Homemade Hamburger Buns

In mid 1978, we were assigned to Fulda, Germany.  Having been stationed in Germany before, I knew the white bread and hamburger buns would fall short of what we liked. The Army had one bakery which serviced all the military installations throughout Germany.  Baird’s Bread, they were not. I loved the German rolls with their butter. I went downtown to the bakery often for rolls and fabulous pastries.

A friend, named Reba,  gave me this great recipe for hamburger buns.  I will share her original recipe for those with standard mixers as the last 3 or 4 cups of flour you will have to stir in by hand. I will give you the adjustments which I made to use my Kitchenaid™ mixer with paddle and dough hook after her recipe.  Yesterday’s trial run didn’t turn out as pretty as I am really out of practice, BUT they tasted great and held up as we had hamburgers for dinner.

12 hamburger buns on smaller baking pan

12 Hamburger buns on biscuit baking pan

Reba’s Hamburger Buns

In large mixing bowl, combine 4 cups flour,  2 packages yeast.  Combine 2 cups warm water, 3/4 cup cooking oil, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon salt. Add to dry mixture in bowl, add 3 eggs. Beat at low-speed with mixer 1/2 minute. Beat 3 minutes at high-speed. By hand stir in 4 cups flour. Turn out and knead. Place in greased bowl and let rise. Punch down, divide dough into 3 portions. Cover, let rise 5 minutes.  Divide each portion into 8 balls. turn balls in hand, folding edges under to make an even circles ( push thumb up into bottom center to for smooth round top). Place on a greased baking sheet, pressing to 3 1/2 ” circles. Let rise. Bake at 375° about 10 minutes. Makes 24 buns.

Back then instruction were scarce as one assumed you already knew how to cook, which most of us did as fast food eateries were not on every corner. Warm tap water is usually about 110° which is the least heat for yeast. If you do not have thermometer run hot tap water as hot as possible or put in microwave oven for 10 seconds or less. It it is too hot to touch, then let it cool a minute. Yeast is sensitive to heat and cool, so get a thermometer soon as you can.  In today’s Food and Drug world, buy a meat themometer as you should test meat for at least 165° at a minimum.

Hamburger Buns 2012

Mix 4 cups flour and 2 packages of yeast. I used Flieschmann’s Rapid Rise yeast.

Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon salt in mixing bowl with paddle attachment.

Add water heated to 120° to 130° and 2/3 cup canola oil to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Add 3 eggs,  Beat at slow speed until ingredients are incorporated. Beat 3 minutes at higher speed.  (Users of Kitchenaid™ type of mixers know how to increase speed incrementally.)

At this time, I switched to dough hook and slowly added a heaping tablespoon at a time the 1st cup of flour. The remaining 3 cups, I stirred in by hand.  As I went along with each addition, I used dough hook to knead as much as possible. I did knead the last cup in by hand.

Cover: let rest 10 minutes (replaces first rise in 2-step recipes).

Divide dough into 3 portions.

Divide each portion into 8 balls. turn balls in hand, folding edges under to make an even circles ( push thumb up into bottom center to for smooth round top. Place on a greased baking sheet, pressing to 3 1/2 ” circles. I weighed dough and  to get 24 rolls, I used 2.5 ounce pieces.

Cover and let rise until doubled in size.

Bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes.

Note: I think next time I will use 3 ounces of dough. A few less rolls, but it isn’t the quantity it is the quality I am after. I was out of practice of shaping the rolls. Take each ball and continually fold under until top is smooth. Then insert thumb up into bottom center to form smooth round top. It will resemble a mushroom cap.

hamburger buns on large pan

hamburger buns on large baking pan

Cooking tips:

Spoon flour into dry ingredient measuring cup, level off.

Always gauge liquid temperature with thermometer.

I used a meat thermometer instead of candy thermometer, but either works. You should have both if possible.

I used OXO Good Grips™ 5lb. Food Scale with Pull-Out Display  Online scale

I baked in two different size pans, just to see difference. The biscuit pan held 12 buns and had a good crown, but I prefer the buns in the large pan as they resemble store-bought buns. These freeze well.

For beginners or a refresher on yeast dough go to King Arthur’s Yeast Dough Hints.

Enjoy in good health.


2 thoughts on “Homemade Hamburger Buns

  1. When I decided to learn to bake I did buns as well and they were delicious, but very fragile and the juices from the meat turned them to mush fairly quickly. My recipe (I don’t recall exactly) was fairly similar, but I wonder if you had the same issue.

    • They are tender but hold up fairly well, better than the one I had at Red Robin last night.
      I am going to remake soon, I received the dough enhancer I ordered plus I want to make
      them a tad larger. I have really big guys, so they really expect a bigger bun than the 2.5 ounce ones. I will let you know when I re-do. Wow that is getting to be my favorite word. I consider the lung surgery a re-do. LOL

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