Homemade slider buns are already 10x better than storebought, but make them sourdough? Slam dunk. And use sourdough discard instead of waiting for active starter? Double slam dunk!

I feel like I really hit the jackpot with this sourdough hamburger bun recipe – I hope you love it! xx

sourdough sliders done

Sourdough Benefits

There’s a reason why sourdough starter and naturally fermented grains are making a comeback. The wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough starter are so good for your body.

Study after study finds that sourdough bread helps with glycemic response, feeling full, and even gastrointestinal comfort. The prebiotics are so good for your gut!

sourdough starter

The fermentation process also pre-digests most of the gluten, so people who have issues with gluten can oftentimes tolerate sourdough.

That’s why this recipe calls for a long fermentation—letting the dough ferment on the counter all day and then continuing the fermentation process in the fridge overnight will give you all of these amazing benefits.

The benefits of sourdough go far beyond what I’ve briefly mentioned here, though. Check out this post to learn why sourdough is so good for your health and well-being.

sourdough discard hamburger slider buns

Sourdough Discard Slider Buns Ingredients

These are the ingredients in the slider bun dough:

  • Sourdough discard: the star of this recipe is the sourdough discard, also referred to as inactive, or unfed, starter. I pull mine right out of the fridge to use in this recipe. It does not need to be active or bubbly.
  • Warm water: warm water helps the inactive starter liven up. Make sure it’s not too hot—just warm to the touch.
  • All-purpose flour and bread flour: I like mixing all-purpose and bread flour in this recipe, but you could do all of one or the other, and it would turn out great! You could try adding a little bit of whole wheat or rye flour, but it would make the dough a lot less fluffy and more dense.
  • Avocado oil: avocado oil is our favorite neutral oil for recipes like this one; I love that you don’t have to melt it, but butter would be a great substitute in a pinch.
  • Honey: adds a perfect sweetness; you could also swap in maple syrup.
  • Salt: brings out all of the lovely flavors!
  • Egg: the fat in the egg yolk inhibits gluten formation, which ultimately makes the buns fluffier and lighter.

And for the toppings:

  • Egg and a little bit of water: for the egg wash that you brush on the top of the buns, which provides a nice, golden brown color.
  • Sesame seeds: for that classic hamburger bun look!
sourdough hamburger buns
The sourdough slider buns about halfway done in the oven

Supplies You Need

This sourdough discard slider buns recipe is pretty simple – you likely have everything you need in your kitchen already, particularly if you’re a sourdough baker.

But just in case, here’s a quick list of what I used:

  • Scale: I use the scale to measure out the ingredients in grams. It’s the most precise, but I personally love that I don’t have to dirty more dishes. Just pour everything into your bowl, and that’s it! I also use the scale to measure out the dough balls so each slider bun is the same size.
  • Large bowl: these are my favorite for all types of sourdough recipes.
  • Dough whisk: I personally love this stainless steel one – it can go right in the dishwasher.
  • Bowl covers: these shower cap bowl covers are so easy to use, and they prevent a hard film from forming on the top of your dough. I reuse them many times.
  • Bench scraper: to divide the dough.
  • Sheet tray: to bake the dough on.
  • Parchment paper: I swear by the King Arthur parchment paper sheets – no tearing required.
  • Optional stand mixer: you could use a stand mixer to mix the dough instead of a large bowl and dough whisk.

How to Make Sourdough Discard Slider Buns

As with all sourdough baking recipes, you can adjust a lot of the methods and still get a beautiful result. But here is how I personally make sourdough discard slider buns.

Day 1:

  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients (sourdough discard, warm water, all-purpose flour, bread flour, avocado oil, honey, salt, and egg) with a dough whisk. The dough will be shaggy and possibly lumpy. Cover with plastic wrap, a shower cap bowl cover, or a damp towel for 30 minutes.
sliders-7
What the dough will look like after you mix the ingredients. It’s shaggy, but after a few rounds of stretch and folds, it’ll smooth out.
  1. Do a few rounds of stretch and folds*, spaced about 30 minutes apart. When these rounds are finished, the dough should look smooth.
  2. Let the covered dough ball rest on the counter for 8-12 hours.
  3. Transfer the dough to the refrigerator and chill, covered, overnight.

*See the next section for more information on stretch and folds.

Note: If you prefer, you can mix all the ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook for 5-10 minutes. This would allow you to skip the stretch and folds entirely. I do this sometimes – it just depends on whether or not I want to gather the strength to lug out the stand mixer. I also find the stretch and fold process oddly satisfying and relaxing.

Day 2:

  1. If you want the buns to be fresh out of the oven when consumed, pull the dough out of the fridge 2.5-3 hours before you want to serve them.
  2. Now, divide the dough using a bench scraper and brown rice flour (the flour reduces stickiness, and this dough is pretty sticky!). For mini sliders, divide into 18 small balls, weighing about 50g each. For regular-sized buns, divide into 9 balls, weighing about 100g each.
  3. Shape each dough ball and place on a parchment-covered sheet tray. They will all fit on one sheet tray, so space them out accordingly.
  4. To shape the dough into balls: One piece at a time, right on your work surface, pull the outer edges up and towards the center of the dough, all around. Gently pinch the pulled edges together. Turn the ball over so that the seam side is facing down on your work surface. Roll it around a little bit to smooth out the bottom.
  5. Cover the sheet tray with a towel and let the dough rest on the counter for about 2 hours. When done resting, they should look like they’ve risen a bit more – maybe 30% more, I’d say.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F or 175°C. Whisk one egg with a tiny bit of water and brush the egg wash on each bun. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  7. Bake mini sliders for 18 minutes and full-sized buns for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through to ensure even browning. You know the sliders are done when the tops are golden brown.
sourdough discard hamburger buns

Stretch and Folds

For this recipe, I prefer to do a few rounds of stretch and folds, spaced 30 minutes apart, instead of mixing the dough in a stand mixer for 5-10 minutes.

Both options strengthen the dough, smooth it out, and develop gluten.

I personally prefer doing the stretch and folds because I don’t have to lug out the heavy stand mixer, and I actually like the calming, relaxing process of stretching the dough. But either way will work.

How to Stretch and Fold

To do one “round” of stretch and folds, you will grab one corner of the dough in your hand and stretch it up.

Don’t tear the dough when you’re stretching. Stretch it up as much as it’ll allow and lay it back down over the rest of the dough (that’s the “fold” part).

Rotate the bowl a quarter turn, and do it again.

You will do this a total of four times, essentially rotating the bowl one-quarter turn each time to ensure you stretch all of the dough.

When you’re done, the dough will be a little more taut. Letting it relax for another 30 minutes will allow you to do another round of stretch and folds, further strengthening the dough.

Baker’s Schedule

Since this recipe uses sourdough discard instead of active starter, the baker’s schedule is super flexible. And that’s the beauty of it! But here’s what I typically do.

7am: Mix the ingredients and cover.

7:30am: Stretch and fold.

8am: Stretch and fold.

8:30am: Stretch and fold. Cover and let rest on the counter.

Around dinnertime: Pop the covered bowl in the fridge.

The Next Day:

Literally any time of day, but if prepping for dinner, let’s say 3pm: Shape the dough ball into my 18 slider buns. Cover and let rest on the sheet tray.

4:30pm: Turn on the oven.

5pm: Brush egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on the buns. Pop in oven for 18 minutes, rotating the sheet tray halfway through.

5:30pm: Enjoy the buns now that they’ve cooled off for a few minutes!

How to Store the Buns

I like to store these sourdough slider buns in a ziploc bag on the counter. These will stay good for 4-5 days. You can pop them in the fridge, and they’ll last a lot longer – I’d say 7-10 days or so.

Alternatively, you can freeze these! Frozen bread turns out so well. Just pull them out of the freezer and let thaw on the counter for about an hour, and you’re good to go.

Sourdough Discard Hamburger Slider Buns

Recipe by Rebekah ParrCourse: DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

18

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

18

minutes
Calories

140

kcal

Fluffy, full-of-flavor hamburger buns that can easily be shaped into smaller sliders, with the ease of using sourdough discard instead of active starter. Perfect for hamburgers, pulled pork, or one of our favorites – barbecue pulled chicken!

Ingredients

  • 113g sourdough discard

  • 177g warm water

  • 210g all-purpose flour

  • 210g bread flour

  • 60g avocado oil

  • 60g honey

  • 6g salt

  • 1 egg

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a dough whisk until incorporated fully. It will look shaggy and possibly lumpy. Cover the bowl with a shower cap bowl cover. Rest for 30 minutes.
  • Do 2-3 rounds of stretch and folds, 30 minutes apart. Wetting your hands with water will make it less sticky. See Notes for more information about stretch and folds.
  • Let dough sit on counter, covered, for 8-12 hours, or until doubled in size. Put it in the fridge to chill overnight.
  • The next day, divide the dough. For mini sliders (as pictured), divide into 18 small balls, weighing about 50g each. For regular-sized buns, divide into 9 balls, weighing about 100g each.
  • Shape each dough ball and set on a parchment-covered sheet tray. To shape: One piece at a time, right on your work surface, pull the outer edges up and towards the center of the dough, all around. Gently pinch the pulled edges together. Turn the ball over so that the seam side is facing down on your work surface. Roll it around a little bit to smooth out the bottom.
  • Cover the sheet tray with a towel and let rest on the counter for about 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F or 175°C. Whisk one egg with a tiny bit of water and brush the egg wash on each bun. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  • For mini sliders, bake for about 18 minutes, rotating the sheet tray halfway through. For regular sized buns, bake for 20-25 minutes, also rotating the sheet tray halfway through. Enjoy!

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Stretch and folds: One round of stretch and folds means you grab some of the dough in your hand, stretch it up, and lay it back down over the rest of the dough ball. You then rotate the bowl a quarter turn and do it again. You will do this a total of four times, essentially rotating the bowl one-quarter turn per stretch and fold to ensure you stretch all of the dough. This helps develop the gluten.
  • During shaping: I sprinkled brown rice flour on the dough and my work surface during this process to keep the dough from being too sticky. I highly recommend brown rice flour for this as it won’t mess up the final result.

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