These sourdough burger buns are NOT dense — they are light, and airy, and delicious! These burger buns can also double as rolls for a side dish!

I love homemade burger buns. The hamburger buns from the shelf of the grocery store are light and airy. On the other hand, sourdough buns can sometimes be a little dense. So, I set out to develop a recipe that was soft and fluffy and reminiscent of store-bought burger buns. I think I succeeded!

Why use sourdough for burger buns?

I was talking to a friend this weekend and he told me that it wasn’t worth taking the time to make sourdough bread because it was just like regular bread. Are you kidding me?! They aren’t even close! And I’m not even talking about the taste.

Nutritionally, sourdough is head and shoulders above anything you could buy in the store because of the loooooong rise time. It’s even superior to what you can make at home with commercial yeast.

sourdough burger buns on cooling rack

Benefits of sourdough

1. Sourdough is more nutritionally dense

Sourdough has a super long fermentation process. Over that long rise time, it builds lactic acid. This lactic acid neutralizes the phytic acid that binds up nutrients usually found in yeasted breads that make them unavailable to our bodies.

Once the phytic acid is broken down, our bodies can absorb the calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron that are found in wheat. That breakdown of the phytates make it so much more nutritionally dense for us.

2. Sourdough is easier to digest for people with gluten sensitivities

The long fermentation process not only creates lactic acid, but it also breaks down the gluten in the wheat. That gluten breakdown makes it more easy to digest for people who are sensitive to gluten.

This does NOT mean that someone with Celiac can eat sourdough bread. Instead, it means that for people with gluten sensitivities, like my husband, it’s easier to digest.

Because of that , it may not cause the digestive issues that are common with products containing gluten. For my husband, any of the sourdough things I make do not bother him like regular bread or buns or pancakes or pizza or waffles would.

3. Sourdough has a lower glycemic index

Sourdough has a lower glycemic index than regular bread. This number tells us how quickly the body breaks down a carbohydrate. The quicker the carbs are broken down, the faster the blood sugar rises.

A lower glycemic index means our bodies don’t create as much of a spike in blood sugar, which is beneficial to our bodies. People that have blood sugar issues, like diabetes, may find true sourdough products helpful for them to control their blood sugar.

4. Sourdough is great for gut health

Sourdough is a fermented food, which means that it has prebiotic bacteria in it. Those prebiotics feed the good bacteria that are beneficial for your gut health. In generations past, fermented foods were eaten all the time. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t place an importance on that.

For optimum health, eat as much sourdough, yogurt, kombucha, fresh sauerkraut, and other fermented foods as possible. This will keep all that gut bacteria thriving!

How to Make Sourdough Burger Buns

Just like any true sourdough bread, you’ll need to think ahead before making these. I typically use one of two schedules for sourdough:

Option 1: Start the day before

Feed the sourdough starter at lunchtime or mid afternoon the day before you want to eat burgers. Give it 6-8 hours to double in size. 2 hours before you go go bed, mix up the dough.

Give it a stretch and fold every 30 minutes (for a total of 4 sets). Let it rise all night long, covered. In the morning, shape the sourdough burger buns, let them rise about 2 hours, covered. Bake them as instructed.

Option 2: Start 2 days before

Two days before you want to eat burgers, feed the sourdough before bed. The next morning, mix the dough, give it 4 sets of stretch and folds over a 2 hour period. Let it rise all day long, covered.

Before bed, shape sourdough burger buns, cover and put in refrigerator. The next day, pull them out of the fridge, uncover, and put directly into a preheated oven and bake as instructed.

Mixing the Dough

I mix this dough the same way I do for any other sourdough bread I use. I love to throw all the items in my Kitchenaid and set the dough hook to bring it all together for about 5 min.

Alternately, you can mix it up with a wooden spoon and just work all the dry flour in with your hands until it’s all incorporated. Either way works great.

Stretch and Folds

The next step in the process is pretty common in any sourdough recipe. You’ll need to build structure in the bread, since you won’t be kneading it. This is done by stretching and folding the dough every 30 minutes for about 2 hours. I will link a quick video here to show you how that is done.

Rising the Dough

After the 2 hour initial rise, you’ll cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise for 8-12 hours. It’s impossible to say exactly how long to rise the dough. Unfortunately, sourdough is sort of an art. The temperature of your kitchen will greatly affect the rising time.

I find that if I make the dough in the morning, it’s ready to throw in the fridge by evening. Or, if I start it the night before, it’s perfectly risen when I wake up in the morning. Just make sure the dough looks big and bubbly before you shape the burger buns.

Shaping the Dough

This part is super easy. Cut the dough in half, then in half again. This will make 4 parts. Then, I divide those 4 parts into thirds.

Roll each 1/12 of the dough into balls and put them on a parchment or silpat lined tray to get their second rise. Here is a quick video to show you how to do that.

2nd rise

For this second rise, you’ll want to cover the dough balls with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. At this time, you can throw them into the refrigerator to rise slowly over the next 12-24 hours. Alternately, you can let them rise for about 1-2 hours before baking them.

sourdough burger buns rising

Topping the Dough

Once they have gotten a bit puffy, you can top them. (see the difference between the ones in the picture above and the ones in the picture below?)

These sourdough burger buns are perfect plain, or look and taste great with a sprinkle on top. I like mine pretty golden brown, so I brush them with buttermilk to give that toasty look on top.

brushing buttermilk on sourdough burger buns

At that point, you can leave them this way. Or, you can give them a sprinkle of sesame seeds or poppy seeds or freshly ground pepper or flaked sea salt or Everything But the Bagel Seasoning like I did!

sourdough burger buns sprinkled with everything but the bagel seasoning

Baking the Sourdough Burger Buns

These bake up so fast! I put them in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes and they were perfect.

Take them off the tray and cool them on a cooling rack for just a little bit. I couldn’t wait and bit into one while it was still warm and I was hooked!! Honestly, I’d use these as a regular dinner roll in a heartbeat because they were that good!!

I’d love to hear how you use these delicious sourdough burger buns!

sourdough burger buns fresh from the oven

Light and Airy Sourdough Burger Buns

These sourdough burger buns are NOT dense — they are light, and airy, and delicious! These burger buns can also double as rolls for a side dish!
Servings 12 burger buns

Ingredients
  

The Dough

  • 200 g Sourdough Starter (fed and bubbly)
  • 150 g Filtered Water
  • 450 g Unbleached flour
  • 6 g Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 70 g Vegetable oil
  • 60 g Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg

The Toppings

  • 2 Tablespoons Buttermilk
  • Sprinkle Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

Instructions
 

Just like any true sourdough bread, you’ll need to think ahead before making these. I typically use one of two schedules for sourdough:

  • Option 1 – Start the day before: Feed the sourdough starter at lunchtime or mid afternoon the day before you want to eat burgers.
    Give it 6-8 hours to double in size. 2 hours before you go go bed, mix up the dough. Give it a stretch and fold every 30 minutes (for a total of 4 sets).
    Let it rise all night long, covered. In the morning, shape the sourdough burger buns, let them rise about 2 hours, covered. Bake them as instructed.
  • Option 2 – Start 2 days before: Two days before you want to eat burgers, feed the sourdough before bed. The next morning, mix the dough, give it 4 sets of stretch and folds over a 2 hour period.
    Let it rise all day long, covered. Before bed, shape sourdough burger buns, cover and put in refrigerator.
    The next day, pull them out of the fridge, uncover, and put directly into a preheated oven and bake as instructed.

Mixing the Dough

  • I mix this dough the same way I do for any other sourdough bread I use. I love to throw all the items in my Kitchenaid and set the dough hook to bring it all together for about 5 min.
    Alternately, you can mix it up with a wooden spoon and just work all the dry flour in with your hands until it's all incorporated. Either way works great.

Stretch and Folds

  • The next step in the process is pretty common in any sourdough recipe. You'll need to build structure in the bread, since you won't be kneading it. This is done by stretching and folding the dough every 30 minutes for about 2 hours.

Rising the Dough

  • After the 2 hour initial rise, you'll cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise for 8-12 hours.
    It's impossible to say exactly how long to rise the dough. Unfortunately, sourdough is sort of an art. The temperature of your kitchen will greatly affect the rising time.
    I find that if I make the dough in the morning, it's ready to throw in the fridge by evening. Or, if I start it the night before, it's perfectly risen when I wake up in the morning. Just make sure the dough looks big and bubbly before you shape the burger buns.

Shaping the Dough

  • This part is super easy. Cut the dough in half, then in half again. This will make 4 parts. Then, I divide those 4 parts into thirds.Roll each 1/12 of the dough into balls and put them on a parchment or silpat lined tray to get their second rise.

2nd rise

  • For this second rise, you'll want to cover the dough balls with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
    At this time, you can throw them into the refrigerator to rise slowly over the next 12-24 hours. Alternately, you can let them rise for about 1-2 hours before baking them, while you preheat the oven.

Topping the Dough

  • Once they have gotten a bit puffy, you can top them. Mine took 2 hours at about 68 degrees.
    These sourdough burger buns are perfect plain, or look and taste great with a sprinkle on top. I like mine pretty golden brown, so I brush them with buttermilk to give that toasty look on top.
    At that point, you can leave them this way. Or, you can give them a sprinkle of sesame seeds or poppy seeds or freshly ground pepper or flaked sea salt or Everything But the Bagel Seasoning like I did!

Baking the Sourdough Burger Buns

  • These bake up so fast! I put them in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes and they were perfect.
  • Take them off the tray and cool them on a cooling rack for just a little bit. I couldn't wait and bit into one while it was still warm and I was hooked!!
    Honestly, I'd use these as a regular dinner roll in a heartbeat because they were that good!!

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