Teddy Bear Burger Buns

by Hanelore Dumitrache

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Burger bun shaped like bear

Home made vs store bought

Burgers are probably in my top 5 favourite foods. What makes or breaks a burger, in my opinion – is the burger bun. You can have the best quality meat, the freshest salad and tomatoes or the tastiest burger sauce, but if the bun is not pillowy soft and slightly crunchy on the outside the burger will be compromised. 

Store-bought buns, although they are good replacements if you’re in a rush, just can’t compete with a homemade burger bun from scratch. All it takes is a little time, a dash of love and good flour to make the tastiest burger buns you’ve ever eaten. I guarantee that once you make your own you won’t go back to store-bought. 

This burger bun recipe can be made either as a simple bun or made into adorable little creatures to make them more appetising for children or adults alike. Like I always say, food should never be boring. These little bears don’t require any specific artistic skills, just a tiny bit of patience. 

Three Burger Buns shaped like bears on pink plate

Why make my own burger buns?

Burgers are probably in my top 5 favourite foods. What makes or breaks a burger, in my opinion – is the burger bun. You can have the best quality meat, the freshest salad and tomatoes or the tastiest burger sauce, but if the bun is not pillowy soft and slightly crunchy on the outside the burger will be compromised. 

Store-bought buns, although they are good replacements if you’re in a rush, just can’t compete with a homemade burger bun from scratch. All it takes is a little time, a dash of love and good flour to make the tastiest burger buns you’ve ever eaten. I guarantee that once you make your own you won’t go back to store-bought. 

This burger bun recipe can be made either as a simple bun or made into adorable little creatures to make them more appetising for children or adults alike. 

Three bear burger buns placed on baking mat

Let's talk about buns baby!

This recipe can be used to make burger buns in any shape. Below there’s an example of a plain burger bun, or if you have a few spare minutes you can always make teddy bears, turtles, dogs and so on. 

To make the burger buns, you only need some simple ingredients: flour, yeast, milk, butter, salt and sesame seeds. Most of us have these ingredients at home, and the end result will be incredibly delicious. 

Let’s talk about the yeast

I always like to use fresh baker’s yeast, as I find it’s much more reliable than dry yeast and gives in a better rise. If this type of yeast is hard to come by, dry instant yeast will also do a great job. Keep in mind that the ratio is generally 2:1 – for 15g of fresh yeast you need around 6-7g dry instant yeast. 

Flour power 

Using good quality flour will significantly improve the taste and texture of your buns. Although white bread flour will work well, I like to use organic whole wheat flour. This type of flour is generally considered much healthier, due to it having more fiber and being richer in nutrients such as calcium, iron protein and a variety of vitamins (B1, B3, B6 etc). 

Compared to normal bread flour, whole wheat absorbs more water. If you want to make plain burger buns, reduce your liquids by about 10%. 

Turkey cheeseburger with rucola and cherry tomatoes on wooden chopping board

How to make burger buns

Preparing your dough 

First we need to let the fresh (or dry) yeast dissolve in some warm milk. Adding a bit of sugar helps the yeast activate faster. 

In a separate bowl mix your flour, salt, melted butter (not too hot), egg and yeasty mixture. Mix the wet and dry ingredients to combine. Once incorporated, knead with your hands until the dough becomes less sticky. The dough will resist you a bit in the beginning by sticking to your hands, but please do try to resist the urge to add more flour – this will make your buns much more dense. Be patient with your dough! 

Fresh yeast in bowl of milk
1. Let your yeast dissolve in warm milk
Flour and wet ingredients combined in large bowl
2. Combine all wet and dry ingredients
Ingredients combined in large bowl
3. Mix all ingredients until combined
Dough kneaded into ball inside large bowl
4. Knead until the dough becomes smooth

Let the dough prove for 1 hour or until it doubles/triples in size. Divide your dough into 3 large parts to form each burger bun and 1 slightly smaller part to keep for the bear nose, ears and eyes. If you’re making plain buns, you can divide into 3 larger parts, and skip all the steps below. 

Four pieces of dough
5. Divide the dough into 4 parts
Three larger balls of dough and 12 smaller pieces
6. Divide the 4th piece into smaller pieces

Making the Teddy Bear shape

This is where things get reeeeeaaally fun! I really recommend doing this with the tiny kiddies in your life, or if you’re a big kid like me – you’re in for some fun. 

Use black food colouring to make one of the each smaller balls of dough black. These will become the eyes and nose. The other smaller ball of dough colour it pink or red to make the inner ears of the bear. 

Attaching the smaller pieces of dough is easy, simply dip your finger in some water, then gently brush it over the surface you want to stick onto. This will make the pieces of dough attach much more securely to the burger bun. Let’s start attaching: first the nose, the ears, then the eyes and inside of the ears. 

Small piece of dough in the middle of the bun to become the bear's nose
7. Attach one small piece of dough for the nose
Two small pieces of dough to form ears
8. Attach two pieces of dough for the ears
Black pieces of dough attached to bun to form eyes and nose
9. Attach the eyes and tiny nose
Small red pieces attached to bear ears
10. Attach red dough to become inner ears

Baking the buns

Once your burger buns are ready, let them rest for 20 minutes so the dough rises a little. Pre-heat your oven to 200C (or 180C with fan). 

Brush the surface of the buns with some egg wash, then sprinkle some sesame or poppy seeds on top. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown on top. 

I know by this point you’re very keen to dig in and eat the buns, but please be patient for the buns to cool before cutting into them. Place the buns on a cooling rack and let them cool for around 20-30 minutes. If you cut into the buns whilst still hot, the chances are you won’t get a clean cut and the bun might tear. 

In the meantime, you can prepare your favourite burger filling: turkey and mushroom patty, rucola salad or spinach, cherry tomatoes and honey mustard sauce. Enjoy! 

Three teddy bear burger buns on tray
11. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds
Baked teddy bear burger buns
12. Bake at 200C (180C fan) for 12 minutes

Three Burger Buns shaped like bears on pink plate

Teddy Bear Burger Buns

Print
Serves: 3 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 240 calories 5 fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 2 voted )

Ingredients

150g whole wheat flour
15g fresh yeast or 7g instant dry yeast
50ml warm milk
15g melted butter
5g salt
8g sugar
1/2 egg

Extra: black and red/pink food colouring, egg for brushing, sesame seeds

METHOD

  1. Place warm milk and yeast in a bowl. Stir to dissolve the yeast in the milk and sprinkle over the sugar to incorporate well. Make sure the milk is warm, not hot, as this can actually damage the yeast. Let the yeast bloom for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a separate large bowl place flour, salt, melted butter, egg and the yeasty mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine into a uniform dough.
  3. Use your hands to gently knead the dough. You will know the dough is ready when it doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
  4. Add some olive oil in the bowl to prevent sticking, then let your dough prove for 1 hour. The dough will double or even triple in size once proved.
  5. Take out a walnut-sized ball of a ping pong ball and set aside. This will become the teddy bear’s ears, nose and eyes.
  6. Divide the rest of the dough into 3 equal parts, which will become the bear heads. Roll each piece into a round ball by folding the edges under themselves, them rolling the dough gently on your work surface.
  7. Place the buns on a lined baking tray, leaving enough distance between the buns.
  8. Divide the ping-pong ball of dough into 3 equal parts for each burger bun. After this, we need to divide the dough into 2 larger balls (for the ears) and 2 smaller balls (for the nose and eyes).
  9.  Wet the top of your finger with some water, then gently tap the burger bun where the ears and nose should go. The water will help the dough adhere to itself. Stick on the ears and nose and gently press to secure in place.
  10. The rest of the dough balls remaining from all three buns can be combined so we can colour it. Divide it into two parts and colour one half with red and the other with black food colouring.
  11. Divide the black dough into 9 really small balls of dough. Once more, wet your finger and place small dabs of water where the eyes and nose will go. Place the dough on the water spots you’ve just made and press gently to fix into place.
  12. The red dough will be divided into 6 small dough balls. Use your fingers to flatten each ball into a disc. Wet the inside of the bear’s ears with some water, then place the red disc over it, pressing gently to secure it. We now have ears!
  13. Our bears are now completed, so we need to let them prove for 15-20 minutes. Place a tray or large bowl over the buns, and make sure they don’t touch the surface to prevent sticking.
  14. Pre-heat your oven to 200C (or 180C with fan). While the oven heats, brush the buns with some egg wash, and sprinkle some sesame seeds between the ears – this can become the bear’s hair.
  15. Bake the buns for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  16. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
  17. Use your favourite burger patty, salad, tomato and burger sauce and let’s eat some teddy bear burgers!

Notes

Whole wheat flour can be substituted with strong white bread flour. You may require around 50ml less water – the dough should be a little sticky, but not too wet or too lumpy (dry). Food colouring can be changed for natural alternatives – activated charcoal for black, beetroot juice for red/pink.

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1 comment

angiesrecipes June 16, 2020 - 10:37 am

These are the cutest burger buns that I have ever seen! You are really talented, Hanelore.

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