The Best Burger Buns

It’s back to work and back in the kitchen after a long and lovely vacation. I have a lot of catching up to do, but I wanted to drop by and quickly share one of my favorite recipes.

Homemade burger buns really make all the difference. They have the power to transform an ordinary sandwich into something truly spectacular, and it’s always fun to watch your friends’ jaws drop when they say “You mean, you even made the bread?!” When I have the time, I like to make my own buns for my hamburger parties, but it’s unmanageable for large groups or a tight schedule. That’s where Johnny comes in.

For a recent event I found myself in need of a large number of homemade buns, and no time to make them myself. So with the help of my friend Marina, we approached her friendly neighborhood bakery with my cookbook in hand and asked if they would be interested in learning a new recipe, and multiplying it by 60. The owner of the bakery turned out to be not only willing, but exceptionally passionate about the project. The baker, an America-enthusiast who calls himself Johnny, dedicated himself whole-heartedly to the cause and the buns came out perfectly: soft, delicate, moist and slightly sweet. I was completely satisfied with the results, and still chuckle over the irony of myself providing bread recipes to a professional Italian baker.

So if you have the time, I urge you to try this recipe at home; it’s straightforward and the majority of the time is hands-off as the dough rises. Otherwise, if you’re in Milan, give Johnny a call, he’ll be glad to whip you up a fresh batch.

Giò, Il Fornaio del Corso
Corso San Gottardo 12
20136 Milano
Tel. 02 8322649

Burger Buns

For the dough:

  • 3/4 c (180 ml) warm water
  • 2 Tbsp (30 g) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 3.5 c (450 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c (50 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package instant yeast (lievito di birra istantanea)

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 Tbsp water
  • sesame seeds

Mix together all dough ingredients either by hand, mixer, or bread machine for about 10 minutes to make a soft, smooth dough.

Place the dough in a clean and lightly greased bowl. Cover it with a towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.

Gently deflate the dough, carefully roll into a log and cut into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a disk, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and about 3 in (8 cm) across. Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until very puffy.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

Beat together the egg and water to make the egg wash. Brush buns lightly with egg wash, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake the buns in preheated oven until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes 8 buns.