Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    With a good dash of German October Fest spirit, this Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli might be my ultimate favourite burger. The brioche pretzel buns are chewy, with the typical flavourful pretzel crust, while having the sweetness and tenderness of brioche.
    The burger patty is combining the juiciness of pork with classic beef, adding flavour and crunchy edges with some additional ingredients. Brought together by the umami-sweetness of Black Garlic Aioli lifting this to the level of a feast rather than fast food.

    Why You Want to Make This

    The Burger as Feast

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    The Buns

    To me, especially after being on my weight loss journey, a burger is a feast, rather than a convenient fast food. Which is exactly the treatment they get in this recipe.

    Having worked in the kitchen of a Rock Café in Hanover for most of my 20s, known for the best burgers in town, I had a few ideas on how to take a burger to the next level.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    While we used simple store bought sesame buns in said pub, (Gourmet Burgers weren’t a thing back then, though they were still really good) I decided I wanted the sesame, but up my bun game. As described in detail in my post for the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns I developed especially for this Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli, you get the rich, soft, and slightly sweet Brioche experience, needed for contrast to the salty burger. It holds the patty firmly in place, avoiding the dreaded patty slip, while soaking up all the flavourful juices, giving you the perfect flavour in each bite.

    A mix of Sourdough, Pretzel and Brioche for the perfect Burger Bun

    But Brioche alone wasn’t what I wanted, or I could just use storebought brioche buns, right? I wanted the added flavour of sourdough and the crust and chewiness of Pretzel buns, topped with salt and sesame. Adding a decidedly German Octoberfest touch. That’s not something I found anywhere. So I made it, and now you can too.

    Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns

    Of course, if you don’t feel like making your own buns, but want to try the rest, feel free to use your favourite shop bought buns.

    The recipe for the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns is separate, since you’ll want to start the preparation of them 2 days before and can easily bake them the day before, to just reheat them in the oven. Or prepare to just before boiling in baking soda water and get them into the oven an hour before you want to eat, so they can cool down a little.

    The Patty

    While burger purists may object, to me, the pure beef patties were never something I found particularly tempting. I feel they are rather dry with mainly iron flavour from the beef, which I’m sure appeals to the steak lovers. And don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good steak, but I’d rather have it in its whole form, not ground.

    Then what makes a great patty to me?
    Let’s start with crispy edges. At said Rock Café, they were created by first frying the patties in a pan for meal prep, then deep frying them to heat up before serving. But also: The ingredients of said patties, which I will explain in the Ingredients section.

    While I obviously have no intention of deep frying my burger patties every time, I figured that both air fryer and a second brief fry in the pan will give a very similar crunch. So they get fried just until browned and cooked through first, at which point they are already delicious, but they will be even better when reheated, making them perfect for meal prep and a proper burger feast.

    The Sauces

    Black Garlic Aioli

    Sauces make or break a burger. That much is clear if you look at how popular the Big Mac is. It’s the secret sauce that makes it so addictive. Now I’m not re-creating it here, but rather looking for a gourmet burger sauce, to take this to the next level.
    I found it in Black Garlic Aioli.

    Black Garlic is created by very slowly caramelising bulbs of garlic over several weeks, transforming it into black, shiny nuggets of sweet umami notes, with hints of fruit and garlic. Think balsamic and liquorice, utterly addictive and complex. Some supermarkets offer it these days, or you can make it yourself very easily in a rice cooker or dehydrator. It’s not complicated. All it takes is time, to cause a very slow Maillard reaction.

    The addition of herbs and lemon takes this aioli over the top and makes it utterly addictive. You’ll want it with all kinds of things from fries over sandwiches to using it in a Grand Aioli, it’s just so good.

    If you have a stick blender, it also takes just 5 minutes to make and is super easy. Not that the classic method is hard, slowly drizzling oil into the egg and whisking, it just takes a bit of feel and patience.

    BBQ Sauce

    If I’m creating a feast worthy burger, I’ll create my own Peach BBQ Sauce with Single Malt for it. I mean, who wouldn’t?
    You? Ok, yes, I can see why. And sure, you could use a good shop bought BBQ sauce, I won’t blame you. But if you have 35 minutes to spare, I urge you to try this Peach BBQ Sauce with Single Malt. It’s worth it!
    Sweet and summery fruity notes from the peaches come together with smoky malt whisky together with molasses and brown sugar and liquid smoke, to create a stunningly delicious sauce for all your BBQ needs. It’ll keep for a while, so make extra and enjoy with spareribs or steak.

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon

    What do you mean “butter”? In a burger?
    Yup, butter. One of the best kept secrets of that famous “Booster Burger” from said Rock Café (which has long since been eradicated from existence, much to my dismay) was the home made herb butter from the owners’ wife. It was spread onto the cut bun sides, which were then toasted under the Salamander, to have it deliciously melt into the bun, soaking it with garlic-herb flavour.

    I don’t have her secret recipe unfortunately, which consisted of copious amounts of garlic and a lot of fresh herbs, brought to us in huge boxes, we were using so much. But I got pretty close with this one and feel the Black Garlic, which wasn’t in the original, improves it even further.

    Could you just use shop bought garlic butter? Sure. It’ll be delicious. But home made takes 5 minutes (either with black garlic or just fresh, if you can’t find it) and works with so many dishes, you’ll just want it in your fridge all the time. You can also make double and freeze a batch, to have the perfect steak or sandwich butter at your fingertips. Or just make the best garlic bread you ever had.

    The Toppings

    If you use any of the above mentioned ingredients, your burger will already be delicious. So you can choose whichever toppings you love. For me, it’s always the classic combination of crunchy lettuce, fresh cherry tomatoes (Or a really flavourful heirloom tomato if you can find it), sweet dill pickles, red onion rings and crispy fried Serrano ham. Or fried bacon, depending on your preference. I just love how fried Serrano ham shatters into pieces when fried and adds so much salty umami flavour, I don’t miss the fat bacon would bring. And the type of patty I’m making isn’t dry as beef would be, so we don’t need the added fat.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    You could of course add avocado, melted cheese, caramelised onions or go a completely different way by using a vegan burger patty.

    Optional Sides

    Since this Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli is on the rich side, I wanted something light to go with it, hinting to Germany, but not…well…Sauerkraut. So I made a super quick Herbed Cashew Aioli Slaw (recipe coming soon), which has white cabbage, basically what Sauerkraut is made of, but fresh and playing with the garlic theme of the burger.

    In the picture you also see Sweet Potato Fries, which I made following this easy recipe.

    My wild guess is though, that, depending on the size of your buns, you probably won’t need many sides. But with this being a proper feast, of course you’ll want all the options.

    The Ingredients

    Buns

    Use either my Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns recipe or get your favourite shop bought burger bun. If I’m in a hurry, I love Brioche Buns.

    The Patty

    While these are super easy to make, it’s part of where the magic of the famous Booster Burger stemmed from. Now this will be controversial with the beef purists, but they are, in fact, made from half pork and half beef mince. Not low fat either, as we want them juicy. I’m using ready minced beef and pork here, but if you want to take this completely over the top, mince your own.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Ingredients

    Eggs

    Wait what? Not your standard burger, the Booster Burger was going more into the direction of really good and homemade meatballs the German way. Made with eggs and soaked white bread to bind the burgers and add crispy edges and juiciness.

    Baguette

    Another controversial one, water (or milk) soaked baguette which is then squished, to lower the water content again, is used in a similar way as breadcrumbs in meatballs. It binds and adds both juiciness and crunch to the burger patties, making them utterly delicious on their own.

    Flavourings

    Finely chopped onions, ideally caramelised (though I’ve used raw in the past, when in a hurry) add a lovely backbone to the flavourings of this Burger patty. Some dried parsley, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper complete it. Make more than you need. You’ll definitely want one straight from the pan and freeze some for emergency burger cravings. My freezer is not complete without these.

    Black Garlic Aioli

    Since the black garlic is sweet, the balsamic complements it perfectly, but I felt it needed a more acidic counterpoint, to lift it, hence the addition of lemon zest and juice.

    Black Garlic Aioli_Ingredients

    While the herbs are optional, I urge you to try fresh dill, as it’s very fresh version of anise flavour goes perfect with the black garlic and takes this to a whole different level. The parsley adds minerality, to balance both sweetness and umami. You could use dried, but personal I always miss the freshness when I do.

    For oil you could use ¼ cup of a very mild olive oil instead of part of the neutral oil (I’m using Grapeseed oil), but don’t replace it all with olive oil, as it tends to get bitter when used for mayonnaise.
    And fresh egg of course. This emulsifies the aioli together with the mustard.

    Liquid smoke – I’ve added this specifically for these Black Garlic Aioli Burgers, to complement the flavour and despite not grilling them, give a reminder of summer BBQs. You can leave it out if you don’t have it.

    Black Garlic Lemon Butter

    Use good quality unsalted butter here, so you control the saltiness. Several cloves of Black Garlic. You can vary how strong you’d like the flavour of it. Same goes for fresh garlic.
    Some fresh herbs. I like Dill, Parsley and Basil. Though I left out the basil this time, as mine had died it’s usual winter death.

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon_Ingredients

    The Process

    Buns

    If you chose to make these incredible Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns to take your burgers to the next level, start by feeding the sourdough 2 days before you want to eat them. Then follow the recipe here for the whole process.
    If you’d rather not, get some good burger buns from your supermarket. But honestly: Do make the buns. You won’t regret it, I promise.

    Peach BBQ Sauce

    You can use shop bought. But if you decided to make your own Peach BBQ Sauce with Malt, follow the recipe here.

    Peach BBQ Sauce with Single Malt

    Black Garlic Aioli

    Using a slim jar or container that just fits the stick blenders head with very little room to spare on the sides, you add your egg, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, liquid smoke if using, and lemon juice at the bottom, then top it with all of the oil. Gently lower your blender head, equipped with the whisking disc, all the way down, so it covers the egg. Switch it on at full speed and do not move it for a few seconds. You will see mayonnaise forming right away at the bottom. Keep it still until the white mass doesn’t expand upwards further, then gently tip your blender into a diagonal, and very slowly move it upwards until all the oil is incorporated.

    Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Mash your garlic and black garlic or chop it, chop your herbs roughly and add all of them with some salt and pepper to your mayonnaise. Blend again with the pureeing attachment, to create a smooth and delicious Black Garlic Aioli. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
    Try not to eat it all with a hunk of fresh bread.

    Keep in a lidded container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon

    Add all the ingredients to the small bowl of your food processor and mix until you have a smooth mass.
    Alternatively, if making by hand: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, let the unsalted butter soften at room temperature. Add all remaining ingredients to the softened butter and mix thoroughly with a fork until well combined.
    Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if desired.

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon_Process
    Once the black garlic lemon butter is well mixed, transfer it to a serving dish or roll it into a log shape using plastic wrap.
    Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm up the butter.

    Toppings

    Prepare your toppings. Slice pickles, tomatoes, and onions. Wash your lettuce. Fry Serrano ham or bacon until crispy, if using and keep warm in the oven.

    The Patties

    Caramelize Onions

    If you choose to caramelize your chopped onions, do that first. In a pan with a little olive oil, fry them on medium heat slowly, until caramelised. Don’t let them burn, or they will turn bitter.
    Alternatively add your chopped onions raw.

    Soak Baguette

    Rip your baguette into 3 large pieces. In a medium bowl cover with water (or milk, if you like) and let it sit to soak while you add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl.

    Mix Patties

    In a large bowl, add your pork and beef mince, the eggs, Dijon mustard, dried parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
    Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of your baguette, by squishing it with your hands. Add to the bowl with the meat.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Using your hands (this is the fun part), mix the whole thing until you have a relatively uniform dough that holds together nicely.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Fry

    Heat a pan to medium high heat and add some oil. I’m using standard (not extra virgin) olive oil, but any oil that is suited for frying will work.

    Using your hands, form thin, large patties with irregular edges. You don’t want perfectly shaped rounds here, as the edges will crisp up and add the addictive caramelised crunch to the burger.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Once your pan is hot, fry the patties. I usually manage to get 3 into the pan and keep the rest warm, if I plan to eat them right away.

    Re-heat for extra crispy edges

    However, and this is a step I highly advise you to take, you could prepare them the day before (or weeks and just freeze them) and quickly reheat them when you are ready. Either fry a second time in a very hot pan, to crisp them up or in the air fryer at 400°F/200°C for a few minutes, until hot and with crispy edges.
    I know this sounds unusual for burgers, but trust me, it makes them even more irresistible.

    To Serve

    Briefly re-heat your burger buns by sprinkling them with a little water, then baking for 5-10 mins at 350°F/175°C in the air fryer or oven. Slice them open horizontally. Spread some Black Garlic Butter with Lemon on each side and briefly fry in a hot pan until golden. Or put them under your grill in the oven, but keep a very close eye on them, as they burn quickly.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli_Process

    Top both sides with a little Black Garlic Aioli. On the bottom side, stack lettuce, followed by a hot burger patty and add your desired toppings. Drizzle with BBQ sauce. Add the top half of the bun and enjoy your Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    Meal Prep

    You can make pretty much everything in this recipe ahead of time, except for slicing your Tomatoes if using, frying the bacon or Serrano ham and re-heating buns and patties.

    Both the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns and the Burger Patties freeze well. So does the Black garlic Lemon Butter. The Peach BBQ Sauce can me made weeks ahead, the Black garlic Aioli ideally the day before.

    Please Comment

    Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
    Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
    What other recipes would you like to see?

    If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli

    With a good dash of German October Fest spirit, this Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli might be my ultimate favourite burger. The brioche pretzel buns are chewy, with the typical flavourful pretzel crust, while having the sweetness and tenderness of brioche. The burger patty is combining the juiciness of pork with classic beef, adding flavour and crunchy edges with some additional ingredients. Brought together by the umami-sweetness of Black Garlic Aioli lifting this to the level of a feast rather than fast food.
    Prep Time 1 hour
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
    Course Dinner, Feast, Main Course
    Cuisine Fusion
    Servings 12
    Calories 778 kcal

    Ingredients
      

    Black Garlic Aioli:

    • 1 egg or 2 yolks
    • ¾ cup neutral oil such as grapeseed
    • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • Grated zest of 1 lemon
    • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
    • 4 black garlic cloves mashed with a fork.
    • 1 fresh garlic clove minced.
    • ½ tsp kosher salt or more to taste
    • Optional add-ins: 1 tbsp chopped dill or tarragon 1 tbsp chopped parsley

    Black Garlic Butter with Lemon

    • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
    • 4 cloves black garlic mashed
    • 1 clove fresh garlic minced
    • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp chopped dill
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

    Burger Patties:

    • 1 lb pork mince
    • 1 lb beef mince
    • 1 medium baguette ideally stale
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tbsp dried parsley
    • 2 onions finely chopped
    • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns – Recipe see Link in Post

      Optional Toppings:

        Peach BBQ sauce with Malt - See link in post

        • Crunchy Lettuce
        • Crispy fried bacon or Serrano Ham
        • Fresh sliced tomato
        • Sliced dill pickles
        • Sliced onions fresh or caramelised
        • Cheese
        • Avocado

        Instructions
         

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns:

        • Follow the instructions in the provided link to make the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns. Begin by feeding the sourdough 2 days before you plan to make the buns. Follow the detailed recipe at forthepleasureofeating.com.

        Peach BBQ Sauce (If using):

        • Follow the recipe at forthepleasureofeating.com to make the Peach BBQ Sauce with Malt.

        Black Garlic Aioli:

        • In a slim jar or container, layer egg, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, liquid smoke (if using), and lemon juice.
        • Top with all the oil.
        • Using a stick blender equipped with the whisking disc, blend on full speed without moving for a few seconds until mayonnaise forms at the bottom.
        • Gradually tilt and move the blender upwards until all the oil is incorporated.
        • Mash or chop black garlic and regular garlic, chop herbs, and add them to the mayonnaise with salt and pepper.
        • Blend again with the pureeing attachment until smooth.
        • Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep refrigerated in a lidded container for up to 3 days.

        Black Garlic Butter with Lemon:

        • In a food processor, combine unsalted butter, mashed black garlic, minced fresh garlic, chopped parsley, chopped dill, kosher salt, lemon zest, and freshly ground pepper.
        • Mix until smooth.
        • Transfer to a serving dish or roll into a log shape using plastic wrap.
        • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm up the butter.

        Toppings:

        • Prepare toppings by slicing pickles, tomatoes, and onions, and washing lettuce.
        • Fry Serrano ham or bacon until crispy, if using, and keep warm in the oven.

        Burger Patties:

        • Optionally caramelize chopped onions in a pan with olive oil until golden.
        • In a medium bowl, soak large baguette pieces in water or milk.
        • In a large bowl, combine pork and beef mince, eggs, Dijon mustard, dried parsley, salt, and pepper.
        • Squeeze moisture from the soaked baguette and add it to the meat mixture.
        • Mix by hand until a uniform dough forms.
        • Heat a pan with oil and form thin, irregularly shaped patties with your hands.
        • Fry patties until cooked through and crispy at the edges.

        To Serve:

        • Reheat burger buns by sprinkling with water and baking at 350°F/175°C for 5-10 minutes in the air fryer or oven.
        • Slice buns horizontally and spread Black Garlic Butter with Lemon on each side.
        • Briefly fry in a hot pan until golden or place under the oven grill.
        • Top both sides with Black Garlic Aioli.
        • On the bottom side, stack lettuce, a hot burger patty, and desired toppings.
        • Drizzle with Peach BBQ Sauce.
        • Add the top half of the bun and enjoy your Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli!

        Notes

        Meal Prep
        You can make pretty much everything in this recipe ahead of time, except for slicing your Tomatoes if using, frying the bacon or Serrano ham and re-heating buns and patties.
        Both the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns and the Burger Patties freeze well. So does the Black garlic Lemon Butter. The Peach BBQ Sauce can me made weeks ahead, the Black garlic Aioli ideally the day before.
        Since both burger size, calories of the buns and toppings vary, I'm giving you a rough estimate of the calories of the patties, rather than the whole burger.
        The other recipes have calories included on their own posts, so you can add them depending on the parts you are using.
        Burger Patties:
        Total Calories per Portion: Approximately 387 calories
        Total Protein per Portion: Approximately 27 grams
        Total Carbohydrates per Portion: Approximately 15 grams
        Total Fat per Portion: Approximately 24 grams
        Total Sodium per Portion: Approximately 376 milligrams
        For the complete Burger as I made it, it added up to this:
        Calories: Approximately 778 calories
        Protein: Approximately 14.2 grams
        Carbohydrates: Approximately 29.7 grams
        Fat: Approximately 32.3 grams
        Sodium: Approximately 393 milligrams

        Nutrition

        Calories: 778kcal
        Nutrition Facts
        Pretzel Burger with Black Garlic Aioli
        Amount per Serving
        Calories
        778
        % Daily Value*
        * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
        Keyword Black Garlic, burger bun, meal prep, Pretzel, Protein
        Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns

        If there ever was a perfect Burger Bun, it has to be these Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns! And I don’t say that lightly. I absolutely love burgers and have been making them for about 25 years now and have yet to find a better vehicle for them than these.
        Combining the rich, gentle sweetness and soft structure of Brioche with the chewiness of Pretzel Buns with their deep dark and salty crust together with all the flavour from sourdough is a revelation! Trust me, you won’t buy buns again after making these once.

         

        Why You Want to Make Them

         

        Perfect combination of Brioche, Pretzel, and Sourdough

        Why on earth would you want to make your own Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns when you could just buy either Brioche or Pretzel buns I hear you asking. The answer is in the “or”. Maybe it’s just me being very German in my absolute love for anything Pretzel, always dreaming to use them for burgers. Until I did. Even my homemade buns, which I adore for breakfast or dinner.

        The issue is: They are too firm and cause the dreaded burger slide, meaning you end up with the burger patty and all the other toppings sliding out at the end, while you mainly get bites of bread.
        Obviously we can’t have that for perfect burgers, can we now?

        But what about Brioche? Aren’t they said to be the perfect buns?
        The butter and egg enriched brioche dough is nice if I’m in a hurry and just want a super quick burger that can be ready in half an hour, but perfect? Not really. I feel they are a little too soft and don’t have enough own flavour to stand up to the things I want on my burger, namely Black Garlic Aioli, Black Garlic Butter, and Peach BBQ sauce (recipe follows soon). They also tend to fall apart, instead of soaking up all those amazing juices and sauces I want in each bite, instead of dribbling onto my plate.
        And don’t even get me started on the typical dry and flavourless sesame buns from the supermarket!

        So clearly there has to be a better solution, if aiming for the perfect burger. And while I found some brioche-pretzel recipes, there was none that combined my beloved sourdough and Brioche and Pretzel. Which meant I had to come up with one and you get to enjoy it.

        These are firm enough to hold your patty and all the toppings you can think of, soft enough to prevent the dreaded slide, and dense enough to soak up all the juices from sauce and meat, so you get the perfect bite each time. And of course they have amazing flavour from sourdough and the brief bath in hot water with baking soda, to give you the full Pretzel experience.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns

        Suited for a Feast, not just Fast Food

        If you love burgers as much as me, you might have tried various “Gourmet Burgers” prepared with lots of different buns. These Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns are exactly that. The option you choose when you want really good burger buns made with care to crown your version of the perfect burger. Whichever that may be. Beef, mixed meat, vegan, they will all work well here and transform fast food into something feast worthy.
        Can be prepared ahead of time

        The fact that sourdough takes time to ferment and develop its full flavour potential works for us here, as it means you can prepare the dough ahead of time and freshly bake on the day.
        Or even bake and freeze the buns, simply re-heating them in the oven or air fryer, which is what I often do. It also adds a lovely gentle crunch to their crust, not too much, just providing some texture for contrast.

        Versatile

        While I developed this recipe specifically for burgers, it’s incredibly versatile and can be used for all sorts of delicious recipes. Dunk them into cheese sauce, have them as incredibly luxurious dinner roll, enjoy for breakfast or just warm, with a little cold butter. You will most certainly fall in love with them.

        Are you convinced yet? Yes? Oh you are asking what you need and I’m rambling? Ok yes…I’m biased. Let me give you the Ingredients, which I’m sure you have already in your kitchen.

         

        The Ingredients

         

        Sourdough Starter

        In case you haven’t made a sourdough starter before, all you need is flour, water and a few days for the wild yeast bacteria in the air to do their job.

        It adds lovely tang and flavour to all kinds of baked recipes, not just bread and has a fair few health benefits like easier digestion, lower glycemic index, improved nutrition profile, to name just a few.

        Here is a recipe on how to make your own, which you can keep using over and over. Mine is over 10 years old and has a name. While this recipe mentions rye sourdough, it also applies to white sourdough, which is what I’m using for these buns.

        Rye Sourdough Starter

        Since we want a good rise and this is a relatively heavy, enriched dough, I’m using an active and fed starter here, not discard, as in my Rye Sourdough Discard Rolls. Which are also lovely for dinner btw
        if you don’t want the Brioche. https://forthepleasureofeating.com/rye-sourdough-discard-rolls/

        Flour

        I’m using 4.5 cups strong white flour (bread flour) with a high protein content and 1 cup rye flour, because I love the flavour it gives the dough, but if I used more of it, it would impact the rise.
        If you don’t have rye, you can use whole wheat bread flour or more white flour. Changing the flour may impact the amounts you need vs water, so adjust accordingly.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns_Ingredients

        Butter

        To get the softness of brioche, we need to create an enriched dough using butter, which will keep it moist and super soft, preventing the patty slide. Room temperature works best here.

        Eggs

        Same as for the butter, eggs give the buns the typical brioche feel, enhancing flavour and texture to the lighter and fluffier version of Pretzels we are looking for to create a burger bun.

        Malt Syrup and Honey

        You could use either one of the above or both. The slightly sweet flavour is one of the characteristics of brioche, making it so perfect for burgers, as it gives contrast to the savoury filling. Just a little. It will also feed the yeast I’m adding for more rise.

        I’m adding the Malt Syrup as I absolutely adore malty flavour in my bread. If you don’t have it or don’t like it, simply replace with honey or even sugar. Here is the one I get. It’s available in most health food stores and some supermarkets.

        Yeast

        Why am I adding yeast when sourdough is already a raising agent? This is a pretty heavy dough due to the butter and eggs, so I’m adding just a little to give it that tiny extra boost.
        However, if you have time to leave it overnight, you probably won’t need it. My dough got very active, trying to escape from the bowl even in the fridge. Which led to incredibly fluffy rolls, being exactly what I was aiming for.

        Barley Malt Powder

        This is another optional but delicious addition. It’s a classic bakers ingredient that gives bread an incredible malty flavour, adds crunch to the crust and helps with the rise due to the sugars it has. I can’t find it in Ireland, but love it so much, I order it about once a year from Amazon.de.
        One bag easily lasts me a year or more, as I just need 2 tsp per recipe. I use it in most of my breads, so to me it’s a good investment.

        If you don’t have it, simply leave it out. Your buns will be just fine.

        Salt

        We need 2 kinds of salt: Kosher, for including in the dough and flaky for the classic Pretzel sprinkling. Usually a special Pretzel salt would be sprinkled on top, which is more like very coarse sea salt, but I love the more delicate touch Maldon salt brings to these buns.

        Baking Soda

        In your typical German Recipe Lye would be used in the water to achieve the typical dark brown and shiny Pretzel crust, but baking soda is easily available in every supermarket and has the same effect. You need a fairly large amount to achieve the desired effect, so consider getting a larger bag instead of several of the small containers usually sold.

        Sesame Seeds

        I’m using them as topping here, to add a reminder of classic burger buns with a sprinkling of sesame. But they are optional too. I just love the nutty flavour and slight crunch they bring to the Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns.

        The Process

         

        For many years I felt slightly intimidated by the thought of making Brioche or Pretzel buns. But honestly, both, just as this combination, are really easy to make. They just need a little time to allow the sourdough and/or yeast to do its thing. And if you can boil eggs, you can boil Pretzels.

        You can knead the dough by hand, but I like using my stand mixer, as it can start out being rather sticky and heavy from the eggs and butter.

        2 days before baking

        The Sourdough starter

        Feed your sourdough starter, so it’s nice and active when you need it. Make sure you have about 1 cup active starter with leftovers to use as next starter. You can’t really overfeed your sourdough, the bacteria will happily munch everything in their way. So I tend to make more than I need and then use the discard for all sorts of delicious recipes like these Sourdough Brownies with Protein.

        Rye Sourdough Starter

        1 day before baking

        Mixing the Dough

        Mix the yeast with the warm water, honey, malt syrup (if using) and barley malt powder (if using). Let it stand for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast. If you know yours is fresh and active, you can skip this step.

        I the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl if kneading by hand, mix the flour and salt. Add everything else apart from the butter. Mix on low speed until just incorporated. Raise the mixer speed to medium for about 10 minutes, to develop the gluten and get a very smooth dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl and passes the windowpane test.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns_Process
        Slowly start incorporating the butter by adding 1 tbsp room temperature butter at a time. Knead for another 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns_Process

         

        Resting

        You have 2 options here: You can leave your dough covered outside the fridge for about 3h or until doubled in size, if you want to make your Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns on the same day. Or you can cover the dough and put it into the fridge overnight, which will add all the benefits of slow sourdough fermentation and improve the flavour.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns_Process

        Day 3 (or 1.5h before baking)

        Forming the buns

        Take your dough out of the bowl and form it into a round shape or roll on a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 8 very large buns or 10 medium, depending on the size of burger you are aiming for.

        Form into round buns by tucking the edges under and in, while turning the dough in your hand, until you have a nice and raised round shape that holds its own. On two parchment lined baking trays cover with either clingfilm or damp tea towels, so they don’t dry out and let them rest outside the fridge for another hour.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns_Process

        Boiling

        Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

        In a large pot, Bring 2 litre (4.2 pints) water to the boil. Add the baking soda bit by bit carefully (this will bubble a lot) and stir until it dissolves.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns_Process

        Gently drop the pretzel buns, a few at a time, into the boiling water and let them very softly boil for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove the buns from the water using a slotted spoon and place them on the prepared baking sheet.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns_Process

        Once all the buns have been boiled and transferred to the baking sheet, sprinkle them with the flaky sea salt for added flavour, if desired. At this point I also add sesame.

        With a sharp knife, slice them crosswise.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns_Process

        Baking

        Bake the pretzel buns in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they turn golden brown on top.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns

        Enjoy with your favourite topping, for dipping, as side to stew or on their own with some nice cold butter.

         

        Meal Prep

         

        As mentioned above the sourdough resting time is great for meal prep, as you can get the dough started the day before.
        These Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns also freeze and reheat very well. I usually keep some around for the days I desperately need a burger.

        And they keep in a bread tin for about 2-3 days, due to the enriched brioche dough. Though personally I’d reheat them before eating, so they become super soft and fluffy with a lovely crust again.

         

        Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
        Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
        What other recipes would you like to see?

        If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns

        Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns

        If there ever was a perfect Burger Bun, it has to be these Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns! And I don’t say that lightly. I absolutely love burgers and have been making them for about 25 years now and have yet to find a better vehicle for them than these. Combining the rich, gentle sweetness and soft structure of Brioche with the chewiness of Pretzel Buns with their deep dark and salty crust together with all the flavour from sourdough is a revelation! Trust me, you won’t buy buns again after making these once.
        Prep Time 1 hour
        Cook Time 40 minutes
        Resting time 4 hours
        Total Time 5 hours 40 minutes
        Course Bread, Breakfast, Dinner, Side Dish
        Cuisine German
        Servings 10
        Calories 396 kcal

        Ingredients
          

        • 1 cup active sourdough starter recipe here:
        • 1 ¼ cup warm water
        • 4.5 cup white bread flour strong flour
        • 1 cup rye flour or more white
        • 1/2 cup butter melted and cooled
        • 2 tbsp malt sirup
        • 1 tbsp honey
        • 2 eggs
        • 3 tsp kosher salt
        • 1 tsp active dry yeast
        • 2 tsp barley malt powder

        To boil:

        • 1 ½ cups baking soda on 2l water

        To top:

        • 2 tsp flaky sea salt
        • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

        Instructions
         

        Day 1 (2 days before baking):

          Sourdough Starter:

          • Feed your sourdough starter, ensuring you have about 1 cup of active starter. Reserve leftovers for future use.

          Day 2 (1 day before baking):

            Mixing the Dough:

            • In a bowl, combine warm water, honey, malt syrup, and barley malt powder. Let it sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
            • In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix white bread flour, rye flour, and kosher salt. Add eggs and the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined.
            • Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough.
            • Slowly add the butter at room temperature, 1 tbsp at a time, kneading for another 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

            Resting:

              Choose one of two options:

              • Leave the dough covered outside the fridge for about 3 hours or until doubled in size for same-day baking.
              • Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight for improved flavour through slow sourdough fermentation.

              Day 3 (1.5 hours before baking):

                Forming the Buns:

                • Take the dough, form it into a round shape, and divide it into 8 large or 10 medium buns.
                • Tuck the edges under and shape into round buns. Place them on parchment-lined baking trays, cover with clingfilm or damp tea towels, and let them rest outside the fridge for an additional hour.

                Boiling:

                • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
                • In a large pot, bring 2 litres (4.2 pints) of water to a boil. Carefully add baking soda bit by bit, stirring until it dissolves.
                • Gently drop the pretzel buns into the boiling water, allowing them to boil for about 30 seconds on each side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
                • Sprinkle the buns with flaky sea salt and sesame seeds if desired. Use a sharp knife to slice them crosswise.

                Baking:

                • Bake the pretzel buns in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until they turn golden brown on top.
                • Serve with your favourite toppings, for dipping, as a side to stew, or on their own with cold butter.
                • Enjoy your delicious homemade Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns!

                Notes

                Meal Prep
                As mentioned above the sourdough resting time is great for meal prep, as you can get the dough started the day before.
                These Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns also freeze and reheat very well. I usually keep some around for the days I desperately need a burger.
                And they keep in a bread tin for about 2-3 days, due to the enriched brioche dough. Though personally I’d reheat them before eating, so they become super soft and fluffy with a lovely crust again.
                Total Calories per Portion: Approximately 396 calories
                Total Protein per Portion: Approximately 10.4 grams
                Total Carbohydrates per Portion: Approximately 73.8 grams
                Total Fat per Portion: Approximately 6.6 grams
                Total Sodium per Portion: Approximately 1166 milligrams

                Nutrition

                Calories: 396kcal
                Nutrition Facts
                Sourdough Brioche Pretzel Buns
                Amount per Serving
                Calories
                396
                % Daily Value*
                * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
                Keyword Brioche, burger bun, Easy, meal prep, Pretzel, sourdough, versatile
                Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!