hamburger buns topped with sesame seeds (bookmarked recipe)

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summary: hamburger buns topped with sesame seeds; submission for “YeastSpotting” and “Bookmarked Recipes 19” (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

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hamburger buns My wheedling paid off! We had onion rings again the other night.

How did I manage it? I dangled the “but we can have hamburgers for dinner…” carrot. And I promised to the make buns with sesame seeds on top.

In the past, for hamburger buns, I have shaped my mom’s sandwich bread into buns. I have also shaped foccacia dough like pita and let them rise a little after shaping to make very good hamburger buns. But Susan’s (Wild Yeast) hamburger buns had been beckoning to me ever since I saw them in early June. Now that I have my fancy new scale, I really had to try making them. I had no more excuses. (And I really wanted those onion rings!)

What excellent hamburger buns!!

And easy to make too! Buns are SO much easier to shape than loaves! The only slight difficulty I had with the recipe was with the fractions of grams Susan called for. My fancy new scale isn’t THAT fancy. It will not register partial grams.

The part I really loved about the recipe was the instruction on how to get the sesame seeds onto the tops of the buns. I’ve always sprinkled them on. But Susan has a much better method:

[S]hape [each piece] into a tight ball. […] Roll the top of the ball on a wet towel to moisten it, then in sesame seeds.

How smart is that!? The seeds all go onto the buns instead of being scattered on the pan below.

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

I did make a couple of changes to Susan’s recipe. I used active dry yeast instead of instant and decided to use only one egg rather than the two she called for. To make up for the missing liquid, I added a quarter cup (or so) of water. I also decided to add the equivalent of a cup of skim milk by adding powdered milk.

dough I had one other small difficulty. When making the actual dough, I almost forgot to add the starter dough (doh…) and added it after I had mixed everything else. The roughly mixed dough looked quite marbly when I put it out on the board. But kneading for 10 minutes smoothed it out nicely.

Why did this happen? Because I only scrawled out the recipe ingredients to take into the kitchen. I didn’t copy out the instructions as well… I don’ need no stinkin’ instructions! (Ha. :lalala:)(click on image to see larger view and more photos)

Here is what I did to make these wonderful hamburger buns:

Hamburger Buns Topped with Sesame Seeds
based on Susan’s (Wild Yeast) hamburger rolls

makes 8 hamburger buns

Starter Dough

  • 1 gm (¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 115 gm water
  • 171 gm unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp seasalt

Final Dough

  • 60 gm (¼ c) lukewarm water*
  • 4 gm (1 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 110 gm additional water
  • 8 gm (2 tsp) seasalt
  • 26 gm instant skim milk powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 42 gm vegetable oil
  • 20 gm demerara sugar (brown sugar)
  • 30 gm unpasteurized honey
  • all of the above starter dough
  • 164 gm (1¼ c) unbleached all-purpose flour**
  • 246 gm (2 c) whole wheat flour**
  • sesame seeds


  1. Starter Dough On the evening before making the buns: In a medium sized bowl, add the yeast to the water. Whisk together until creamy.
  2. Add the rest of the starter dough ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is encorporated.
  3. Cover and leave on the counter (out of drafts) overnight.
  4. Actual Dough On the next morning (the day for making the buns): In a small bowl, add the yeast to 60gm lukewarm water. Whisk together until creamy. Set aside.
  5. Pour the rest of the water into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in
    milk powder, salt, egg, vegetable oil, sugar and honey.
  6. Add all of the above starter dough and squoosh it around between your fingers to break it up. (I didn’t do this step but next time I will.)
  7. Add yeasted water and the flours. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the dough pulls away from the bowl and the flour is pretty much encorporated. Cover and set aside to sit on the counter for about 20 minutes.
  8. After 20 minutes has passed, scatter a light dusting of flour on your board for kneading the dough. Turn the dough out onto the board.
  9. Wash and dry your mixing bowl. This prepares the rising bowl AND gets your hands clean.
  10. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes . As you knead, add as little flour as you dare to stop the dough from sticking. Keep scraping any dough that is on the board so the board is always clear. Knead until the dough is smooth and silky. (Or, if you forgot to add the starter dough until the end, knead until the starter dough was evenly mixed into the actual dough.)
  11. Put the dough in the clean mixing bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a no-draft area for 1 to 1½ hours. When the dough has doubled, you can either gently push it down and allow it to rise again, or you can shape the dough. A good way to tell if the dough has doubled is to wet your finger and poke a hole in the top of the dough. If the hole fills up, it hasn’t risen enough. If there is a whoosh of air and the dough deflates a little, it has risen too much. If the hole stays in exactly the same configuration and the dough remains otherwise intact, it is ju-u-st right.
  12. Shaping: To shape the buns, turn the dough out onto the lightly floured board. Divide it in eight even pieces. Shape each portion into a tight round. To do so, hold each piece in your cupped hand and fold it in on itself from above. Place the finished rounds seam side down, well apart, on two parchment covered cookie sheets.
  13. Pour some sesame seeds into a saucer. Pick up one of the shaped rounds and using a pastry brush, gently brush the top with water. Turn the round over and roll it in the sesame seeds. Place the round back on the parchment paper, sesame seed side up. Repeat with the other seven.
  14. Once the rounds are all covered in sesame seeds, gently press them down with the flat of your hand to form discs. (Make sure none of the discs are touching each other.) Cover the pans with a damp tea towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise again on the counter (out of draughts) until the buns have almost doubled (about an hour). To test, flour your finger and press gently on the edge – it should very slowly spring back. For comparison, try pressing early on to see how it quickly springs back when the dough has not risen enough.
  15. Baking: Twenty minutes before you are going to bake, turn oven to 400F.
  16. Just before putting the buns in the oven, spray the tops liberally with water. Put the trays in the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 375F. Bake the bread for about 15 minutes until they are hollow sounding on the bottom. You will probably have to turn the trays around once to account for uneven heat in the oven. If the buns aren’t quite done after 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 350F and bake for another 5 minutes or so. (I baked the buns on the top rack of the oven to ensure that the bottoms did not get burned. There is a lot of sugar in this dough.)
  17. Remove buns from oven and allow to cool on a well ventilated rack. Wait til they are cool before cutting them. They are still continuing to bake inside!***

* Under no circumstances should you use water from the hot water tap. Water from the hot water tap sits festering in your hot water tank, leaching copper, lead, zinc, solder, etc. etc from the tank walls… the higher temperature causes faster corrosion. Of course, saying that it is unsafe to use water from the hot water tap might be an urban myth, but why tempt fate? Heat the water in a kettle or microwave.

** Please note that a Canadian cup holds 250ml, a Canadian tablespoon holds 15ml and a Canadian teaspoon holds 5ml.

hamburger buns *** If you wish to serve warm buns, reheat them after they have cooled completely. To reheat uncut buns, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the buns in the hot oven for ten minutes. For hamburgers, cut the buns in half and place them crumb side down on the barbecue to toast slightly. I like to break open the buns for hamburgers (I suppose I really should have made a sacrifice and sliced this one to show off the crumb for the photograph.)

hamburgers We used the buns for vegetarian burgers**** garnished with cheese, bacon (ha! why not? :-)), red leaf lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayonnaise, mustard and eggplant relish. And that red stuff? It’s beet salad. And that golden crispy stuff? Onion rings!

Oh, yes, and they’re not just for hamburgers! They were perfect for chicken sandwiches too.

These hamburger buns turned out so well that we might neeeeed to have hamburgers again (and onion rings, of course) very soon.

**** To make the burgers, we used chickpeas as the base, basically following our falafel recipe but putting in thyme, onions and garlic, rather than the middle eastern spices and coriander leaf. I’ll do another post showing the process for cooking the vegetarian burgers on the barbecue. We were completely thrilled with the results and may never go back to ground meat burgers again….

Events: YeastSpotting and Bookmarked Recipes

Bookmarked Recipes
Bookmarked Recipes - every Monday Ruth (Ruth’s Kitchen Experiments) created this event to urge herself (and everyone else) to actually make the several recipes they have bookmarked. For complete details on how to participate, please read the following:


I don’t think I can ever thank Susan enough for the help and inspiration she has provided. These buns, which happen to come from her site, are yet another instance of what terrific things are available at Wild Yeast. (Did I remember to mention that we loved our hamburger buns?) Each week Susan compiles a list of many recipes for or using bread from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in Susan’s (Wild Yeast) YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

This post is partially mirrored on The Fresh Loaf

5 responses to “hamburger buns topped with sesame seeds (bookmarked recipe)

  1. Susan/Wild Yeast

    I’m so glad this recipe was successful for you — they look great. (Sorry about the fractional grams. Volume measurements work well for small ingredients like yeast and salt). Chickpea burgers sound wonderful and I’ll look forward to your post about grilling them.

  2. ejm Post author

    No worries, Susan. I’m completely used to rounding off and making adjustments. That’s the great thing about bread – it is forgiving.

    Paz, the buns ARE good. They’re fabulous in fact. (Thank you again, Susan.)


  3. Tina

    you make your own that is awesome! I am not there yet haha.. but one day I will add buns to my list of creations, I love a good sesame seeded one =). They look awesome!

    But you’re a daring baker! If you can make the amazing looking cakes that are on your site, Tina, these buns will be a snap for you. -Elizabeth


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