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Hamburger buns: Expectations for a great one?

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Hamburger buns: Expectations for a great one?

AlexRast | Jan 15, 2014 10:44 AM

After the umpteenth disappointing bun at a specialist burger restaurant I'm starting to think the problem is my own expectations of what a hamburger bun should be like.

My own feeling is that as an integral part of a hamburger, the bun should stand out at least in similar prominence to the patty. This means a good bready taste and a density and texture relatively similar to the patty itself. Obviously a bun can't have exactly the same texture as a lump of meat but I would like to see something fairly dense, with a doughy, soft consistency that is strong enough to stand up to any contents that may be put into it, including rare, juicy patties and other toppings as appropriate. It definitely should not be easy or even possible to flatten or fold it, certainly not under the weight of its contents alone, and it shouldn't "open out" when attempted to be picked up. The flavour should have enough strength to be noticeable - and I definitely think it shouldn't be something with a "twist" like sourdough or whole wheat or rye or onion or anything else. I do prefer sesame seeds it will be said - although that's not essential.

But essentially everywhere, even the places that make a point of making their own, seems to provide instead the same thing - a hyper-fluffy, mostly-air bun, somewhat on the dry side usually, with very little if any flavour of its own, designed at best to be a vehicle for its contents (if, indeed, it has the robustness to fulfill that task) and generally seeming to be seen as an "incidental" to the burger that the less noticed, the better.

So I'd like to enquire - is this latter what you expect in a hamburger bun, and if so, do you have any particular reasons? For that matter, could you articulate any reasons if so why you'd less prefer my own type, or what you would criticise it for, with respect to the "canonical" hamburger? No criticism is to be understood here - just curiosity and a desire to understand what people really expect out of a great bun

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