How to Make Sourdough Hamburger Buns

by Kaitlynn Fenley

These soft, fluffy sourdough hamburger buns will be the star of any hamburger meal. They’re just spongy enough to soak up all that delicious burger juice, and any sauce you top your burger with, while also staying sturdy enough to hold a big juicy burger. A light egg wash gives these buns a flaky golden top, perfect for classic sesame seeds. Once you try this sourdough bun recipe, you’ll never go back to store-bought burger buns!

Soft Hamburger Bun Recipe with Sourdough Starter

Making soft burger buns is all about using the right ingredients. Unlike regular sourdough bread, you will need to use eggs, milk, and butter in this recipe. These are the ingredients that keep the buns light and fluffy!

Here’s everything you need to make the best soft hamburger buns:

  • Fed, active, bubbly Sourdough Starter: I like to use my Sprouted Rye Sourdough Starter in this bun recipe. If you do not already have a starter, you’ll need to start this 7 days before baking or 2 days before baking if you use our quick recipe option.
  • Flour: I use organic bread flour or organic unbleached all-purpose; both work well. 
  • Milk: I like to use whole milk for these buns, but plant-based milk also works well in this recipe.
  • Butter: I use grass-fed organic butter, but vegan butter also works.
  • Egg: I only use pasture-raised organic eggs, and make sure you whisk your egg well before adding it to the dough. If you are vegan, I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer, which worked well.
  • Salt: Unrefined sea salt, please! Just make sure your sea salt is unrefined and free from anti-caking agents. 
  • Spray Bottle Filled with Fresh Water: This is a must-have for stretching and folding the dough. (see the section below) 
  • Parchment Paper: Baking these sourdough buns on parchment paper is a must
six sourdough burger buns on a baking sheet.

Easy Sourdough Hamburger Buns

The hardest step when making these burger buns is stretching, folding, and shaping. It takes patience and a gentle touch, but it is not difficult.

I find that shaping burger buns are easier than shaping a sourdough boule. Just follow the directions in the recipe card below, and you shouldn’t have any problems!

Large Sourdough Hamburger Buns

It’s easy to make large hamburger buns at home. If you want larger buns, you need to divide the dough into fewer pieces.

This recipe gives you six large buns, perfect for a big juicy burger. If you need them even bigger, you can divide the dough into five pieces instead of six.

For smaller buns, such as buns you use to make sliders, Divide the dough into 8 or 9 pieces before shaping them into buns.

Easier to Digest Sourdough Hamburger Buns

Sourdough is the oldest form of bread. Experts say the bread originated in Egypt long ago… as in 1,500 BC. Since commercial yeasts were unavailable back then, bread products had to be naturally leavened using wild yeats. 

Wild yeasts are “captured” in a sourdough starter along with flavor-developing microorganisms, like lactic acid bacteria. When I say “captured,” I mean they come from the flour you use to make them.

Since sourdough ferments during a longer rise time than traditional bread, it’s much easier to digest and more flavorful.

The flavor comes from the wild yeasts and bacteria metabolizing the sugars in the dough during the long rise and producing acids as byproducts. This is also why the bread is easier to digest! Essentially the microorganisms do some of the digesting for you in this sourdough bread recipe.

Visit our sourdough starter blog to learn more about the microbiology of sourdough starters. 

Sourdough hamburger buns cut in half sitting on a wooden cutting board.

Sourdough Nutrition

Sourdough bread is made out of flour, just like regular bread. However, the fermentation process makes the nutritional components of the flour more bioavailable.

Lactic acid bacteria in sourdough starters can reduce phytic acid, the compound that can prevent nutrient absorption in regular bread. Without the phytic acid binding to the minerals, you can absorb more potassium, phosphate, magnesium, folate, and zinc from the bread.

Sourdough Starter Problems? 

Do you want to make this recipe but struggle with your starter? CLICK HERE for our blog on The Most Common Sourdough Starter Problems and How to Fix Them.

six sourdough hamburger buns on a white surface with one burger bun split in half.

What to Make with these Sourdough Burger Buns

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How to Make Sourdough Hamburger Buns

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5 from 4 reviews

These soft, fluffy, flavorful buns will be the star of any hamburger meal. They’re just spongy enough to soak up all that delicious burger juice, and any sauce you top your burger with, while also staying sturdy enough to hold a big juicy burger. A light egg wash gives these buns a flaky golden top, perfect for classic sesame seeds. Once you try this sourdough bun recipe, you’ll never go back to store bought burger buns!

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Category: Sourdough
  • Method: Oven Baked
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Buns

  • 100 grams Sourdough Starter
  • 300 grams Warm Milk
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 450 grams Bread Flour
  • 10 grams sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, grated
  • 20 grams sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (optional)****

Egg Wash

  • 1 Tablespoon Milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Sesame Seeds

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the bun ingredients
  2. Knead the ingredients together until a uniform dough ball forms.
  3. Cover the bowl with a towel and rest the dough for 30  minutes.
  4. First Stretch and Fold: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop. Scrape out the bowl and rinse the inside of the bowl well. Dry the bowl and rub the inside lightly with oil.
  5. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over the top. Place the dough back in the bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 2 hours. It should puff up quite a lot.
  6. Second Stretch and Fold: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop so the wet side is up.
  7. Stretch and fold the dough. Stretch the top of the dough over the bottom, side over side, and bottom over the top. Place the dough back in the oiled bowl with the seam side down. Let the dough rest for 1 hour.
  8. Next, sprinkle some flour on the surface of your counter. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the floured surface with the wet side up.
  9. Stretch the dough into a rectangle that’s a little bigger than a sheet of paper. Be gentle with the dough! You don’t want to flatten it. Lightly pull the sides.
  10. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 6 even squares. (for smaller buns, cut into 7 or 8 squares)
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle flour on top of the parchment paper.
  12. Grab a single square, and fold in the corners of the dough over each other, forming a round dough ball. Place the dough ball on the floured parchment paper. Repeat until all the dough has been shaped.
  13. Lightly press down on the tops of the dough balls to flatten them slightly.
  14. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough balls with flour. Cover the dough balls with a towel and let them rise for 1 hour at room temperature.
  15. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. (Note: If you feel that your oven runs on the hotter side, you can bake at 375 F)
  16. Whisk together the egg and milk for the egg wash.
  17. Baste the buns with egg wash. Leave them plain, or sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  18. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes until the buns are golden brown.
  19. Remove and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Notes

**** If you want to speed up the process, you can add a packet of active dry yeast to the dough. If you do the dough will only take 90 minutes total to rise, before you can shape and bake.

You can freeze these buns for extended storage.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a 5-star review below if you loved it! Tag @cultured.guru on Instagram

author avatar
Kaitlynn Fenley Author, Educator, Food Microbiologist
Kaitlynn is a food microbiologist and fermentation expert teaching people how to ferment foods and drinks at home.

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7 comments

Chantal DE KOCK June 30, 2021 - 8:52 am

Hi Kaitlynn

I’m so excited about this recipe. Busy making the dough as I type. I was curious if adding steam to the oven is necessary, as with other sourdough bread? or possibly putting a lid on the buns for the first 15 min bake?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley June 30, 2021 - 12:32 pm

Steam isn’t necessary, but I am located in a very humid climate, so it may be different for you. If you want to add a little steam or humidity, you can throw a few ice cubes in the bottom of the oven with the first 15-minute bake.

Reply
Sarah July 1, 2023 - 6:20 pm

Easy to make, delicious, and perfect for my gluten-sensitive family! I’ve made them with wheat flour and kamut and both turned out great.






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Sarah July 2, 2023 - 9:55 pm

The fluffy hamburger buns of my dreams. Straightforward instructions that made for a great result! My family is already asking me to make these again.






Reply
Lisa August 23, 2023 - 12:48 pm

What a beautiful easy to follow recipe with fantastic results! This will be the recipe I use for all my hamburger buns!






Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley August 23, 2023 - 1:16 pm

Thank you for this review! Happy to hear you enjoyed the buns!

Reply
Anonymous August 27, 2023 - 5:09 pm

These buns are baking as I type! They are just beautiful! Another 5 star recipe from the cultured guru! Also-made my favorite recipe of all time-your rustic sourdough bread with rosemary-it comes out perfect every time! Still can’t figure out why this works for me when pretty much all other sourdoughs are a fail! If it ain’t broke-dont fix it!❤️






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