I’ll start by quoting Wikipedia’s page about burger history: “There have been many claims about the origin of the hamburger. The earliest known report in a newspaper is from July 5, 1896, when the Chicago Daily Tribune made a highly specific claim regarding a “hamburger sandwich” in an article about a “Sandwich Car”: ‘A distinguished favorite, only five cents, is Hamburger steak sandwich, the meat for which is kept ready in small patties and ‘cooked while you wait’ on the gasoline range.

No matter who invented the burger, let’s get one thing straight. It’s a wonderful dish and just because it can be prepared quickly doesn’t mean the work put behind it doesn’t take time. I want my burger made from fat beef, and to have a sweet sauce on it. And a fresh bun. All the rest you might put on there is a bonus.

Burger with home made bun

Ingredients for 6 burger buns

  • 1,5 dl of full milk
  • 1 dl of water
  • 40 g of unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 280-330 g of flour (depends on the flour)
  • 5 g of active dried yeast
  • 20 g of sugar
  • 5 g of salt
  • Some more flour to put on your work surface

This is how you make the burger buns

  1. Into a casserole, over medium heat, heat up the milk, the water, and the butter to 50°C. If the temperature is too low, the yeast won’t activate, and if the temperature is too high, the yeast will die when you pour the mixture over it.
  2. Pour the flour, the yeast, the sugar and the salt into a big bowl. Mix it up.
  3. Incorporate the warm liquids into the dry mix.
  4. Add the egg. Keep stirring.
  5. When the dough becomes homogeneous, pour some flour onto your work surface, and start kneading it until the dough becomes tacky and elastic. Stretch out the dough in the shape of a baguette. If it shrinks a little, like a rubber band, it means you kneaded it enough.
  6. Cut the dough into 6 equally big pieces. Shape them into balls, then flatten them with the palm of your hand to obtain buns of approximately 7-8 cm in diameter.
  7. Let the buns rest in room temperature about an hour or until they’ve doubled in size. If you have time, let them rest over night in the refrigerator instead. It will give the yeast time to develop the flavors, making the buns taste better.
  8. Preheat the oven to 225°C (if you have a hot air oven, a little higher)
  9. Cook the buns for 10 minutes. After half the time (5 minutes) open the oven and throw a glass of water under the tray, on the bottom of the oven. The cold water quickly lowers the temperature for a brief moment, so that the buns get nicely cooked on the inside without burning on the outside. It will also moisturizes the air in the oven, giving the buns a better surface.
  10. Take the buns out, cover them to soften them.*

Homemade hamburger buns

Recipe notes

*  If you don’t, they will develop a crust, and I don’t want that but maybe you do.

Ingredients the caramelized red onion sauce

  • 4 red onions
  • 1 star anis
  • 250 ml of tomato sauce (passata di pomodoro, usually a can)
  • 100 grams of sugar (about 1 dl)
  • 25 grams of balsamic vinegar (about 1/4 dl)
  • Salt to taste
  • Some olive oil

This is how you make the sauce

  1. Thinly slice the onions
  2. Add olive oil and the star anis. The star anis will give it a wonderful flavor that works excellent with meat.
  3. Fry the onions in the olive oil together with the star anis until the onions caramelize, meaning the sugars in the onion turn them brownish and it all smells wonderful. If it smells burned, you burned it! Lower the heat!
  4. Add the sugar, we want this to be sweet.
  5. Add the tomato sauce
  6. Let it simmer for at least an hour. Don’t cover it, we want liquid to evaporate and make it all thick and nice.
  7. Add the vinegar to balance the sweetness with some acidity.
  8. When it’s thick and darkened, the sauce is ready. Now add some salt to taste.

Homemade hamburger buns

Ingredients the cheese

  • Well, cheese. One that melts nicely. I use cheddar.

This is how you melt cheese (I know you know how to, but this way is a little special)

  1. First, pour water into a pot.
  2. Place some kind of heightened plate in it, so you can put things in there without them being under water. Alternatively, you can have less water and use containers with high edges. The problem is that they might break when standing directly on the hot bottom of the pot.
  3. Grate cheese and place it in a heat proof container.
  4. Put the container in there, and cover the pot. It will melt and keep hot, but never dry out because of the steam. You can prepare tons of perfectly melted cheese, and use it just before serving.

Ingredients for the burger

  • Minced meat from a fat part of the cow. Don’t use lean meat, it will render dry burgers. I use minced meat from chuck steak. (150 grams per burger)
  • Butter to fry the burgers in (or grill them if it’s grill season, but then brush the burgers with butter before and after grilling them to get that buttery flavor)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

This is how you fry a burger

Some people like their burgers rare. Surprisingly enough, it’s far more common for “fine burgers” to be rare in Europe than in the US – motherland of burgers. My guess is that for a long time, Europeans have seen burgers as “bad fast-food”. When we started to make “finer burgers”, we used “finer cuts of meat”. Which… Well, happened to be the leaner parts. To make it less dry, we had them made rare. Or we’re just idiots. Or it’s just our preference. I don’t know, but I want my burgers well done and juicy. Five Guys knows how to combine those two criteria, so so can I.

  1. Heat up a pan with a lot of butter in it.
  2. Make nice burger patties.
  3. Fry them.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Done.

Burger patty

As for the bacon

  1. Heat up a dry pan.
  2. Put the bacon there, and fry it on both sides.
  3. Put it on some paper, and let the fat drain.
  4. You’re left with crispy bacon!

Serve!

  1. Cut a bun
  2. Put a burger on there.
  3. The wonderful melted cheese.
  4. The wonderfully sweet sauce.
  5. The crispy bacon.
  6. Put the top part of the bun in the melted butter you fried the burgers in, to give it some extra flavor.
  7. And you’re ready to serve it or just it it right then and there!

20 Responses

  1. Ka Mai

    Greetings Emperor, I really need to try this recipe to piss off my vegetarian friends.

    I have a couple of questions though. First of all: how long do you think it takes for the onions to properly caramelise? I’ve found different opinions on the internet, with times ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours, so I wondered what’s your stance on it.

    Next question. I like my burgers – mind me, I’m really no burger expert, so what I’m about to say might sound like an heresy – sprinkled with Worcestershire sauce, so I wonder if it will work with this recipe too, given the sweet taste of the onion sauce. If you think it will blend in nicely, when’s the best time to add it? Together with the passata when making the onion sauce? To the minced meat before frying the patties? Or at the very last moment, on top of the fried patty?

    Thanks for what you do, keep wetting my taste buds, porca catazzoccola.

    • The Food Emperor

      Hi! I’d say that the longer you let the onions do their thing, the better. Go for 2 hours! Worcestershire is a great idea when it comes to tightening the flavor of meat. Some dashes of that on the meat just after frying them is what I’d recommend.

      • Alexander

        Dear Emperor,
        Could you tell me, which fluor you were using in this recipe? I’m pretty new in cooking, so I don’t really have experience with how which flour acts with fluids. Would reeeeaaaally appreciate it!

        Thanks 😉

  2. Kaśka Maciąg

    Buns proportions are totally fucked up 🙂 Adding 250 ml of fluid and liquid butter to 280 g of flour gives you… a custard maybe. Not buns for sure. I’ve already added another 200g and it’s sarting to look like dough. Check it!
    Regards from Poland 😉

    • The Food Emperor

      I’ve clarified by giving a wider range of flour. Sure, you can add another 100 grams of flour or so However, remember that you want fluffy things. If you feel that you have a too liquid dough, let it stand for 30 minutes and you’ll see that it comes together. 🙂

  3. Szcepq3

    Ło ale czadowy przepis będę robił na pewno. 😀

    Pozdrawiam 😀

  4. z

    I’m going to make it today. Me and my husband will be nieporuchanymi grubasami 😀

  5. Lame

    Przyszli dzisiaj moje dziewczyna do domu, zrobimy tego hamburgera i zobaczymy czy będą kutasy lecieli z nieba

  6. Wojdi

    My dough also was liquid and looked like ugly ass, so I had to add more flour too. I took your advice and I was waiting for 30 minutes, maybe more, but almost nothing had changed. Happily, buns tasted pretty zajebiście in the end! Even a hooker wanted to pay me!

      • sonia

        Upsss. .. Zrobiłam bez octu:( Ale też było dobre! Wyszło trochę słodkie wiec do burgera wrzuciłam plasterki ogórka kiszonego i było na prawdę mega!

  7. Ciccio&Gino

    Porco dio Food Emperor, che minchia di ricetta! Le dosi del pane sono del tutto sbagliate! È una politigia schifosa! Vaffanculo!

  8. Jacek Placek

    What type of flour are you using? I think that the proportions are absolutely wrong. When I tried to make these buns, I had to adjust and added more flour and I basically fucked up everything. Fuck my life. Kurwa zapierdolona w dupę mać! Jävla! Helvete va jobbigt!

  9. hip

    Hej, mógłbyś robić polską wersję pisanego przepisu, żeby pitoki leciały do nieba 😁