You can find American-style hamburger buns in Germany in many or maybe even all supermarkets, if you’re willing to buy into the kooky red-white-and-blue motifs. Those products, in our experience, are generally not bad. They’re usually not quite as soft as you’d expect a hamburger bun in the USA to be, and they’ll do just fine.
But they don’t have to. I found this recipe online yesterday for homemade hamburger buns and tried it out. It was a great success!
I had my misgivings about kneading dough. But this recipe looked pretty easy. And it was! I made it with minimal adaptations — converting the measurements to mass (where sensible) and cake yeast instead of the instant or dry active variety (big thanks to traditionaloven.com’s yeast converter. Here’s my version.
17 grams fresh, cake yeast
118 ml (1/2 cup, or 4 oz) warm water
118 ml (1/2 cup, or 4 oz) milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
414 grams (about 3 cups, or 15 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
This part is a straight lift from the Kitchn‘s recipe. It’s not as much work as it seems. Probably just enough to keep you from making hamburgers all the time.
- Stir the yeast and warm water together until dissolved in your stand mixer.
- Whisk the milk, egg, oil, sugar and salt together in a separate bowl.
- Add the milk-egg-oil stuff to the wet yeast in your stand mixer. Add the flour to all of that and stir by hand until you’ve got what they call a “shaggy” ((“Zoinks!”)) dough, with no dry flour bits visible anymore.
- Knead on low for 10 minutes, walk away, and do something else productive. You want smooth, bouncy, and tacky dough at the end of the kneading period.
- Let the dough rise, covered, for about an hour. Direct sunlight on our mixing bowl on a warm day seemed to do the trick. I got the best rise ever out of this dough.
- Form 8 tight balls of dough — really squish the air out of them while rolling them into balls. You’ll need plenty of flour on your hands and at least a little on your work surface. Let the balls rise another 30 minutes (at least) on the baking sheet (consider a sheet of parchment). Preheat your oven to 375°F / 191°C.
- Brush the melted butter onto your bun balls, then bake at least 15 minutes until golden. Without the parchment, you might need to scrape the finished buns off the sheet. Let them cool before slicing them.