Making Burger Buns from Scratch - Wheat Bread Recipe

In my quest to make our food from simple unprocessed ingredients, I baked up some buns for black bean burgers.  I wanted more of an sandwich thin like the inspiring Guilty Kitchen picture, but I wound up with more of a traditional bun.
I used a recipe from the Joy of Cooking.  I have the 1962 edition - I found it for a dollar at a thrift store.  It's great and I am told the 60-70's editions are better if you are looking for recipes that don't call for processed ingredients. 

I used the Whole Grain Bread recipe as a base.  I can't leave a recipe alone.  I always wind up adapting it to what I have on hand. This time I had just made chicken stock.  The stock had chilled over night in the fridge and I needed to defat it. 

When stock is cold the fat is solid.  The image on the right shows the stock with the solid fat chunks I was working on skimming out. Jeff says this picture looks like a toliet bowl. Um yeah, stock is not very photogenic.

I used the chicken fat in place of butter.  These rolls are meant to be savory and so I thought the flavor might even add something.  Turns out I can't really taste the chicken at all but the texture turned out great, nice and soft.  Now I have another use for the grease I keep saving in jars.  It's good stuff, don't throw it away!
Wheat Burger Buns
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/8 cup chicken fat heated to liquid
1 cup warm water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons wheat gluten
4 cups wheat flour
4 cups unbleached white flour
Step 1: In a small sauce pan on low, heat the milk until it is warm to the touch.  In a large bowl mix the sugar into the milk and then sprinkle the yeast on top.  Let the yeast sit five minutes to proof. 
Step 2: To the yeast mixture add the fat, water, salt and egg.   Slowly stir in the wheat gluton and wheat flour.  Then mix in the white flour. 
Step 3:  Turn out the dough and knead for five minutes.  Try to add as little flour as possible.  A pastry scraper may come in handy if the dough is really sticky when you start out.  (I don't have a pastry scraper so I just use a metal spatula.) 
Step 4:  Place the dough in a greased bowl and allow it rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours. 
Step 5: Punch down the dough and then divide it in half. I made half of the dough into a loaf and put it in a greased bread pan and the other half into six buns. You could make all the dough into buns if you wanted. I shaped the remainder of the dough into flat biscuits with my hands - about the same size as the burger patties. In hindsight I should have made them slightly smaller because they rose a little bit. Place the patties on a greased cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 375F degrees.  
Step 6:  Bake the rolls for 15-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Then let them cool on a rack so they don't get soggy bottoms.  I let the loaf to rise for about 45 minutes before baking it.  I wanted the buns to be denser so they wouldn't fall apart when eating the burger.  However, I wanted the loaf of bread to be lighter.  The bread loaf took about 45 minutes to bake.   

Nutrition:  The buns come out at 325 calories, 3 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber for WW point value of 6. These are very big buns.  If I mad them again I would divide the dough into 8th instead of 6th and get a slightly lower point value.

Verdict? The buns were delicious with the black bean burgers.  We ate the burgers with some lettuce, jack cheese, salsa and plain Greek Yogurt on top.

Tonight we are going to have the loaf of bread with some Squash/Carrot/Sweat Potato Ginger Soup.  I'm working on improving this recipe.  I'll get a post about the improved soup up soon.  Stay tuned. 


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  2. Looks yummy! Do you have the cookbook "Healthy Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day?" You might like their healthy, whole grain bread recipes.

  3. Try frying potatoes in the fat, or just about anything else. After all chefs routinely add chicken stock to just about everything the cook, right?

  4. Anonymous6/04/2010

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  5. I always make my hamburger buns from scratch these days, and I've been meaning to adapt my recipe to include more whole wheat; last time around I replaced the fat with ground flax. I too collect chicken fat from whole chickens and skimming my stock, and am hard-pressed to figure out how to use it, so this is a great suggestion. :)

  6. Wow... I am not a big burger fan, but these looks great!!! Would totally have one! Thanks for sharing.

  7. great post. Love to see bread recipes. Too many people don't eat bread anymore.

  8. Anonymous9/08/2010

    I love it! I've made a lot of homemade bread products, but never thought of buns. So smart! And they look delicious :)

  9. I'm going to need this recipe for chile relleno burgers here soon. Thanks for the great recipe.

  10. I luv this post! I was just researching yesterday about making my own burger/slider buns, wanting to use whole wheat or vary it sometimes. Great find on your Joy of Cooking cookbook!

  11. great photos of great buns! Theresa

  12. These buns are perfect! They are fluffy and healthy and not full of preservatives. Impressed.

  13. Your burger looks delicious! Homemade buns make such a difference. I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog tonight because you are doing some great things!

  14. The bun looks great! The recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks!

  15. Anonymous9/09/2010

    BUns look fantastic :) Thanks for recipe!

  16. Anonymous9/09/2010

    Those look so yummy! I would much rather eat a homemade bun than a store bought, thanks!

  17. Those look so good! Note to self: you have to make these...

  18. LOVE Joy of Cooking, it never seems to let me down.
    Your burger looks DELISH!

  19. I've only made white sandwich buns previously and have been looking for a good whole wheat recipe - thanks!
    Angie @ Lonesome Road Studio

  20. Wow! Awesome photography of this burger.
    I like it.

  21. Really a good recipe.I would like to make this tonight.

  22. Anonymous3/27/2012

    The bun looks great! The recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks!
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  24. Those buns look amazing, i bet they taste delicious

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