I don’t typical eat burgers. Most times when you find a burger on a restaurant menu, they’re either the basic safe option or they’re just one outrageous monstrosity topped with every topping imagined. And despite loving my brioche breads, I felt that the brioche bun weighs the whole burger down. It’s too heavy and rich, along with the beef patty, it’s no easy dish to swallow. Then again, these opinions are entirely my own. I’m sure many burger enthusiasts out there will counter my views and provide arguments how brioche buns are the only way to go.
So when Rollo wanted burgers for dinner one night, I took it upon myself to make a burger bun I actually wouldn’t mind devouring. I wanted it to be lighter at the same time still be able to hold the bold flavours of the beef patties and other condiments. After multiple considerations and trial and error, I finally have it. In the beginning, I knew I wanted to eliminate milk and eggs in the buns. My first iteration turned out delicious, but the buns were too soft and disintegrated as they absorbed the juices from the patties. Then I created sourdough bun. I had one the last time I went to a restaurant and had a burger. I don’t know what happened but mine turned out to be exactly like a sourdough loaf i.e. crusty and hole-y. Which, for a burger, is not ideal. I probably would’ve sandpapered the roof of my mouth if I attempted to eat a burger with it. In the end, I decide to go to a simple route. I took inspiration from the humble white morning rolls that you’d often find in the bakery section of the supermarkets in the UK. Finally, I found the burger bun for me.
These buns are not only lighter, they just so happen to be vegan friendly too! No eggs and dairy with only 2 tablespoons of oil used in this recipe for 8 buns. I added a touch of whole wheat flour in the recipe to provide a dimension of flavour. I think it adds a slightly roasty element to it. The bun itself is soft and pillow-y. at the same time have a sturdy thin crust that doesn’t disintegrate. I opted out of the egg wash. Instead, brushed the tops with water before sprinkling sesame seeds so it’ll stick better. This is definitely my go-to burger bun recipe from now. I feel that it has similar texture to the brioche without being too heavy. It’s definitely simple enough that the meat and other toppings can shine through. So check out the recipe below and tell me what you think about it.
Simple Burger Buns Recipe [vegan]
- 400g all-purpose white flour
- 100g whole wheat bread flour (substitute with more white flour if preferred)
- 7g (~2 ¼ tsp) easy bake yeast (can be substituted with fast action/instant yeast)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 300ml warm water (~35-40C)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Sesame seeds (optional)
- In a big mixing bowl, combine flours, yeast, salt and sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk warm water and oil together. It’s alright if the oil don’t mix with the water.
- With a wooden spoon or your hand, gradually mix in the liquid into the big mixing bowl. Stirring often so that the liquid is well integrated with the dry ingredients.
- Once it forms into a shaggy wet dough, dump it on a lightly floured surface and start to knead. Don’t be tempted to add extra flour now. The longer you knead it, the less sticky the dough will be. But if you find your dough unbearably wet, add a tablespoon of white flour at a time until desired texture.
- Knead for around 7-10 minutes. Don’t worry about the time too much and focus on the texture of your dough instead. Once the dough feels smooth and elastic, it’s done.
- Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl and place your kneaded dough inside. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave to proof in a warm space for about an hour until doubled in size.
- Knock back the dough once with your fist and let it rest for a further 10 minutes.
- Place the dough back on the work surface and divide into 8 balls.
- Form each piece into round balls. What I like to do is flatten each piece and then fold each corner towards the center, flip it seam side down and then use my hands to roll it around the work surface to make a smooth ball.
- Place each ball into a parchment lined baking tray and repeat with the others. Once all is done, cover the tray with a clean kitchen towel to proof for 45 minutes.
- In the last 20 minutes of proofing, preheat the oven at 220C/fan
- Optional: before putting in the oven, brush the tops of each bun with some water and then sprinkle some sesame seeds to get a more traditional burger bun effect.
- Place buns in the oven and bake for around 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye out for browning. If it browns too quickly, lower heat to 200C. The buns should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom when they’re done.
- Once out of the oven, transfer buns to cooling rack. Cover the baked buns with a kitchen towel and it’ll help keep moisture. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.