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Feb 20, 2012 08:32 AM

Re-creating the In N Out burger buns.. from Puritan Bakery... using a sponge dough process?

Hey guys well I would love to re-create the In N Out burger buns for home-burger making as I can't stand the buns at Whole Foods or any "supermarket buns" for that matter, contributing to that is the fact that they use canola oil and I try to avoid canola oil when possible in favor or Soybean oil . .

I have gathered a small collection of links about the process:

So supposedly In N Out's buns are a sponge dough process.. Can someone tell me what is different about this than say using this sort of recipe :

Is the sponge process something I could do at home? I thought we could start a little discussion on re-creating an In N Out style sponge dough burger bun for home use . . My first step is getting King Arthur Flour's hamburger bun pan..

The next step is following the instructions in the article above about how the bakery who supplies In N Out with their buns uses shortening instead of butter or oil...
However I am still at a loss as to what makes it a "sponge" dough instead of something like King Arthur's recipe above . . .
Again would love to start a discussion so we can start re-creating this at home as unfortunately Puritan doesn't sell to customers unless you own a restaurant and that's not really fair for the rest of us . . .
Ok feel free to contribute anything you wish, thanks guys :)

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  1. If you wanted to change the King Arthur recipe to incorporate a sponge all you would need to do would be to mix all of the water, a pinch of yeast and enough of the flour together to make a batter the night before. Let it stand overnight and it should be nice and bubbly the next day. Add everything else in the recipe (including the rest of the flour) to the sponge and proceed as directed.

    4 Replies
    1. re: kengk

      hey kengk thank you! in the article where puritan outlines how they make the buns, they actually say they also throw the shortening in there too in the first stage.. it says flour, water, shortening, and yeast are mixed and then set aside to rise, is this what you meant? after this process it says they add the sugar, salt, more yeast, more flour, and water . . .

      i just want to clarify this . . . also would they be using instant yeast or active dry yeast??

      alright kengk i greatly appreciate this thank you :)

      1. re: certifiedhumane

        "it says flour, water, shortening, and yeast are mixed and then set aside to rise, is this what you meant?"

        Yes, but i never have put anything in a sponge, or other preferment, except water, flour and yeast. Keep in mind that you can control how long it takes the sponge to be ready by temperature and the amount of yeast you put in. If you wanted to start first thing in the morning and bake that evening you would probably put more yeast in than I do. I want mine to sit on the counter overnight.

        I think big commercial bakeries generally use fresh yeast.

        1. re: kengk

          ok thanks man! ok so by fresh yeast is that instant or active dry or neither??

          so would you be able to help with measurements for me? for example if i wanted to re-create how Puritan does it, it says they do a 4-6 hour fermentation, would you be able to help me out with how much yeast i would need?

          see i'm at a loss because i want to follow this recipe

          but use your sponge method, so i literally have no clue as to how much of each ingredient to start with, not just the yeast...

          should i try emailing king arthur to see if they can help? thank you kengk !

          1. re: certifiedhumane

            The KA recipe has, amongst other things, 3/4 cup water, 2 tsp yeast and 2 3/4 cups flour.

            Make your sponge with all of the water, 1/2 tsp of yeast and enough of the flour to make batter the consistency of pancake batter. Cover the bowl and let it sit until it is nice and bubbly. Then add the rest of the ingredients and follow the directions from KA.

            You don't seem to be an experienced baker. I would recommend making the King Arthur recipe without changing it and see how it comes out. The sponge isn't really going to make that much difference.

    2. I make these almost every week using a recipe from the Bread Bakers Apprentice. Have never been to an in and out burger so have no idea if they are even close.

      Can't get the photo fixed, sorry.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kengk

        Those are beautiful, do you use a hamburger pan? Do you have a special recipe? If so can you share?

        1. re: TDEL

          I don't not use a special pan, they are baked on parchment paper on a half sheet pan. The recipe is from the Bread Bakers Apprentice. I think his variation #2 white sandwich bread.

      2. Kengk has given you really good advice. I wonder about the accuracy of the article, too, with the sponge made with shortening. Generally, that's added later. I love the Peter Reinhart recipe for buns but it's nothing like In-N-Out burger buns which are softer, fluffier w/out a crusty crust (I far prefer PR's to In-n-Out). Closer to the In-n-Out would be Chow's slider bun recipe which also has shortening and whole milk which is help get that texture you want. If you want the longer rise, to develop better flavor and texture, you can refrigerate after step 3 or 4, just cover w/ plastic wrap. Let it come to room temperature before continuing.

        You don't need a hamburger pan (I never even knew they made them). If you have a scale, that helps keep the buns the same size. For the soft crust, I'd bake at a lower temperature, about 350.

        1. Did you ever bake your rolls?