In Pursuit of the Perfect Buns

by Chef Amanda Cash (AKA Magpie Sue)

Originally printed in Alaska’s Best Kitchens Spring/Summer 2012


For a chef that likes pretty things, working at Allen & Petersen is exciting and, sometimes, downright dangerous. I put on blinders when passing the dishtowel section and find canning cookbooks irresistible, but the bar was raised when we received a shipment of glistening, made-in-the-USA, Chicago Metallic commercial bakeware.


I had been formulating a class on homemade convenience breads such as sandwich loaf and hotdog or hamburger buns, so it came as no surprise that this shipment included REAL pans for each of the above items.The Pullman Loaf pan with lid was a glorious sight, the hotdog bun pan is pretty cute, but that hamburger bun pan, well, let me just tell you-LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!


With some gentle encouragement from hungry taste-testers, I snatched one up and got straight to work in pursuit of the perfect buns. I had been sitting on two recipes, one promising delicious burger vessels in a conventional four-hour timeframe and one touting amazing results in a mere 40 minutes from start to finish. Too good to be true? Well, I did all the hard work for you and the results are surprising.


I made the double-raise recipe from a well-known premium flour company using our new folding proofing box from Brod & Taylor.


Great flavor and texture, but the time needed detracts from weeknight feasibility. Next I made the 40-minute recipe exactly the way it’s written and then “Magpie-Style.” Not only is the 40-minute recipe one of the easiest things I’ve ever made in my life, it is also delicious and completely within practical weeknight meal execution. The original recipe is readily available online, but I am giving you my adaptation that includes Alaska Flour Company’s barley flour and some special ingredients.


This recipe makes 6 colossal buns in the Chicago Metallic pan, but can make up to 12 small buns on a conventional baking sheet.

2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons warm
water (110°-115°)
1/3 Cup grapeseed oil
1/4 Cup sugar
1 Farm fresh egg
1 1/2 Teaspoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 Cups Alaska Flour Company
barley flour
2 + Cups all-purpose flour,
plus more for kneading
2 Tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
Vegalene spray
Optional: 1 Onion, chopped, 2 Shallot, small dice
11/2 Teaspoons olive oil or grapeseed oil
Salt and Pepper, 1/4 cup Midnight Sun rootbeer,
3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 425° degrees. Spray the hamburger bun pan with Vegalene Pan Spray. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt, one tablespoon of poppy seeds, *and enough flour to form a soft dough. The barley flour will absorb a lot of moisture, so add all-purpose flour as needed. Spray your hands with Vegalene (trust me on this). Turn onto a lightly-floured Silpat mat or countertop and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes.

IMG_2720IMG_0661 IMG_0662 IMG_2722 IMG_0664

Do not let this rise. Divide into 6 pieces for the Chicago Metallic pan (or 10-12 if using a baking sheet) and shape each into a ball. Place in the bun cups (or 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet) and cover with a damp towel or greased plastic wrap. Rest for 10 minutes.


Bake at 425° for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining poppy seeds. Return to the oven under the broiler for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place pan on a rack to cool.

Hamburger Bun Pan

*To add the delicious onion mixture, heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat through. Add the onion and shallot and a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté until light brown (but not burnt). When pan is almost dry, deglaze with rootbeer. Cook until all the rootbeer is absorbed. Season with additional salt and pepper and add chopped parsley. Remove from heat and spread out on a baking sheet to promote cooling. When room temperature, add to dough. You might require more flour due to the moisture content of the onions. Shape and bake as directed.

Delicious no matter what you stack on them!


Will easily stand up to Sweet & Spicy (and Sloppy!) Chicken Sandwiches



All the toppin’s!


Even strong enough for the beefiest burgers!


See original article and print recipe HERE


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