For the Best Burger – Make Your Own Buns

Potato-Onion Burger Buns

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Burgers have gone wild over the past few years.  No longer just a patty of ground beef, you can easily find  recipes for veggie, salmon, Greek, Southwest, California, Middle Eastern falafel, Japanese pork and shitake, French herbes de Provence burgers– and more. And then there are the add-ons.  Stuff your burger with the best artisan cheese, top it with homemade sauerkraut or kimchee and drizzle it with exotic mustard, salsa, sriracha or something similar.    Here’s a link to a recipe I shared for a Smoky Sun-Dried Tomato burger. 

Why ruin an epicurean burger with a factory-made commercial bun?  I always make my own when I’m serving burgers and this is my go-to recipe.  The potatoes keep the dough moist and supple and the onion is a flavor that complements any burger – plain to fancy. Using half white whole wheat flour adds whole grain goodness and fiber.  Often I make the dough a day ahead and chill it; the next day I shape the buns, let them rise and bake.  These are big beefy buns for people who love the bread as much as the burger.  I’ve heard of bun alternates such as lettuce, cabbage or steamed collard leaves but that won’t satisfy me.   

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto.


I’ve included directions for my two favorite methods of mixing bread dough, in a bread machine and in a food processor.  Before starting, check the capacity of your machine to make sure it holds 4 cups of flour (a 2-pound capacity), or divide the recipe in half.  If you have the time and enjoy mixing dough by hand you can adapt the recipe and dig right in.


Potato Onion Burger Buns

This makes 8 beefy burger buns.  If you want less bread, stretch it to make 9 but shorten the bake time a bit.  To avoid dry bread, measure your flour accurately. I measure flour by lightly spooning it into a measuring cup and sweeping off the top with a straight edge. 


2 cups white whole wheat flour

2 cups bread or all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon instant minced onion

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cooked, mashed potato

2 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/3 to 1/2 cup water



1 large egg white, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt

Instant minced onion, sesame, caraway, cumin, poppy flax seed or combination

To Make Dough – Bread Machine Method:  In a 2 lb. capacity bread machine pan, combine all Dough ingredients (start with 1/3 cup water) as manufacturer directs. Process on the dough cycle.   After a couple of minutes of mixing, open the lid and check the dough. It should form a soft, smooth ball around the blade. If it is too dry or the machine is straining, add additional water, a tablespoon at a time. If dough is very wet you can also add flour, a tablespoon at a time, but for best texture keep the dough on the moist side.  The dough cycle should mix and knead the dough and allow it to rise once.  Then proceed to “Shape, Rise and Bake” directions below.


To Make Dough – Food Processor Method: In bowl of food processor combine whole wheat and bread flour, sugar, onion, yeast and salt. Process for a few seconds to blend all dry ingredients.  Add potato and oil.  Pulse several times to blend.  In measuring cup combine buttermilk, egg and 1/3 cup water.  With machine running, slowly pour liquids through feed tube just until the dough forms a ball, about 20 to 30 seconds. (All liquid may not be needed; or if dough does not form a ball, add water, a tablespoon at a time to achieve a soft ball.) Continue to process for about 1 minute to knead the dough. Remove dough and blade from the bowl. Shape dough into a ball and make a hole in the center. Place the dough back in the processor bowl, oil the top and cover with a light towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

To Shape Buns, Rise and Bake: Punch dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten each to a 3 1/2- -inch circle. Place on 2 oiled baking sheets. Cover; let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 30 to 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375˚. If desired, brush rolls with beaten egg white and sprinkle with minced onion or seed. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until done. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.

© 2013 Lorelle S Del Matto

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.


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