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Whole Wheat Burger Buns (Tongzhong method)

This whole wheat hamburger bun recipe uses the tongzhong method to create soft and fluffy buns that are perfect for burgers. The technique involves cooking a portion of the flour and water into a roux (using stove or microwave), which is then added to the dough, resulting in buns that are both tender and durable enough to hold up to any burger topping.
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 8 buns
Calories 210kcal
Author Marie



  • 2.5 tablespoons bread flour (17 grams)
  • cup water (85 grams)

Fro the Dough

  • Tongzhong from above step
  • 1 ¼ cup bread flour (201 grams)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (144 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast (7 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup water (135 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (5 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (36 grams)

For topping the buns

  • sesame seeds
  • egg wash (one egg thinned with ~1 tablespoon of milk or water)


To make the Tongzhong

  • Combine 2.5 tablespoons bread flour with water and heat over medium heat until a roux forms and the temperature reaches 149 degrees F (lines will form when you stir it). This will take less than a minute. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

To make the bread, combine all ingredients including the Tongzhong but NOT the salt and butter in a bowl of a standing mixer and knead until the dough comes together.

  • Add the salt and continue kneading for 7 minutes in stand mixer or 15 minutes by hand.
  • If the dough is too sift, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Lastly, add the softened butter and knead for another 2 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk (1 to 3 hours depending on temperature. You can speed this up by placing the dough in your oven (set to OFF) with a pan of boiled water)
  • After the dough has risen, gently remove from bowl and cut into 8 equal portions (85 grams or 3 ounces each)
  • Form into balls, place of parchment lined baking tray, brush with egg wash, and let rise again for about 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Preheat oven about 30 minutes before baking and place a baking pan on the bottom rack or oven floor.
  • Before baking, brush the buns again with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Just before placing bread in oven, add about ½ cup of water to baking pan to create steam.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.


Depending on what brand flour you use, you may need to add a tablespoon or 2 more of water
Allow sufficient time for dough to rise or bread will be dense
The first rise will take longer than the second rise. Times will vary depending on ambient temperature. It is better to underproof than overproof during the final proofing.
Not allowing enough time for first proof will result in heavier bread.


Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 118IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg