Danny’s Black Burger Buns

Oct 14, 2002 by Chef Danny Davies

Prep time: 25 minutes, plus 2 1/2 hours to rise and prove
Cooking time: 30–40 minutes
Oven temp: 230°C / 450°F / gas 8
Total calories: 2615

15 g (1/2 oz) dried yeast
1 teaspoon caster sugar
300 ml (1/2 pint) warm water
150 ml (1/4 pint) warm milk
675 g (1 1/2 lbs) strong plain white flour

1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder
2 teaspoons fine Himalayan pink salt
25 grams (1 oz) butter or plant-based butter
1 beaten egg to glaze
Tuxedo sesame seeds to sprinkle


  1.  Use spray grease and parchment paper to prepare a pair of baking sheet pans.
  2. Place the yeast, sugar, water and milk in a jug, mixing well. Leave in a warm place until frothy, about 20 minutes. I use hot water and add cold milk to that to get the warmness you require for the yeast to grow.
  3. Sift the flour, then add the charcoal powder and salt into a bowl. (Put on gloves, to protect your hands from getting covered in black powder!) Rub in the butter
  4. Add the yeast liquid and mix to a smooth dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Or, 10 minutes in the KitchenAid with the hook attachment. Add a little oil to the bowl if things get too sticky.)
  5. in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours.
  6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knock it back to release all air bubbles,  and knead again for 5 minutes. Shape the dough into balls (about the size of a golf ball). Flatten them out a little with your fingers to give each one that burger bun shape. Arrange them on the baking sheet with enough space for each to double in size.
  7.  Glaze the buns with beaten egg and sprinkle with tuxedo seeds. Leave these to prove (the second rising) for about 1 hour.
  8. Bake in a hot oven for 30–40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. I like to cover them with baking parchment and a clean bar towel. This stops the crisping of the bun and gives it that classic soft burger bun feel.

Makes 10–12 rolls, depending on size (24 mini sliders, great for canapes)

This dough makes a great base for a focaccia bread and will fit a ¼ sheet pan.

Let the dough sit in the sheet pan for 3-4 hours or overnight in the fridge before baking. If you do leave it overnight, cover it with cling wrap and olive oil. Make sure you take the dough out of the fridge and give it 20–30 minutes to reach room temperature before cooking for the best results.