Honey Whole Wheat Burger Buns are soft and fluffy, with a nutty whole grain flavor that’s slightly sweetened with honey. These buns are easy to make, and will take your next batch of pulled pork or whatever you’re grilling to the next level and then some!
Happy June 1! You know what that means, don’t you? Summer’s about to start, and grilling season is in full swing. I’ve told you how much I love to grill whether it be my BBQ rubbed grilled chicken, romaine for my grilled Caesar salad, or veggies for a grilled veggie salad. The men in my house love their burgers, so I grill them often. What I haven’t ever done up until a few weeks ago is make homemade burger buns, and now I’ve already done it twice. These buns made the pulled pork and burgers that I made a thousand times better, so there’s no going back now. They’ve definitely found a regular spot in the rotation.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I used to have a phobia for yeast bread. Intimidated was an understatement. I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone last year with my One Hour Rosemary Focaccia Bread, and going to cooking school was like boot camp for bread baking. I love making yeast breads now — and there’s nothing like the smell (or taste) of freshly baked bread. These buns are the perfect thing for the yeast bread novice — they’re the simplest of simple. I got this recipe from my King Arthur Flour baker’s cookbook, which has been dog-eared for a long time now. They’re titled Beautiful Burger Buns, which is accurate, because these golden brown buns are beauties. 😉 While the recipe was easy to follow, I felt like the instructions needed to be a little more detailed for people that don’t have much experience in the yeast bread department. If you’re experienced, go ahead and skip on down a bit.
For this particular recipe, you can opt to mix everything by hand, or use a stand mixer. I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment to combine all the ingredients together at first, then I replaced the paddle with my dough hook and kneaded the dough for only 3-5 minutes until it was smooth and the dough pulled away from the sides. I told you it was super simple.
Photo #1 above is the dough before the first rise. After 1 hour in a warm spot, you can see in photo #2 that it’s more than doubled in size. If it’s a cold day, the dough will take longer to rise. You can speed things up by turning on your oven and placing the container close by. From there, just divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, and shape into a flattened ball. I didn’t flatten mine quite well enough, which required us to open up a bit wider to get a mouthful, but that’s easy to remedy next time. Next, place the flattened dough on a lightly oiled baking pan and cover with plastic, as shown in photo #3, for 30-40 minutes more for the second rise. After that time, the dough is nice and puffy like photo #4.
One thing I’d like to mention is that the container I used for the first rise (photos 1&2), is tall and skinny, which is ideal for a better rise. The yeast is kept somewhat compacted, which gives you quicker and better results in the dough-rising department. You can find these containers at restaurant supply stores or at Amazon.
The first time I made the buns without using an egg wash, and the browning wasn’t nearly as even as I would’ve liked it to be. This time was a different story. I brushed the puffy dough lightly with the egg wash, sprinkled on some sesame seeds, and popped them into the preheated oven. The buns bake up in only 12-15 minutes. Now that’s fast.
There are only 4 of us in my house, so I love freezing the other half of the buns for another grill-fest. It would be a great idea to double the recipe and freeze extras for company, too, because I’m telling you, people love these. I had guests over the first time and served pulled pork, and it was a major hit. I mean, homemade honey whole wheat burger buns? What a way to impress your guests! You can make the buns the day before and they’ll still have that fresh-baked flavor the next day.
Despite the fact that these buns have whole wheat flour in them, they’ve still got a nice, soft texture. If you prefer white burger buns, just sub out the whole wheat flour with all-purpose. They’re great that way, too, and I know because that’s how I made them the first time. I always prefer a nutty, whole wheat flavor, so this version is my favorite. Whether you make whole wheat or white, I just hope you try making your own burger buns. They’ll make your next batch of burgers off the charts good — guaranteed.
- 2¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup water, lukewarm
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg, beaten lightly
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons water
- sesame seeds, for garnish
- Lightly oil a 4 quart food storage container. Set aside.
- Place the flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk lightly to combine. Place on the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the water, butter, egg, and honey, and stir just until combined. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and turn on low speed, kneading until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides. Place the dough into the oiled container, seal with the lid, and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, remove from the container using a bench scraper and place on the counter or work surface -- no flour is required. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and form into slightly flattened discs and place on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Cover with plastic and allow the dough to rise 30-40 minutes, or until nice and puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare the egg wash. Place the egg yolk and 2 teaspoons of water in a small bowl and mix until incorporated. Remove the plastic from the buns and brush each bun with the egg wash by tapping a light coating evenly over the top. You will not need all of the egg wash. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds, if using, and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the buns are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, and when they've cooled, split using a serrated knife. Serve within 2 days, or freeze in zip top bags. Enjoy!
When shaping dough, do not use extra flour. If the dough is very sticky, use a bit of canola oil on your hands and work surface.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour's Beautiful Burger Buns recipe.