The bread is just as important as the burger. Here’s how to jazz up a classic bun.
How to Flavor Burger Buns + Topping Ideas
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly beat 1 large egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush on buns, then add toppings and bake until the egg white is dry, 6 to 8 minutes.
Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and thinly sliced roasted nori (seaweed sheets). Bake as directed.
Buffalo Blue Cheese
Replace the water in the egg wash with Buffalo hot sauce; brush on the buns. Sprinkle with blue cheese and celery seeds. Bake as directed.
Salt and Pepper
Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake as directed.
Bacon and Cheddar
Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with shredded cheddar and finely chopped cooked bacon. Bake just until the cheese melts, about 3 minutes.
Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with za’atar spice mix and poppy seeds. Bake as directed.
Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with chopped garlic, fresh thyme, dried oregano, red pepper flakes and flaky sea salt. Bake as directed.
Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with seeds and grains (such as pepitas, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and oats). Bake as directed.
Brush with egg wash, then sprinkle with chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder and ground cumin. Bake as directed.
Traditionally, kubaneh is baked overnight in a lidded tin, then taken from the oven on Saturday and served with grated tomato and z’hug (Yemeni hot sauce). “Some people go for the crusts and edges, while others want the soft and spongy interior.”
- 290 grams (1 1/4 cups) cool room-temperature water
- 20 grams (2 1/2 tablespoons) fresh yeast or 8 grams (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 500 grams (4 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for shaping
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 20 grams (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) fine salt
- 150 grams (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Make the dough: Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Crumble the yeast into the water and use your fingers to rub and dissolve it. If using active dry yeast, whisk the yeast into the water. Add the flour, sugar, and, lastly, the salt.
- Mix on the dough on low speed to combine the ingredients, stopping to scrape in any dry ingredients that have settled on the bottom or sides of the bowl. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium-high and continue to knead until the dough cleans the bottom and sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes.
- Stretch and fold the dough: Lightly dust a work surface with a little flour and use a plastic dough scraper or sturdy spatula to transfer the dough onto the surface. Use your palms to stretch a corner of the dough away from you in one movement, then fold the front portion over and on top of itself. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Do this about 10 times, until the dough is a nice smooth round.
- Let the dough rise: Lightly flour a bowl, set the dough in the bowl, flour the top of the dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature until the dough has just about doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
- Divide and shape the dough: Place the butter in a microwave-safe dish and heat until it is very soft and about 25% melted (start with 10-second intervals). Lightly grease a large plate with a little bit of the butter. Lightly flour the work surface and set the risen dough on top. Divide it into 8 equal pieces. Cup your hand around a piece of dough, then push and pull it, rolling it against the work surface, to gently shape it into a ball. Set it on the buttered plate and repeat with the 7 remaining pieces of dough. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for another 30 minutes.
- Stretch the dough: Use about 2 tablespoons of the butter to generously butter a 9-inch springform pan. (You can also use a smaller springform pan or a kubaneh pan.) Take another tablespoon of butter and use it to grease a clean, non-floured work surface. Take a ball of dough from the plate, smear another tablespoon of butter on top of it, and gently press and spread it out into a paper-thin 12- or 13-inch square. Use more butter as needed—the butter helps spread the dough thin without tearing (but if you have a few tears, do not worry).
- Shape each swirl: Fold the left side of the dough over the center, then the right side of the dough over the left to form a simple three-fold. Starting at the bottom of the strip (closest to you), roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Slice the cylinder in half crosswise, to expose the curlicue insides, then place the halves, cut side up, in the springform (start by placing them in the center, working your way towards the perimeter as you add new rolls).
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the remaining balls of dough. Reserve 1 tablespoon of butter to use later on. If you’re using a kubaneh pan or a smaller springform, you can stack the rolls on top of each other. If you’re using a springform pan, wrap the bottom in a large sheet of aluminum foil to protect against any butter leakage.
- Let the kubaneh proof: Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until a finger gently pressed into the dough leaves a depression that quickly fills in by three-quarters, about 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, brush it over the top of the dough, and place the pan in the oven. After 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325° and bake until top is deeply golden, 30 to 40 more minutes. Remove pan from the oven and set it aside to cool for at least 20 minutes before turning the bread out of the pan.
- To serve, you can invert the bread so that, as Uri says, “the pretty side faces up.” (But you can choose which side you find prettiest!) Let people rip it apart into small rolls.
These Italian Cheese Bombs take only minutes to prepare using premade biscuit dough and the ooey gooey cheese and salami will be everyone’s favorite.
- 1 (16 ounce) tube biscuit dough
- 6 ounces part skim, low moisture mozzarella (can substitute cheese sticks)
- 16 slices (about 2 ounces) salami (I used a little under half of a 5 ounce package)
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup dried Italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- If package has 8 biscuits, split each biscuit in half to make 16 flat disks.
- Divide cheese into 16 equal portions.
- Cut each piece of salami up into 4 pieces.
- One biscuit at a time, add chunk of cheese and 4 pieces of salami on dough and then wrap ends around to create a ball. Be sure to fully seal.
- Add olive oil to a shallow cup. Add parmesan and seasoning to another shallow cup.
- Once all the balls have formed, dip each ball in the olive oil and then roll the top in the parmesan seasoning mixture.
- Place on a baking sheet with the parmesan seasoning side up.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 10-15.
- Serve immediately so the cheese is nice and melty.
The key to the rosettes’ tender-crisp flakiness is in rolling five circles of dough, then buttering and layering them like a stack of pancakes. That stack then is rolled and cut into wedges, which then are rolled into cones and arranged in the pan.
Once baked, the outer rosettes form a spiralized border, while the inner rosettes rise like blossoms. The final result is a perfect example of a whole being greater than the sum
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm milk
- 4 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, plus 2 teaspoons milk
- Coarse salt for sprinkling, if desired
- In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Place milk in a microwave-safe container and warm in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add milk to dry ingredients. Add oil. Continue to mix until the dough comes together in a ball.
- (If mixing by hand, stir in milk, then oil, until the dough comes together in a smooth ball.) (If mixing by hand, stir in milk, then oil, until the dough comes together in a smooth ball.)
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 2 to 3 minutes. Clean bowl and coat with oil, then return dough to bowl, turning to coat all surfaces. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Turn risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat into a 10-inch rectangle, then cut into 5 equal (2-inch) pieces. Form each piece into a ball, then cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide room-temperature butter into 4 equal pieces. Set aside.
- Coat a 9- to 10-inch springform pan with baking spray. If using a cake pan, cut a circle of parchment paper to fit in the bottom, then coat with baking spray.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 10-inch circle. If dough wants to pull back on itself, just roll each ball into a 5- to 7-inch circle and set them aside. After a minute, the dough will have relaxed enough so that you can continue rolling each to 10 inches.
- Spread 1 circle with 2 tablespoons butter, then put second circle on top, taking care to match the edges. Spread with butter and top with another circle and so on until you end up with the fifth circle on top.
- Re-flour the surface, then roll this stack into a 16-inch circle, pausing to make sure that it’s not sticking to the surface and adding more flour when necessary. Occasionally flip the stack; you may see that the layers tend to “slip” a bit, so this step helps keep the stack even around its borders. Don’t fret if they don’t stay exactly even.
- With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut about 1 1/2 inches in from the edge of the circle to get a “hoop.” Cut this hoop into 6 equal pieces (just eyeball it). Roll up one strip like a cinnamon bun and place in the center of the pan. Roll the remaining 5 strips and arrange around the center.
- Cut the remaining smaller circle into 12 equal triangles (cut into quarters, then each quarter into 3 triangles). Here’s the key step: Roll each triangle to create a cone shape, keeping one long edge even as you roll. (This is different from rolling a croissant shape.) The final shape will resemble a spiral tower.
- Place each cone’s flat end flush against the side of the pan, with the point toward the central, or slanted a bit to one side. The main thing is to have the flat edge against the pan’s side.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Beat the egg yolk and milk until frothy, then brush over the rosettes. Sprinkle with coarse salt, if desired.
- Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pan. Serve warm. or at room temperature.
Makes 18 servings.
Quick bread recipes are hard to mess up, which means you can play and play and play, and your resulting loaf will be, more often than not, happy to play along. Use the recipe below as a base to take your bread from lemon poppyseed to panettone-inflected to classic banana. Want something more chocolatey? Substitute cocoa powder for some of the flour, strong coffee for some of the milk, and add a big handful of chocolate chips. If you’re looking for something whole-grainy, use whole wheat flour, buttermilk, and the smallest amount of sugar, and then add nuts and seeds to your heart’s content. (And don’t forget to play!)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk, nondairy milk, or buttermilk (or ½ cup milk plus 1 cup pumpkin purée, applesauce, mashed bananas; or 1 cup milk and ½ cup strong coffee or citrus juice)
- 1/3 cup oil (olive oil, coconut oil, or vegetable oil) or melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 to 1 cup sweetener (white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses. Mix and match! And start small)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Fat pinch of kosher salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (sub in up to 1 1/2 cups alt flour—like whole wheat or rye flour—or up to ⅓ cup cocoa powder)
- 1/2 to 1 cup oats, coconut flakes, chopped nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, and/or dried fruit (optional; mix and match up to a cup’s worth in total)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
- Combine the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla extract, sweetener, baking powder, and salt, stirring until completely incorporated. If you’d like to add any zests or spices, do so now, stirring well.
- Gently stir in the flour and any larger additions (like oats or nuts), stirring until just combined—too much stirring will lead to a dense loaf!
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle something—coconut flakes, pumpkin or sesame or sunflower seeds, oats, demerara sugar—over the top, if you like.
- Bake, turning once halfway through, for 35 to 50 minutes. (The time will vary based on the kind of flour you use, among other things.)
- Remove from the oven when the top is golden and firm to the touch, and a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan until cool enough to handle, then remove by running your knife around the sides, lifting up gently, and carefully flip the pan over and tip the loaf out. Try your hardest to let it cool completely before slicing.
- The bread will keep for 3 to 4 days at room temperature—but my favorite way to store quick bread is sliced in a zip-top bag in the freezer (for up to 3 or 4 months), so that all I have to do when I want a piece (or am scrambling for breakfast in the morning) is to pull out a slice and toast it.
More Things to Play With
- Spices (think cinnamon, nutmeg, five-spice, allspice, ground ginger—and start slow)
- Espresso powder (especially good with chocolate—and in banana bread)
- Zests (start with the zest of two lemons, limes, or tangerines, or one grapefruit or navel orange)
- Additions of nut butter or tahini
- Swirls of jam
- Layers of streusel
- Top the whole thing off with glazes! A few suggestions to get you going:
- All-purpose flour + whole wheat flour + coconut oil + coconut flakes + almond extract + almond milk
- Whole wheat flour + olive oil + tangerine zest + currants
- All-purpose flour + rye flour + brown butter + brown sugar + oats + pumpkin seeds
This unconventional popovers recipe stars nutmeg and black pepper, making it the perfect savory dinner roll (or salty snack).
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, divided
- Whisk flour, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
- Whisk eggs and milk in a large bowl until well blended.
- Gently whisk in flour mixture, followed by 3 Tablespoons butter (do not overmix).
- Preheat oven to 425°. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with remaining 2 Tablespoons butter.
- Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, filling cups three-quarters full and dividing equally.
- Bake popovers until puffed, golden brown, and crispy around edges, 30-35 minutes.
- Using a thin knife or an offset spatula, remove popovers from pan.
- Serve immediately.
- Batter can be made 1 day ahead.
- Cover and chill.