From the moment I had to give up gluten, I have been on a search for two things. The first is a fantastic whole grain flour mix that I can use in recipes, and the second is soft burger buns that don’t rely on eggs. It’s taken me many years of recipe testing to do it, but I can honestly say I’ve accomplished both dreams.
I’ll start with the flour blend. This is a sorghum based blend, that makes amazing baked goods. I wasn’t sure how it would do with yeasted breads, but after my husband asked me a few times, and my daughter baked some delicious gluten-free rolls, I needed to give it a try. I have been in awe ever since!
No joke y’all, but I can finally bake bread again! As well as make a fab pizza and flatbread, English muffins, cakes, cookies, and these freaking awesome buns! Start to finish they only take a bit over an hour. They freeze beautifully and are just as delicious toasted with breakfast as they are stuffed as a sandwich or your favorite burger.
Before I get to the recipe, I will say that this recipe is only tested with our flour blend (Julie’s Original). I don’t think it will work well with other blends. My goal in developing this blend is to make gluten-free baking easy, delicious, and as fool-proof as possible. I also like to weigh my flour, which helps to get a perfect outcome.
The only special ingredients you will need are the Julie’s Original Flour Blend and Pomona’s Pectin (I get it from Amazon, and only use the pectin pouch, not the included calcium packet). As for pans, if you want a beautiful round burger bun, I highly suggest using this pan from USA Pans. I have made them both with and without the pan, and I prefer using the pan. Alternately, You can use a large #12 scoop (or something similar in size), and bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. They are more free-form that way, and shorter in height, but they do work! See the photo below of both buns side-by-side, with the free form bun on the right.
You can leave the tops plain, or sprinkle them with anything from sesame seeds to poppyseeds, everything bagel seasoning, dried onions, and more. You can also double this recipe for a crowd, or bake extras to freeze. And, if you are wondering why I call for xanthan, pectin, and ground flax, that is because they work together to bind the dough without a single egg (all while keeping the texture nice and light). The pectin seems to also help keep the buns soft too. In my experimenting, I was remembering that Better Batter uses pectin in their mix, so I thought it might be worth a try here. Using only flax and xanthan wasn’t enough to keep things light and soft (I tried!), but the magic of all 3 together was perfection.
Soft Whole Grain Gluten-Free Burger Buns
Makes 6 buns
348 grams Julie’s Original GF Flour Blend
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon golden flax meal (can use regular flax meal)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon Pomona’s Pectin
1 3/4 cups very warm water (105° to 110°F)
3 tablespoons agave
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sesame seeds, optional
In bowl of stand mixer, combine the flour blend, yeast, flax, sea salt, xanthan gum, and pectin, whisking until well mixed.
In a large bowl or measuring cup, combine the water, agave, and olive oil, whisking well. Add the water mixture to the flour mixture in the stand mixer, and beat on medium high for 1 to 2 minutes, until you have a thick, sticky batter. It’s important to beat the batter this long to activate the xanthan gum.
If using a large round muffin pan, grease each round well. If not using the bun molds, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease well. Using a large scoop, place 6 rounded mounds/scoops (that should be all of the batter) on the prepared pan. Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds, if desired, and top loosely with a well-greased piece of plastic wrap. You don’t want it tight or it can restrict the rising of the dough. Set aside to rise for 30 minutes. It’s really important not to let them rise any longer for this recipe (the tops will kind of break and crack apart, and the texture isn’t as perfect).
While the buns are rising, preheat your oven to 350°F. If you have a convection setting on your oven, use it.
Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the buns. Place the buns in the preheated oven and bake for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until the buns are nicely golden and an instant-read thermometer registers 200°F or above. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool. For the best texture, try to hold off slicing the buns until they’ve cooled for about 20 minutes. Slicing into the buns while they are too hot can create a gummy texture. If not using the buns that day, freeze them until ready to use.