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Dec 25, 2007 11:23 AM

Hamburger Bun Frustrations

I often make In-N-Out Burger clones at home. Sometimes I make healthier low fat versions, sometimes superpremium versions. They always taste great, and I think I make a better one than In-N-Out does, at this point.

My biggest problem finding an appropriate bun in LA. I don't want a "gourmet" bun; I want a fast food style hamburger bun. And when you start searching around LA, you'll find that the options at our supermarkets are actually sadly lacking. The biggest issue is that most supermarket hamburger buns are too big for my purposes; they're designed for larger hamburgers, not thin fast food style burgers.

What is the right bun?

The right bun is around 50g, in my view, and no more than 130 calories. Many supermarket buns are 200 calories or more (not that I care about the calories so much, it's more a reflection of the bun size..)

The right bun should be soft, spongy, and vaguely moist. Von's has a house brand hamburger bun that seems the right size, but it's invariably dry and stale tasting, even when toasted.

The right bun should maintain its shape. Part of sponginess means not becoming a flat pancake when you put the burger together. A lot of the cheaper buns are more air than bun, and simply don't hold up well to the burger.

The right bun should have no partially hydgrogenated oil. In-N-Out buns actually do, but frankly I'm scared of the stuff.

Now, for a brief period, Lucky (part of the Kroger's family of markets) had a hamburger bun called "Incredibles Buns" (with a Disney marketing theme). They were actually perfect, but they've been discontinued. I think Kroger's makes a private label bun that's probably the same, but they don't seem to sell it in LA.

Of course the big frustration is that commercial establishments (from In-N-Out to Pie-N-Burger to the Apple Pan) seem to get a bun that meets my requirements. But where can *I* buy buns in the LA area?

Any tips appreciated.

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  1. Have you check Smart & Final or one of the Bakery Outlet stores.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy

      Nothing that works at Smart and Final or CostCo. I haven't checked the Bakery Outlets but that's a good idea...

      1. re: Burger Boy

        I would go the outlet direction . . . Orrow Wheat(sp), which is now owned by Bimbo inc. has an outlet store at the bakery in Montebello.

        Also you might want to try the .99 cent stores, most carry hamburger and hot dog buns. I've tried the hot dog buns and there not bad.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. when i make homeade burgers i get the value kroger brand. they are simular to the in and out buns. The are ALWAYS fresh in the store and they are never over 98 cents for a 4 pack. I think they are way better then the huge dry boulders that orowheat or sara lee makes. they have the kroger brand in any ralphs or food for less

          3 Replies
          1. re: medRare28

            Thanks, I actually meant Ralph's in my original post... oddly enough the Ralph's near me (Hollywood) doesn't carry the kroger value brand. I'll have to check out Food For Less down the street, but that could be a good solution... The "Incredibles" buns I enjoyed were likely the same as the Kroger value brand.

            1. re: Dylan

              I order my buns from Federico's Bakery. I call the Colorado/Allen location to special order them and they have them delivered the next day. Honestly, I cannot say what they weigh but they are definitely smaller than what you would pickup in the market and they have a nice texture.

              1. re: Fru

                Sounds interesting. I'll check them out. Thanks!

          2. Polly's Burgers and Pies makes decent buns ... i use them when make taco burgers ... very good. I know there is a location in Whittier and Long Beach ...

            1. Never tried, but I heard the hot dog/hamburger buns at Thee's Continental Bakery in the 3rd/Fairfax farmers market are really good. Yes, it's a bakery, but doesn't seem particularly gourmet, and I don't think the buns claim to be briochelike or anything like that -- they look pretty normal.