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Jun 28, 2010 01:12 PM

Finding the Perfect Hamburger Bun in Portland, Maine?

I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions of any specialty stores or bakeries in Portland that sell good quality hamburger buns. I don't have a particular style in mind... brioche buns are great, and I also love buns topped with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.

I've been buying my hamburger buns from Shaw's and Hannaford (e.g. the bakery section, not the bread section) but I often find them to be bland and unremarkable. And too often, I've come home with buns that were stale.

I had a glimmer of hope a few weeks back when I saw a poster promoting foods that are local to Maine. It featured a hamburger and then it detailed where each element of the burger was produced. The bun (which looked pretty appetizing) was said to come from Rosemont Market & Bakery. I was skeptical, since I'm at Rosemont at least 2-3 times per week and have never seen hamburger buns there. Sure enough, a follow-up phone call revealed that they don't produce hamburger buns. (I'm assuming that the bun featured in the poster was produced specifically for the poster.)

So now I'm back to square one. I like to think that I do some pretty creative things with hamburgers, but the bun selection consistently leaves me feeling underwhelmed. Who can save me from burger bun boredom?

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  1. This is an excellent question and one that is near and dear to my heart.

    I noticed today that Big Sky (the Woodford location) has hamburger (and hot dog) buns. Don't know how they are, but look forward to giving them a try.

    Scratch Bakery sells a burger bun on Thursdays, but again I have yet to try them. I'm wondering if they might be ciabatta-like which I'm not particularly fond of for a burger but won't know until I give it a try.

    Years ago when Scales was around, Standard was making buns in small numbers. Might be worth a call to see if they still/ever do.

    That's all I've got and I look forward to hearing from others. I've considered attempting my own, but it looks a bit complicated for an unaccomplished baker such as myself.

    Scratch Bakery
    South Portland, ME, South Portland, ME

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodquest

      Thanks for the reply, and the excellent information. Big Sky's Woodford location is very nearby... I'll wander over there sometime this week to check out their offerings.

      I'm also a regular at Scratch, though usually on Sundays or Tuesdays. I'll have to make a note to drop in on Thursday, though I suspect that you're probably correct about the buns being ciabatta-like.

      I will let you know what I turn up in my search.

      Thanks again.

      1. re: matteo1973

        I get ciabatta rolls at Borealis Breads 182 Ocean Avenue. Not far from Big Sky Bakery. I like them very much.. Soft on the inside, crusty on the outside, and a minute on the BBQ grill. Hannafford Stores carry a few rolls from bakeries out of Boston, such as onion rolls and rolls with poppy seeds, which are also very good.

    2. I was in Standard Baking last week, and they had hamburger & hot dog buns listed on their bread board. I'm not sure what day--maybe Friday or Saturday--so best to call in advance. I haven't tried them, but I thought I'd pass along the info.

      Please report back with your findings!

      2 Replies
      1. re: lovejoyeater

        I visited both Standard Baking and Big Sky this morning... neither yielded much along the way of results.

        Big Sky had buns in stock, but there were small, almost slider size, and did not look very appealing. The buns did not seem very firm, and I wonder if they can even support the weight of a hamburger patty w/toppings, or if they'd simply fall apart. I passed altogether.

        Next was a visit to Standard... they do carry hamburger and hot dog buns on Fri, Sat and Sunday but I was told that they wouldn't be available until after 2pm. I may head back there this afternoon but, with the people traffic and vehicle traffic being as heavy as it is this holiday weekend, I'll likely wait and try again in the future.

        For this weekend's burgers, I've picked up some sesame seed buns from Whole Foods. They don't look like anything special, but they do look more appetizing than the monstrosities served up by Shaw's and Hannaford. Will report back early next week to let you know how they hold up.

        1. re: matteo1973

          Best bet in P-Town is standard baking. The only thing I like better is a Bangor Rye bulkie, which I only grab when in Bangor for obvious reasons.