Hamburger Buns

Homemade Hamburger Bun on the left, Sara Lee Bun on the right

Since I’m not much of a baker,  I’ve never been attracted to the idea of spending hours creating hamburger buns from scratch when you can buy some pretty good buns at the grocery store.  While looking at a food magazine recently, however, I was inspired by a beautiful photo of a juicy burger served on a shiny, golden, freshly baked bun.  I decided to see if the reality of freshly baked buns could measure up to this appetizing vision.  I used this recipe from Gourmet magazine to make homemade buns and bought some Sara Lee Soft & Smooth hamburger buns.  Six members of my family helped me out with the tasting on this one and here’s what they thought:

Without exception everyone preferred the homemade buns overall.  Some people found the homemade buns to be a little too thick for their taste, but still agreed that the overall appearance, texture, and flavor were superior.  The store bought buns were referred to as “flavorless”, “dry”, and “chewy in texture”.  The homemade buns were definitely more attractive with the golden brown tops resulting from an egg wash right before they were baked.  Some people thought the homemade buns had “superior texture and taste” and were “more substantial” than store bought buns.  As far as time and money goes, the store bought buns are certainly much easier since the homemade recipe takes about 4 hours in all.   The homemade buns cost about half the price of store bought since the recipe makes 16 buns instead of the usual 8 buns in a store bought package making them an economical, but time consuming choice.

Bottom Line: Homemade buns are cheap to make and the result is both attractive and tasty, but they are extremely time consuming.  Store bought buns are easy to use and still a good choice as far as taste goes, but are a bit more pricy than homemade and not quite as appetizing.  Overall, homemade buns make sense for a special occasion or when you have a big crowd coming over for hamburgers (I would suggest making them the day before).  However, if you’re just making hamburgers for a small group on a weeknight, the convenience of store bought buns is worth the little extra money.

Freshly baked hamburger buns

Homemade Hamburger Buns Sara Lee Hamburger Buns
Cost: $0.60 (for 8 buns) Cost: $1.60
Time: 4 hours Time: None