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Apr 29, 2009 10:27 AM

Which bakery makes the best burger buns?

BBQ season is upon us, and the search for great buns for my burgers resumes anew. From dense and chewy to soft and fluffy, I ask you: in your opinion, which bakery in Toronto makes the best buns for burgers, and why?

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  1. Brick Street Breads on Logan @ Queen (you can buy 'em from Rowe Farms around the corner). Soft (but not too soft) and big (but not Gigantico big) - in other words, a good vessel for ground meat and condiments.

    1. So far I've tried Ace, Fred's, Brick Street and Epi and I like Epi sesame seed the best. Available at Epi on Bayview (down the street from Cumbrae's - purveyors of the best sirloin burger but that's another story) and also available at Lelieville Cheese Market - Queen E and Logan.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KitchenVoodoo

        Thanks for the recommendations - I'll be sure to try these out soon (I haven't tried either Epi's or Brick Street's).

      2. i cannot recommend one specifically quite yet... but have you considered going brioche? or tried it?

        the sweetness and eggy richness are a perfect foil for a freshly ground burger with mayo and maybe a little truffled dijon. the only thing you need to worry about is when they don't mention if it's infused with some citrus or other fruit/herb/whatever as it can severely throw off the whole experience. i really like the soft fluffy texture as well and it toasts up nicely. i find regular buns get lost beside the delicious meat where as brioche is very good at complementing it.

        i don't eat burgers that often and it's usually such a last minute thing that i haven't had the opportunity to really do a proper comparison.

        4 Replies
        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          I have tried brioche, and while I do think it's an excellent alternative to a more standard sesame seed bun, for example, I can't see it becoming the go-to platform for my patties. I think I find it just a little too sweet... Incidentally, which bakery makes your favourite brioche?

          1. re: redearth

            because i mostly eat brioche in croque madams.... the portuguese gigantor loaves from a dundas bakery. they seem to be everywhere (le gourmand, the latin grocers in kensington, brazil bakery... etc) but i can't remember the exact name of the bakery. these are unfortunately not suitable for burger eating because they come in such large forms, but they would be the most ideal. they are not too sweet!

            as i said before... burgers tend to be last minute and often in that case our bakery sources tend to be closed by the time we've decided on them. so we'll take anything that resembles brioche and still like it quite a bit better than regular buns! one of the times i thought of it in advance i ended up with the unfortunate orange scented one though it would have been perfect otherwise. this one was from bonjour brioche of all places ;)

            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              i think its just called Dundas Bakery, and they do make smaller brioche that work for large-ish burgers. my convenience store sells them!

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                does the brioche buns have irregular air pockets or is it dense despite its own softness????

          2. When I want a denser bun, I go for Thuet's - the name escapes me, but they are available at the Healthy Butcher (and Thuet's other stores no doubt). There's a nice chewiness to them and the outside reminds me of a pretzel - shiny and with a few large embedded salt pieces! They come in a hot dog shape too, great with grilled sausages.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dxs

              That's the Alsatian roll you're referring to, and it is an incredible piece of bread. Highly recommended.

            2. Sometimes I like the `burgers first` buns from Loblaws...those thin little things appeal to me when I just don`t want much `heft`to the bun...

              At other times I like a chiabatta bun...nice and chewy especially when it`s toasted on the grill and it`s pretty readily available...

              Those are my two choices depending on my mood etc.

              6 Replies
              1. re: tochowchick

                I've tried the "Burgers First" buns, and I like them, but again, I can't see them being my first choice when it comes to a utilitarian burger bun. Same thing goes for ciabatta buns - I think both of them are great for particular burgers or sandwiches, but I can't see myself using them for my "perfect" classic burger... I guess what I'm thinking of is a bun that's something like the one they use at In-N-Out Burger - a classic, soft burger bun, with or without sesame seeds, perhaps with a little sweetness to it... I've tried many in Toronto that I've liked, but none that have made me say: "Yes, that's it! That's the one!"

                1. re: redearth

                  Perfect is in the eye...or rather the mouth...of the beholder (consumer) each their own...

                  1. re: tochowchick

                    Which is exactly why I put the word in quotations... I welcome any and all recommendations, and I can assure you that I will attempt to try all of them. I've already made plans to visit Epi and Brick Street, and I look forward to trying anything that I haven't tried before. While I might have a notion in my head of the kind of bun I'm looking for, I am flexible and ready to change my mind, should the "perfect" bun happen to present itself to me. But thanks for the lesson.

                    1. re: redearth

                      Okay, I'm sure this won't stack up to something like Brick Street, but my local Wal-Mart always has a rack of buns and such from...I think it's called Central Bakery? I find this really random, but so is my neighborhood for the most part. They're brioche buns with sesame seeds, and they're really good for BBQ. There's a touch of sweetness, but not too much (at least for BBQ, but that can stand up to a little more sweetness than a burger can IMO), and the somewhat dense, eggy character is good for holding in juices and condiments. Haven't tried them with a burger yet, but I like them better than anything else at the grocery store level. The actual bakery is somewhere on the northwest side, so I imagine you could find them in your neck of the woods pretty easily.

                      1. re: Wahooty

                        Excellent! These sound exactly like what I'm looking for! I plan to get a few friends together next week and have a burger bun testing day - fresh ground chuck, charcoal grill, cold drinks - let's hope the sun will be shining!

                        Thanks for all the excellent recommendations!

                2. re: tochowchick

                  I'm down with the lo-heft thing too, which is why I like the straight-up Portuguese bun - the one you can just find in open boxes in small grocers, don't know proper name - they are a tad oblong so cutting them in half horizontally before slicing them works for me!

                  If you like that In-n-Out burger light and fluffy, I would ask Craft Burger what they use - they're close.