March 13, 2009


Hamburger Buns & Focaccia Bread

We recently had some very warm weather that put my boys in the mood for grilled hamburgers. Hamburgers have been my exception to the rule that dinner is always gluten free. Normally, I use some type of gluten-free bun or bread, or simply go without, while the rest of the family uses wheat based buns.

I have kept store bought gluten-free buns in the freezer and I have made my own hamburger buns.  When I make my own, the kids are always jealous. I use my focaccia bread recipe which they love, so they would rather have a gluten-free bun than a wheat bun.

Knowing that, I treated the family by making gluten-frefocaccia bunse hamburger buns for all of us. The kids were thrilled. I used four English muffin rings and for the fifth one I folded a sheet of foil into a strip and made a circle the same size as the other rings. The foil didn’t hold the dough quite as well, but I was the only one who noticed the difference.

My gluten-free focaccia recipe made enough for the five buns and a small round cake pan sized loaf. This recipe is adapted from Carol Fenster’s recipe in her book Gluten-Free 101. I love it because it is so versatile. I didn’t use the Italian seasoning on top of the hamburger buns. You can of course use other toppings also. I like using this bread for dips such as spinach dip. It is also great baked in two cake pans or springform pans, sliced in half like a large hamburger bun, filled with sandwich type fillings, wrapped loosely in foil and reheated in the oven.

If you don’t want to use the flours listed in the recipe, just substitute any gluten-free flour mix. It should work well.

hamburber bun

Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread


Mix the wet ingredients together in the bowl of your mixer using 1 cup of the water.  Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes. Add more water if it is too dry.  The dough should be very soft and sticky.

Transfer the dough to whatever pan you are using. This recipe will fill a large cookie sheet. Let it rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and Italian seasoning.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. The top should be nicely browned.

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These hamburger buns look great, and with grilling season (hopefully) returning soon, I know I'll be giving this a try. Thanks! :)
I have to try this! I really miss hamburger buns and foccacia bread sounds great.
I have tried GF hamburger buns in the past. They have all been "heavy".
I was wondering if this recipe was closer to the reg. store bought kind.
Thank you,
P.S. I find some of your recipes to be very good. Enjoyed non gritty waffles this week. Yahoo!
FANTASTIC!! I baked some this afternoon and will be enjoying our first grilled burgers of the season with them. The texture (when still warm at least, haven't tried them since), was just like that of regular buns. Nice! AS for the weight of them, they may be a little heavier than regular wheat buns, but they really don't seem heavy when you're eating them. HTH. Thanks for the great recipe!
I know what you mean about other gf buns being heavy. These are not like that. I'm glad you liked the waffles. Thanks for your feedback!
VERY nice!! I'm impressed!!
Just made the focaccia today as a practice run before some gluten-free relatives come to visit Sunday. Delicious! I made it in a round wide cake pan and we had it dipped in balsamic vinegar and Vega EFA oil blend (good quality olive oil for Sunday). Thank you so much.
Chris, You're welcome. I'm glad it turned out well for you, and thanks for letting me know. Enjoy!
I just tried this recipe yesterday and was very impressed. I could serve this to non-celiacs.
Fred, I'm so glad you liked it. I think you're right, anyone would enjoy this bread. Thanks for the feedback.
I just found out that I must now live gluten free. I love going to the store and finding exactly what I want!I do not want to make my bread! Is there anyone that sells gluten free buns?
Yes! Kinnikinnick is a brand I have tried and like. You can find their products at health food stores, and if you live in the east, at Stop & Shop or Giant Food stores. I'm sure there are other brands also. You will find these products in the freezer section.
These came out really tasty! I try to make all my GF stuff from scratch. I did have a couple problems I was hoping you could guide me on.
1. It didn't rise when I put it on the pan. Was I supposed to cover it? All I did was spoon it out like soft spackle and leave it in a pile.
2. It rised when cooking, but the end result texture was eggy and heavy. How can I make it more soft and airy? What did I do wrong?
Thank you!
Ingrid, it should rise before baking. If you are letting it sit out at room temperature, it might need longer than 30 minutes. I turn my oven on for about 4 minutes to warm it up and then put the dough in there for the rise time, or at least most of it. Try one of those options and see if it helps. Let me know how it goes!
When do you put the foil around the buns? Do you let them rise with it on and bake with it on?
Melissa ~ Because the dough is so soft, the foil or ring is necessary to hold the shape of the bun. Make the foil rings, then put the dough in the ring to rise and bake.
I have made these 4 times now and am making them again today. This has become our daily bread. These are good for everything I have found. We have enoyed them for burgers, sandwiches, and even toasted at breakfast with some jam. It is just a really good bread in general. I use those egg/pancake molds to shape mine, but I discovered the last time I made these that you can get away with shaping the dough in a mold and then removing the mold and shaping more and not actually baking the bread in the mold. I decided this actually works better for us because the original buns we made we huge. We prefer a hamburger that is not such a mouthful especially since my 3 year old has trouble eating them like that. The thinner bun means we can take our bun out on errands with us and go by McDonald's during the day....order just a meat patty and put it on our bun and it actually does resemble more of a McDonald's type burger ...being thinner. It's not what many people like, but it's what my 3 year old likes so we go with it. Also...I only use one heaping spoonful of dough per bun since they rise so much. I was able to make a heack of a lot of buns the last time with this method. I think I ended up with 11? I will have to count this time. As far as storing, I have been cutting the buns in half when cool and then wrapping individually in plastic wrap. Then you can remove one from the freezer and nuke for 20-30 seconds or toast and you have a perfect bun that is moist and chewy the way bread should be. Today I was thinking of trying to make some White Castle style burgers with it.
Just wanted to add...I have been tinkering with this recipe a bit. The last time I made it, I subbed in some teff flour with the rice flour (1/2 teff 1/2 rice). The bread has gets a bit browner during baking, has nearly the same taste, but I think it was even just a bit better with the added teff. Trying to add nutrition where I can. I am still not using any forms on these and have even made hot dog buns with this recipe.
I can't wait to try these. We aren't much on hamburgers, but I miss biscuits and I bet foccacia would make awesome little morning sausage biscuits for my girls!

Thank you <3
Can you believe I am still messing around with this bread? I make a double batch each week and it serves as our basic bread for many things. Another tweak I have made is to substitute honey for the garlic for flavor, use honey in with the yeast (I proof my yeast in a separate bowl before adding), and using parchment paper for baking. I use an ince cream scoop dipped in oil to scoop out a perfect portion of dough, I plop it on the parchment paper, and then I flatten and smooth the top with oil coated fingers so that each bun will rise to be round and even. I let the buns rise for about an hour at room temperature on the counter. I also usually flatten a few of my scoops out very thin to be personal pizza crusts for my son. It makes for a speedy lunch treat. Anyway, bake in the middle rack of the oven on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes and you end up with beautfiful, lightly browned buns. This last time, I simply put completely cooled buns in a plastic freezer bag, in the freezer, and they defrost in the microwave just fine. I nuke one for about 30 seconds and it is warm and soft and ready to use. Just slice in half and do what you will with it. other thing..I just put in one whole packet of Knox gelatin per batch instead of 2 1/2 teaspoons. It is easier to measure and the results are good.
Holly ~ I love that you are playing with the recipe and making it work so well for you. Thanks for letting me know what you've tried.
Can you use white rice flour instead of brown rice flour?
I'm not sure if I've ever used white rice flour myself, but it should work. Let me know how it goes.
Would an egg substitute work? I would love to try this recipe without eggs. Thanks
Bunnymom ~ I don't have any experience with using egg substitutes. You could try making half the recipe and see how it goes. Don't cut the yeast amount in half though. I would probably use 2 1/2 tsp.
Probably a stupid question, but if I substitute a mix, like Bette Hagmans's flour mix, do I still need the tapioca starch? Thanks in advance!
Cherian ~ No. You would substitute 3 cups of Bette's mix for the rice flours and tapioca starch. I hope it turns out well for you.
To form or not to form...that is my question. I don't have any forms...was thinking of using the tuna can idea but don't have any of those on hand either. How about a 'muffin top' pan? Anyone tried that? Any suggestions if you don't have the round rings? Rena...who has completely failed at gluten free baking so far and really really misses buns.
Rena ~ I would give the muffin top pan a try, but it might not be deep enough. I have been making 10 buns with this recipe and I only have 8 rings. I make aluminum foil rings for the other two. My rings are 3 3/4" in diameter and 1" tall. The bread will be good no matter what the form, though.
Thanks for this recipe; the texture of the focaccia was perfect! I'm not a big fan of tapioca starch, so I replaced half of it with potato starch. I could still taste the tapioca pretty strongly. Do you think you could replace all the tapioca with potato? I think I'm going to try that next time and see how it turns out. In the meantime I finally have a good base for my GF panini!
Shirley from Gfe suggested this recipe for your buns and I'm anxious to try them!

Thank you,

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