon, I'm just playing tour guide in NYC first... honest.

  5. WOW! That looks super perfect! The buns we made at school weren't as pretty as yours. I'll have to try your recipe sometime.

  6. Mary - Let me know how it works out for you!

    VeggieGirl - Thanks!

    TTFN - Get your mind outta the gutter! =P

    Adam - The "gold" color on store bought buns is too uniform. It's kinda sketchy.

    No worries. Being a tour guide sounds fun! Maybe I'll give tours of South Bend... Or, well, I'll just direct them towards the local Segway tour, haha!

    Valerie - Thank you!

  7. Wow, looks like I have an eye for your creations! I'm just browsing Photograzing and this is the 2nd post of yours I've clicked on :)

  8. I'm gonna try your recipe! I didn't love the ones I made so much.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^


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