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fluffy white bread for hamburger buns

I want a recipe for fluffy white bread that I can turn into typical hamburger buns. Of course I'll tweak it to add flavor, but i want the basic recipe. I don't want your favorite bun recipe or something that's going to make a ciabatta like roll. I want cheap, fluffy, pillows of bread.

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  1. I don't understand why you want to make these - just for the challenge? I don't think you could replicate all the chemicals that do into making them as puffy, non-degradable and tasteless as they are. We buy them for pulled pork sandwiches which need a soft pillow to absorb the juices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheryl_h

      There's an intangible quality to them. I want to maintain that aspect while making them better. I think they are great for stuff like the pulled pork you mentioned, or hamburgers. Plus, if I want to make a hamburgers for people that don't appreciate other breads, I'd still like to give them a treat. If nothing else, they're great for wadding up and throwing at people, right?

    2. To answer your question Amkikland, this recipe is really good:

      White Rolls

      This recipe works best if you have a large stand mixer. If you don't, go ahead and make it anyway. Just beat and beat the dough really well as you add the flour.
      1 cup whole milk
      2 pkg. dry yeast
      1/2 cup butter, melted
      1/4 tsp. salt
      1/4 cup sugar
      2 eggs
      4-1/2 to 5 cups flour
      more melted butter
      Warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Mix 1/3 of the milk with the dry yeast in a small bowl and let sit until bubbly. In a large bowl, combine remaining milk, melted butter, salt and sugar and beat until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the beaten eggs and bubbly yeast.
      Add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating on high speed of stand mixer. This step should take at least 5 minutes. When the dough gets too stiff to beat, stir in rest of flour by hand, if necessary, to make a soft dough. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, until smooth and satiny. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size. (I have also covered the dough well and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. This works really well.)

      Punch down the dough and roll out on floured surface to 1/2" thickness. Cut with 3" round cookie cutter. Brush each roll with melted butter and fold in half to make half circles. Pinch edge lightly to hold, so the rolls don't unfold as they rise. Place in 2 greased 13x9" pans, cover, and let rise again until double. (If you refrigerated the dough, this will take a little longer.)

      Bake rolls at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Mickey Blue

        1/2 a cup of butter? I think these rolls are typically fat-free or nearly so.

        why fold the circles when shaping?

        1. re: amkirkland

          I think if you are going to make them at home, you'll want fat in your recipe. It helps to keep it soft and moist. Supermarket stuff is laden with lots of fillers to replicate a lot of that.

          If you find a recipe for soft white bread, it's essentially the same thing, just shape into rounds or do as the poster above recommended - roll it out and cut it with a biscuit cutter.

          1. re: amkirkland

            A folded-over yeast roll with a little butter in the fold is called a Parker House roll.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              I know, but that's not what i'm shooting for

            2. re: amkirkland

              If your asking for Hamburger rolls like the ones you find in the supermarket, then that recipe is the perfect match. There exactly alike, except for all the artificial additives. If you want them fluffy, you need to make sure they rise properly and that their kneaded well. no special additives or chemicals are required. Companies use all those additives to *keep* the bread soft and flavorful inorder to extend it's shelf life.

              1. re: amkirkland

                Half cup of butter will be pretty darn spread out when you're talking about 5 cups of flour. They will probably end up fairly low in fat per serving. Check out the back of the cheep burger roll package - I bet it has like a gram of fat and includes butter, margarine, or oil in the ingredients.

            3. I'm nervous about asking this... but... has anyone experimented with using gelatin or other stabilizers in a recipe like this? I'm on a mission. let's call it molecular gastronomy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: amkirkland

                I've heard about using guar gum in breads... but usually for whole wheat or like breads that could use extra stabilization, since those flours don't have the same gluten as other flours. However, I haven't actually used it in breads nor have I tried gelatin. Interesting experiment.

              2. Soft white bread requires milk, eggs, sugar, and butter in the dough. Here's a recipe for hamburger or hot dog buns from King Arthur flour: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/r...

                5 Replies
                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  I'm going beyond soft... I want fluffy...

                  sorry, i'm difficult

                  1. re: amkirkland

                    Perhaps you can do a combination of yeast and double acting baking powder, and with extra fat. Make the dough wet, like a ciabatta, slightly wetter. Be sure to use double acting baking powder. Bake it in a six-inch cake pan. Let it proof in the pan. When Baked the yeast is working and additional leavening can be provided by the baking powder. Best of luck.

                    1. re: amkirkland

                      The only way to make breads/rolls EXACTLY the way you want them is to try different recepies.....experiment, make adjustments, and try again! Try different ways! This is the only method that you will get "exactly" what you want. This is how I managed to develop an Italian loaf as I wanted it to be.

                      Where is your spirit of adventure?

                      1. re: Lisbet

                        wow... slow down... I'm just trying to get a place to start. I've never baked a loaf of bread that wasn't an adjustment from a previous loaf.

                      2. re: amkirkland

                        Try a potato roll dough. Basically, it's Mickey_Blue's recipe but with a 1/3 cup instant potato flakes added. Pour the hot milk over the flakes, add the butter (to melt it), salt and sugar. Proceed with dough. Adjust flour as potato dough tends to resist "coming together" sometimes.
                        After the first rise, divide the dough into equal sized balls. I'm guessing 12 is a good number to shoot for. You may well need two sheet pans.
                        Place the rounded dough balls with 1 1/2 to 2 inch spacing, on a greased or parchment covered baking sheet. Cover and let proof 10-12 minutes. With another sheet of parchment (spray with Pan Release if you are hesitant), place over the rolls and place another baking sheet on top. Press down firmly and evenly, just enough to flatten the tops of the buns.
                        Replace proofing cover, and let rise until doubled and light.
                        Oven 350-375o. Bake time about 15 minutes. Rotate pan(s) halfway through baking for evenness.

                        (Putting seeded toppings on is best done right after the balls are rounded, pressing each one firmly, top side down, into a small pan of sesame or poppyseeds.)

                        —Anonimo: professional baker for 30 years—

                    2. Don't know if this will help, but is was described as fluffy by one baker:


                      Just form it into buns.

                      1. Amkirkland,

                        I have declared 2007 as the year of the Hamburger Bun, Hot Dog Bun and Sub Roll. First I want to make a "store bought" bun. And then I want to move from there to what I really want.

                        I have been searching the web and reviewing recipes. Most of the recipes are pretty similar. And none of them produce "store bought" buns. In fact even dissimilar recipes produce similar buns. I am going batty, however I have pictures.

                        The best results that I have had was introducing "cake flour". It make a bigger difference then anything else I have tried. But I am still not there.

                        Each test batch uses one cup of liquid and 2+ cups of flour. This should make 8 4" hamburger buns or 6 5" hamburger buns. I have cooked at 350F and 450F and I think the magic number is 400F. The hotter, the thinner the crust (but less additional rise in the oven).

                        The last batch was ...

                        1 cup all purpose flour (King Arthur's)
                        1 cup cake flour (Pillsbury Softasilk Cake Flour)
                        1 teaspoon salt

                        1 cup milk
                        2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
                        1.5 tablespoons of sugar
                        1 tablespoon butter

                        Heat the milk in the microwaver for approx 1 minute. Add the yeast, sugar, butter.

                        Sift the flours and salt in the mixer bowl (I bought the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer specifically to make buns and rolls). Slowly add the wet stuff to the dry stuff. I used about 1/4 more all purpose flour to make the dough "right". I think I let it mix for 10 minutes with a few minute rest in the middle. This is not a sticky dough and I don't need any dough on the counter to work the dough.

                        Let it rest a few minutes. Use 1/8 of the dough per bun. Shape in a ball. Put on a cookie sheet (I spray with Pam and then use cornmeal) and press the ball down until the diameter is 3". Cover with a moist towel and let rise about an hour. Cook on a middle rack at 400F for 10.5 minutes. I made two buns this way.

                        Take 1/4 of the dough and let it rise for an hour. Punch it down and then shape into 2 balls and press down until the diameter is 3". Blah, blah, blah. The results were the same.

                        Take 1/4 of the dough and let it rise in the fridge. Punch it down, make the balls, blah, blah, blah. The results were the same.

                        But the whole point is that cake flour made a big difference.

                        I am not sure what to try next. Mickey Blue above suggest more butter and eggs. In my 1 cup liquid mixture, I would do 2/3 cups milk, 1/3 cup butter, 1 egg.

                        What have you tried and what is working for you?

                        FYI, white bread has 0.5 grams of fat per slice. I would assume that a hamburger bun contains 1 gram of fat. Land O' Lakes butter has 11 grams of fat per tablespoon. The olive oil I have has 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. So the addition of fat (as best I can conclude) is not what "store bought" white bread is all about. It is something else. I have 11 more months to figure it out.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: ArtH

                          What store bought white bread is "all about" is dough conditioners. Read the ingredients label. Various chemicals & enzymes are used in commercial baking, depending on the desired effect...here's a link to one company's dough conditioners spec sheet--it will give you an idea of the chemical engineering that goes into a supermarket loaf of bread: http://www.lallemand.com/BakerYeastNA...

                          1. re: ArtH

                            what if i use cake flour such as german type 405 flour (which has protein contents of 9.9 percent) wholly for the dough of the burger buns?
                            do you think the possible resutl might be a little fluffily ok?
                            last time i used german tyep 550 flour in making hamburger buns according to the recipe of king arthur flour site( as a substitue for king arthure all purpose flour). disappointingly the burger buns was dense side making me easily full of stomac even though the interor texture of the buns and outside was very soft and well browned due to egg wash, respectibly.

                            1. re: hae young

                              Low protein flour won't make a soft YEASTED roll. You need some gluten (protein) to make the dough strong enough to support all those air bubbles. The tenderness is supplied by eggs, dry milk solids, butter, or other tenderizing agents like oil.

                          2. Many thanks to Hungry Celeste for reminding me to order some "dough conditioners". I ordered some and I am getting happier each day.

                            A "basic" batch consists of ...

                            2 cups of Flour (I haven't figured the correct flour (AP, Wheat, Bread)
                            1 cup of water (actually a bit less)
                            2 tea yeast (active dry)
                            2 tea sugar
                            1 tea salt
                            1 tea dough conditioner (they say to use 1/2 tea)
                            1 tbl oil

                            The last batch I made used 1/2 wheat and 1/2 all purpose. The buns were great the day I made them and the next day also. I also made a test loaf and it was good the next day (day 3) and it appears that it would be good today.

                            In addition to the dough conditioners, as noted in the recipe above, I made a relatively wet ball of dough. Not messy wet, but by no means dry. Most all recipes that I tried kinda call for 3 cups of flour for 1 cup of liquid. That mix is unrealistically dry. I would say 1 cup of liquid to 2.25 cups of flour might be more like it.

                            I use plenty of yeast and plenty of sugar (see above).

                            I let the dough double in size (about 1/2 hour to 3/4 hour). I shape into balls (100 grams for an approx 5" bun) and I let it rise for a good 45 minutes and then a bit more as the oven preheats.

                            I have been making my final rise in the oven. I have a temperature sensor and I pulse the oven to keep it between 100 and 110 DegF. I also put a small pot of boiling water in the oven to add humidity. I re-boil the water every 15 minutes or so to keep the oven moist.

                            A 100 gram dough ball can produce a good sized bun.

                            I tried cooking at different temperatures, but I am convinced that hotter is better so you DON'T develop much crust. I cooked the buns at 450 degF for 12 minutes.

                            When the buns come out of the oven, you will think you are a failure because the crust is slightly crisp. This goes away as the buns cool. Allow the buns to cool some (maybe 15 minutes or so) and put them in a plastic zip lock bag while still a little warm. This was really important as the warm bread made all the crispy crust disappear.

                            As noted earlier, they were still fresh a few days later.

                            Tonight I am making a batch with just Bread Flour (instead of wheat and AP).

                            I am attaching a photo (I hope) that shows the wheat / all purpose bun on day 2.

                            I will write later about my test tonight. If the Bread Flour is not the solution, I will try a batch with All Purpose Flour.

                            I am really happy and I think I am on the right path. Additional oils and milk and butter and eggs are not necessary to make soft bread. Dough conditioners, wet balls of dough and high heat seem to be working.

                            Thanks to all for the help and insight.

                            1. This recipe is THE ultimate in soft 'burger buns.

                              4 tsp. instant yeast
                              2 1/2 T. sugar
                              1 1/3 cups of warm bottled water
                              4 tsp. Vegetable oil
                              2 cups AP flour
                              2 cups Bread flour
                              1 1/4 tsp salt
                              4 tsp bottled water
                              beaten egg white.

                              In large stand mixer bowl, dissolve yeast, sugar, and warm water. Mix well with beaters, and let stand until foamy and/or creamy, about 8-12 minutes.

                              Add oil, 2 cups of bread flour, and salt. Stir well with beaters. Remove the beaters and insert the bread hooks. Add the remaining 2 cups of AP flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until dough comes together. Add addition flour if necessary to form a smooth, cohesive, elastic ball of dough. Flour counter, and knead further as necessary to get a smooth, elastic ball of dough. Should not be too sticky.

                              Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl and turn so dough is coated on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in bulk - about 40 minutes.

                              Weigh dough, and dive into eightequal pieces. Roll and form the dough in balls/rounds. Flatten slightly, then place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, or on a cookie sheet lines with oiled, floured parchment paper. Let rise for another 20-30 minutes until doubled in size.

                              Beat the egg white and water. Carefully brush the egg white onto rolls. Bake rolls in preheated 350 degree oven for 5 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.

                              You may want to divide the gough into 10-12 pieces, because these rolls really rise.

                              1. Hi amkirkland,

                                Did you ever get to find that perfect hamburger bun of yours? I'm on the same mission and I'm trying to replicate mcdonalds buns as my starting point.

                                I agree that store bought buns have a good quality to them in this department.

                                1. On a side point, I'd like to solicit opinion here.

                                  *Personally*, when it comes to hamburgers, I think the type of bun (insubstantial, can be collapsed to a thin disc) that you find at the "typical" fast food restaurant to be poor. I'd much prefer my hamburger buns to be reasonably substantial, certainly solid enough to withstand being loaded with the weight of a rare-cooked 8 oz/225 g patty without collapsing. Not necessarily firm or truly chewy, mind you, just substantial and reasonably robust.

                                  BUT, I note that every "posh" hamburger restaurant I've gone to - i.e. the "specialists" who are in some sense or another trying to provide their "ultimate" interpretation of the hamburger - has the same basic bun approach, something ultra-insubstantial, not really able to support even the weight of a heavily loaded burger. That suggests something strong about consumer preference. It seems likely that there's an overwhelming preference for a very insubstantial bun.

                                  So my question: in terms of the ultimate hamburger, do people here prefer the "fast-food" style air-bun, or would you want something more robust?