Bread machine hamburger buns

In the spirit of Bread Machine Baguette, here is a simple shortcut recipe that automates most of the work with making hamburger buns from scratch. The extended poolish time isn’t required here (with the milk you don’t want it anyways), so the recipe only takes about 3 hours and requires very little preparation other than shaping the dough.

The first time I ate one of these I wondered if I would ever be able to go to a store and buy a hamburger bun again. Three months later, I still have not been able to buy hamburger buns from the store. I’m not even able to see them in the store anymore–I am almost completely blind to the entire grocery store bread section now. Because the bread machine cuts out so much of the preparation work (and cleanup) and the end product is just next-level better than anything you can buy (even at a top-end bakery) you will probably wonder the same thing after you try this. You have been warned.

Place in the bread maker, in roughly this order:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 lb (450g) all purpose flour

Using the same programming as Bread Machine Baguette, set the bread machine up to do at least two, preferably three, rise cycles but no baking cycle.

When the rise cycles are complete, fariner your work surface, roll the dough and cut into eight equal portions. Shape into discs and place on a well greased baking pan (or silicone baking surface). In a separate bowl, whisk together:

  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 egg

and apply to the top of the dough. Optionally apply sesame seeds to the top (protip: “everything seasoning”) and bake at 375°F until golden brown.

Shaping the dough might take some practice. Treat it like making cookies or biscuits, except you’re shaping the cookie by hand. Don’t stress out “over working” the dough–having done this a few times with my kids I concluded it’s pretty hard to screw up. However if you would like guidance on how to shape the buns there are a number of youtubers that go through the technique.

If you want to go “full brioche” replace all of the water with milk and the vegetable oil with unsalted butter, and perhaps also add a second egg. You can’t go wrong by doubling the butter either, but the further you go down this path the more delicate (and weaker) the bun will be. It depends upon your objective: if you want a hearty bun that can hold up a 1/2 lb burger I would leave the recipe as it stands, but if you’re looking for something to pair with prosciutto, light mozzarella and arugula by all means crank the brioche to 11.