Potato buns










When the humble potato met the mighty lobster

I have never gone so far to make our own burger buns (well, until now). Usually we prefer a Kaiser roll aka the ordinary German bakery Kaiserbrötchen over a soft bun as a burger vehicle: they aren’t sweet, have a crisp crust outside with a firm interior that holds up well to the weight of a hamburger & all the fixings. A bun for a lobster roll on the other hand should be richer, buttery (but not yet a brioche), soft bordering on squishy with a fine crumb structure and just little bit sweet. Potato bread rolls fit the bill perfectly and I found these worked not only extremely well as a lobster roll but also a burger bun.

Bread made with/from potatoes is not very common in Germany (I had never heard of it before we moved to the States) – quite surprisingly since we make bread out of absolutely anything and have a trillion varieties, which we take enormous pride in. Maybe because we prefer a hearty loaf with substance and a crispy crust and are not so happy when encountering spongey, squishy bread (to my husbands chagrin that preference prohibits him getting proper English toast & Sandwich bread here). Anyway, nowadays potato bread appears occasionally and one day even my Mum will try it (maybe when she does not know it).

If pushed, I’d rather use a Milchbrötchen (German milk bread roll) for a precious lobster than any of the heavily processed burger / hot dog things sold here, in fact, they are fabulous as an alternative bun for the Momofuku pork bun. But a potato roll is somewhat hors de competition, it is just right: starchy but hardly sweet, substantial but soft and it toasts remarkably well (I smuggled one onto this blog already quite a while ago), all in all, perfect for the mighty lobster roll.


lobster roll

Potato (burger) buns

Makes 9 buns. With a few minor changes adapted from Cook’s Illustrated via Laura’s Sweet Spot.


1 lb. / 454g floury potatoes (for mash)
3 tablespoons butter
2¼ cups / 280g bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried yeast (instant or quick rise yeast)
1 tsp. salt (use less if you’re using salted butter)
1 large egg + 1 egg (or ½ leftover egg) for an egg wash
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (to taste and optional)


Peel potatoes and cut them into ½ / 1.5cm slices, cook in lightly salted water for about 10 minutes or until through. Drain but keep the cooking water. Return the potatoes to the hot saucepan for a minute or two and let the moisture evaporate. Mash with 3 tablespoons of butter, this should make about 1 slightly heaped cup of mashed potato (less or more does not really matter that much).

Mix flour, sugar, yeast & salt in a bowl, work in the warm potato mash, followed by the egg and 5 tablespoons of potato cooking water. Combine into a soft but still slightly sticky dough and place into a greased bowl. Place into a plastic bag or cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Proof until the dough has doubled in volume (30-50 minutes).

Lightly (!) dust your work surface with flour and divide the dough into 9 pieces. Make a claw with your hand over a piece of dough and form an even roll by moving your hand in small circles, applying only a little pressure. Work with one piece at a time, cover the rest under your cling film / plastic bag to prevent them from drying out. Place the rounds onto a tray or board, cover again with your plastic and rest for another 15 minutes.

Prepare one or two baking sheets with baking parchment. Press (with a flat hand) the risen rolls into discs the size of a burger bun to expel any large air bubbles and place onto the baking sheets, cover again with the plastic and leave for the final rise of 30-40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C / 425°F.

Beat the second egg or any leftover egg with a little water for an egg wash and brush the top of the rolls. Leave the tops bare or sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool.




Deutsches Rezept:

Amerikanische Kartoffelbrötchen (für Hamburger)

Ergibt 9 Brötchen. Mit einigen Änderungen nach Cook’s Illustrated via Laura’s Sweet Spot.


450g mehlige Kartoffeln
3 EL Butter
280g backstarkes Mehl (550)
1 EL Zucker
2 TL Trockenhefe
1 EL Salz (weniger wenn man gesalzene Butter verwendet)
1 großes Ei + 1 Ei (oder ½ Ei von einem anderen Rezept) für die Glasur
1 EL geschälte Sesamsamen nach Geschmack


Kartoffeln schälen, in 1,5cm Scheiben schneiden und für ca. 10 Minuten in Salzwasser gar kochen. Abgießen, das Kochwasser zurückbehalten, die Kartoffeln zurück in den heißen Topf füllen und für 1-2 Minuten abdämpfen. Dann die Kartoffeln mit 3 EL Butter stampfen, dies sollte ungefähr eine Tasse (240ml) Püree ergeben (ein klein wenig mehr oder weniger macht gar nichts).

Mehl, Zucker, Hefe & Salz in einer Schüssel mischen, dann zuerst die warmen Kartoffeln einarbeiten, dann das Ei und 5 EL des Kochwassers hinzugeben und alles zu einem weichen, leicht klebrigen Teig verrühren. Diesen in eine geölte Schüssel legen, mit Frischhaltefolie abdecken oder diese in eine Plastiktüte geben und gehen lassen bis sich das Volumen verdoppelt hat (30-50 Minuten).

Den Teig auf einer leicht bemehlten Arbeitsfläche in 9 Teile teilen und zu Brötchen formen. Das geht so: mit der Hand über einem Teigstück eine Klaue bilden und mit kleinen kreisenden Bewegungen und ein wenig Druck runde Brötchen formen. Währenddessen die restlichen Stücke unter der Frischhaltefolie oder der Tüte aufbewahren, damit sie nicht austrocknen. Die geformten Brötchen auf ein Tablett, Teller oder Brett legen, abdecken und für 15 Minuten ruhen lassen.

Mit der flachen Hand die Luft aus den Brötchen drücken, so dass ebenmäßige Burgerbrötchen entstehen und diese auf ein oder zwei Backbleche (mit Backpapier) legen. Wieder in die Plastiktüte stellen oder locker mit Frischhaltefolie abdecken und zum letzten Mal für 40 Minuten gehen lassen. Den Backofen auf 220°C vorheizen.

Das zweite Ei mit etwas Wasser verquirlen und damit die Oberseite der Brötchen bestreichen. Entweder diese so belassen oder mit etwas Sesam bestreuen. Dann für ca. 15 Minuten goldbraun backen. Abkühlen lassen.


12 thoughts on “Potato buns

  1. Oooh lobster oooh divine fluffy bun! My idea of heaven. Don’t really like boiling the poor things but they are so tasty… How did you manage cooking yours?
    Thanks for the tip regarding the Pearl Oyster Bar, must try when in NY next.
    I too, know of many purists that shun onions but it does add a lovely kick, I’m with you on this one. Some even say a crab sandwich should never have mayo in it but then it just falls out of the bread and you might as well just eat it as is and then it’s not a sandwich. Oh, the debate!
    I will try your lobster bun to your exact specifications and, given the time, bake the buns as well. Drooling already.
    J x

    • Jeanette, I steal myself with a good talking to, a rather large glass of white wine, thick leather gloves & extra longs barbecue tongs. I am not as courageous as I pretend to be. Especially when facing a rather bigger than anticipated specimen.
      Onions/shallots are a must in my book for exactly those reasons. Mmm, crab sandwich sounds rather good now, gosh I am hungry… N xo

      • Weirdly, I’m just writing about lobster bits and thought of you. What is this? Some strange seafood psychic connection?
        Well done for handling the large specimen. Wine is a must, otherwise I get all weepy and have the tendency to chicken out. A bit of bottled courage assists rather well. Jxx

      • Now, really, how peculiar. We are the lobster ladies. Exactly, when faced with the opponent I thought about your nifty trick but could not face driving with the guy in the car again. Frankly, I could not manage the quick French demise anyway (if it were allowed here), I would have to polish off a bottle before and what would happen then? N xx

      • Yes, we ARE the lobster ladies. This will be our new name.
        Don’t advise polishing off a whole bottle as it will make you look deep into its shiny, piercing eyes and…well, you will probably let the lobster live in your bath tub until the end if its days. Jxx

    • Potato buns are a revelation here, I tell you, I am so enamoured that I will never make a lobster roll without them again. Despite adding the extra work. Maybe soon, I’ll get my own potato patch…

  2. Wieder so lecker! Ich mache für Burger meistens Buttermilchsemmeln, Kartoffeln habe ich noch nie probiert – aber die machen sicher auch eine super Kruste und einsaftiges Inneres. Prima Version, Nicole!!

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