Le Bun, a testimonial

Conventional wisdom – among burger bloggers at least – is that it’s not worth it to make your own buns. This matches my experience: chalky, crumbly, too chewy, too rich, the list of sins goes on and on. So many broken promises, so many tears.

a cheeseburger on a homemade bun on a black and white striped tray

These bitter bun experiences have taught me better than to take some blogger’s promises about the homemade bun that’s finally – really! – worth it, and so I might have skipped over my good friend Brett’s (of Trout Caviar) Bun recipe with that same cynicism if I hadn’t tried them before, and loved them. It was a hot summer afternoon picnic on Brett’s rolling Wisconsin property, Bide-a-Wee, and we were camped under a farmers market tent, trying to stay in the shade. My bun was full of wood smoked pulled pork, and while the pork was as delicious as pork usually is, the bun stole the show for me. Knowing Brett the buns would have to be homemade – I don’t think he’s ever served me bread he hadn’t baked himself – but I asked nonetheless if he had made the buns, incredulous. He had. I’m too discreet to ask a baker for his recipes, and with Brett’s Real Bread no longer for sale at the farmers market, I figured my only chances to savor these buns would be on the odd invitation out to Bide-a-Wee.

And then Brett asked the world check out his buns.

After that lunch in Wisconsin I didn’t need any more convincing to try the recipe. I followed it as Brett printed, although I may not have kneaded it quite as long as I should have because the dough was quite sticky and difficult for me to work with. In any case, I was planning an overnight fermentation in the fridge, which can cover over a lot of under-kneading sins. The buns came out of the oven the next day and were as good as I remembered.

sandwich buns fresh from the oven in a pile on a baking sheet

What makes these buns so special? It’s the texture. They hit a perfect middle road: chewy enough to feel like something and absorb juices without disintegrating, yet light enough not to distract from the main event, located between them. These buns are suitable for a thick and juicy steakhouse burger but won’t diminish a diner-style slider, either. They even work with my favorite veggie burgers which, while delicious, are infamous for squishing out the back-side of lesser buns.

If inferior buns – from the store or your oven – have left you jaded and cynical, I am writing this post to tell you there is hope. There is truth. There is Le Bun.



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3 comments on “Le Bun, a testimonial”

  1. Trout Caviar 8 March, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Geez, Tom, your buns look even better than mine–but then you’ve got youth, and all that biking, on your side.

    I’m honored by this, I’m truly touched.

    If the dough seems too soft, don’t hesitate to add more flour by handfuls. It starts out sticky but should be kneadable, especially in the dry air of winter.

    Y’rs~ Brett

  2. U. Don 8 March, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    How many grams do you make your hamburger buns?

  3. Tom 8 March, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    100 grams (3.5 oz)