These sourdough buns are made with minimal ingredients, but are full of rich flavor. They're a welcome addition to any hamburger and even make a great dinner roll.
If you're new to sourdough, you're not alone. Until you fully immerse yourself in the process of making sourdough, it's hard to understand. I've been there! But, once you dive in, IT'S SO WORTH IT.
Interested in trying other sourdough recipes? Make our simple apple and herb sourdough stuffing for the holidays.
Why You'll Love These Sourdough Buns
Delicious: This sweet bread has a delicious flavor, subtle tanginess, soft texture on the inside, and crunchy exterior.
Versatile: from sourdough hamburger buns to French toast, there are so many ways to have it. Be sure to scroll below for more ideas on how to use these buns.
Good for beginners: It's a great recipe if you're new to sourdough making because it requires little hands-on time with minimal kneading.
Ingredients You Need
- Dairy free milk: Like almond or coconut, but you could also use whole milk.
- Water: Equal parts water to sourdough starter.
- Grass-fed butter: Or vegan butter.
- Egg: One large egg gets added to water to make the the egg wash that gets brushed over top of the buns.
- Active sourdough starter: If you don't have an active sourdough starter, make sure to feed your starter at least 8-12 hours before you plan to make the buns. It should be active and bubbly.
- Coconut sugar: You can substitute with granulated sugar.
- Bread flour: We like to use King Arthur bread flour.
- Salt: Kosher salt tends to dissolve more slowly in dough, allowing for a more gradual infusion of salt into the dough, which can create a more balanced flavor and texture in the final baked product.
How to make sourdough buns:
Make the dough:
- Start by warming the milk, water, and butter together in the microwave (about 1 minute).
- Add the egg, sourdough starter, and sugar to a large mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and mix to combine. Slowly add the warmed milk mixture then slowly add the bread flour and salt, about 2 minutes. It should be a wet dough.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a wet hand, cover with the towel, and let it rest for 30 mins. (Don't forget to replenish your starter!)
- Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead for about 6 minutes until the dough becomes smooth. You could also knead it with your hands on a gently-floured work surface.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a warm spot to rise for 8 hours.
Shape and rise:
- Gently grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Remove the dough from a lightly floured surface and gently shape the dough into a rectangle. Divide the dough into 12 pieces (or 8 if you want bigger buns). Gather the ends and fold into the middle, then pinch the dough together.
- Flip the dough over with the seam side down and gently roll to give the buns a soft surface. Transfer them all to the prepared baking pan.
- Cover and rise for another 30 mins - 1 hour (dough will expand but not double).
- Brush the tops with egg wash then bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, or until the buns are a deep golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature with your burgers. They will last up to 2 days!
One of the trickiest parts about making sourdough is figuring out when to start the process so you can make the dough and have the bread when you want it.
- Feed starter (wait 6-8 hours)
- Make dough (30 mins)
- Bulk rise (6-8 hours)
- Second rise (30 mins-1 hour)
If you want sourdough buns in the morning:
- Mid morning: Feed your starter so it's active.
- Evening: Make your dough and rest for 30.
- Overnight: Knead before bed then bulk rise overnight.
- First thing in the morning: shape, 2nd rise and bake.
If you want your sourdough buns for dinner:
- Before bed: feed your sourdough starter so it's active.
- First thing in the morning: make your dough and rest for 30.
- Mid morning: knead and bulk rise all day.
- Afternoon: shape, rest and bake before dinner.
What is sourdough?
Sourdough bread is a century old technique used to ferment dough and bake bread with wild yeast that really embraces the slow food movement. Food advocate and best-selling offer, Michael Pollen explains:
"For centuries, bread makers made fermented sourdough, a slow process that begins with a natural starter of water and flour, which are left to sit together so fermentation can work its magic. Yeast from the air (no need to add in a packet of the stuff) reacts with the flour, feeding on the starches and multiplying slowly. Eventually, gut-healthy lactobacillus bacteria grow."
Is sourdough gut friendly?
The fermentation process described above sourdough breaks down the peptides in gluten that often give people trouble.
Note: If you suffer from celiac or another auto-immune disease it's best to talk to your doctor, but if you are intolerant and want to give it a try like me, I had great success.
Is it worth it to make your own sourdough bread?
Without a doubt, a resounding YES it is so worth it. For your health and heart. Properly fermented sourdough takes a few days from start to finish, but when you're done:
- You will be so proud of yourself.
- You'll have delicious and homemade bread for your family.
- You have a healthy bread option that isn't processed and you feel good about eating.
What if I don't have sourdough starter?
This sourdough bun recipe calls for sourdough starter that you feed and take care of. It's a living thing that you continuously give water and flour so the wild yeast remains alive.
If you don't have a starter:
- Ask around your friends to see if they have a starter they can give you.
- Purchase this live sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour. It comes in a few days with all of the instructions you need to get started.
- Make your own sourdough starter!
Here's a great post all about sourdough FAQs and troubleshooting if you want to learn more. Another great resource is Artisan Sourdough Made Simple. This was the first book I read about Sourdough and this recipe is adapted from a recipe in that book!
How to Serve Sourdough Buns
- Serve them as dinner rolls with melted butter on top of the buns.
- Use them as small buns. These mini leftover turkey sandwiches are the best way to use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey the next morning.
- Cheesy breakfast sliders are another breakfast favorite that's perfect for the next time you're feeding a crowd.
- Look no further for a sourdough burger buns recipe. These make the perfect slider buns for a beef burger on the grill, veggie burger or grilled Hawaiian turkey burger.
- Make sourdough stuffing as an extra delicious Thanksgiving side.
- Use your sourdough discard to make pancakes, cookies, biscuits, crescent rolls, you name it!
- Slice them and make yummy sourdough french toast with warm maple syrup drizzled overtop.
Storage and Freezing
Store: Ensure the sourdough buns are completely cooled to room temperature before storing them. Once they come out of the oven, you want to place them on a wire rack.
Place the cooled buns in an airtight container. You can use a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, a resealable plastic bag, or a bread box. The goal is to prevent air exposure, which can dry out the buns. Sourdough will taste its best in the first 24 hours after baking when the inside is soft and airy and the outside is crispy and chewy. However, it will keep on the counter up to 2 days. (If going past 2 days, I'd suggest toasting the buns to refresh the texture.)
Pro Tip: You don't want to place baked sourdough in the fridge, because it will stale faster in a dry environment.
Freeze: Wrap the buns individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container. Frozen sourdough buns can be stored for two months before it starts to deteriorate in texture and taste. To thaw, leave them at room temperature or reheat in an oven.
Reheat: When you're ready to enjoy the buns, you can warm them on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F for a few minutes. Or wrap them in foil and reheat for a short time.
If you love this recipe or have any questions about the process, follow me on Instagram and message me anytime. If you make this recipe, tag me so I can see it and feature you.
More Bread Recipes
If you're looking for another bread recipe, we have plenty for you to choose from.
For the dough:
- 1 cup (240g) milk any kind
- ¼ cup (60g) water
- 2 tablespoons (28g) grass-fed unsalted butter or vegan butter (plus more for topping)
- 1 cup (200g) active bubbly starter *see notes
- 2 tablespoon s (24g) granulated sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 3 ¾ cups (450g) bread flour (I like King Arthur Bread Flour)
- 1 teaspoon (5g) sea salt
For the egg wash:
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 egg
- Make the dough: Start by warming the milk, water and butter together in the microwave (about 1 minute).
- Add the sourdough starter and sugar to a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and mix to combine. Slowly add the warmed milk mixture then slowly add the bread flour and salt, about 2 minutes. It should be a wet dough.
- Scrape down the sides, cover with the towel and let it rest for 30 mins. (don't forget to replenish your starter!)
- Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 6 minutes until the dough becomes smooth. You could also knead it with your hands on a gently floured surface.
- Bulk rise: Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a warm spot to rise for 8 hours.
- Shape and 2nd rise: Gently grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Remove the dough from a lightly floured surface and gently shape the dough into a rectangle. Divide the dough into 12 pieces (or 8 if you want bigger buns). Gather the ends and fold into the middle, then pinch the dough together.
- Flip the dough over and gently roll to give the buns a soft surface. Transfer them all to the prepared baking pan.
- Cover and rise for another 30 mins - 1 hour (dough will expand but not double)
- Bake: Whisk together the egg and water then brush the tops with egg wash then bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, or until the buns are a deep golden brown. Brush gently with butter or vegan butter if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature with your burgers. They will last up to 2 days!