One difficulty with vegan burger buns is finding them at the store. Even when you find them, they can look less-than-appealing and have unnecessary preservatives (or rather, necessary for preserving, but not necessary to eat).
Another difficulty with burger buns is that you want that flavor and texture of fluffy white dinner rolls, and need the stability of a heartier bread. If the buns are too soft or too hard, you end up with a burger-eating battle, struggling with each bite to manage the patty and fillings, attempting to prevent them sliding around and squishing out. You know what I mean. We’ve all dealt with it. It’s not pretty.
Well… TA-DA! Here you go: these buns are that perfect desired combination. They also toast up well and keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days (even longer in the fridge).
Quick lesson on bread flour: You can sub all-purpose flour for bread flour, but it will affect the rise and the texture of the finished product. Bread flour has higher protein content which aids in gluten development, and helps with the chewiness of the bread texture. So, while you can sub in a pinch, I highly recommend using bread flour when it’s called for.
Prepare the yeast by stirring it into warm water. The water needs to be slightly warmer than lukewarm: warm to the touch, but not so hot you can’t submerge your finger in it. If you have a instant read thermometer, the water temp should be between 105°-115° (yeast dies at 120°). If you don’t get the foamy/frothy texture pictured below, your yeast might be dead, or the water may have been too hot or cold.
Then in a mixer (or stir by hand), combine the vegan butter, agave, salt, yeast/water mixture, and additional warm water. Mix these until combined, and then add bread flour and mix. The dough should now form a ball like so:
If you have a mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead until it is smoother and looks like this:
If you don’t have a mixer with a dough hook attachment, just work those arms and knead by hand until the dough is smooth.
Coat the dough in a light drizzle of olive oil, place it back into the mixing bowl and cover with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out. Allow it to rise for at least one hour. You want it to rise somewhere that’s not cold. My counter tops are cold since they are granite, so I put mine in my window:
When it is done, you’ll see it grows in size a lot. It about doubles:
Then press the dough out of the air gently and divide into 8 balls (or 12 for slider size). When creating the rolls, you want them to have a smooth top surface. Achieve this by pulling around the sides to tighten and tucking underneath, as shown in video below:
Place them on a sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat. Now these are ready to bake!
Put them in the oven and brush the butter on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds for the last few minutes to get the tops nice a golden brown.
Yields: 8 Buns
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
- 1/4 cup warm water (about 105°-115°)
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter, softened (I use Earth Balance)
- 2 Tbsp agave nectar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- 4 1/4 cups sifted bread flour + more for kneading
- 2 tsp olive oil, for drizzling on dough + more for forming buns
- 1 Tbsp vegan butter, melted
- Optional: sesame seeds for topping (I used black seeds, you can use white)
- Stir yeast into 1/4 cup warm water and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until mixture becomes frothy & foamy.
- Mix yeast/water mixture, softened butter, agave, salt, and additional 1 1/4 cup warm water until combined. Add flour and mix to form a ball.
- Knead by hand or with kneading mixer attachment until dough is smooth.
- Coat ball of dough in olive oil and place in a warm place for 1 hour, covered with a damp towel.
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Punch down dough gently to remove air, turn out of bowl and form into buns (8 for burgers, 12 for sliders). Keep hands covered in a light coat of olive oil to prevent the dough from sticking to them.
- Pinch dough balls to form smooth buns and place on a cookie sheet (line with parchment or silpat for easy cleaning).
- Bake for 12 minutes, then brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using), and place back in the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes until brown and baked through.
- Remove from pan and place on cooling rack to cool before slicing.
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or in fridge for longer.