Rustic Sourdough Buns

These irresistible Rustic Sourdough Buns are a smaller version of the larger round loaf of sourdough bread you’re probably used to seeing.  The buns have the familiar tang of sourdough, with a crisp crust and soft interior, and are perfect for sandwiches and burgers!

Sourdough buns in a basket.

I love the taste of sourdough bread and I wanted to find a way to enjoy that delicious flavour in a sandwich roll or a hamburger bun, so I started to experiment with my bread loaf recipe.  After some trial and error, I came up with this recipe for sourdough buns, which I think is a real winner and I think you will too!

These buns use a sourdough starter as the leavener.  If you haven’t used a starter before, don’t worry, I have a great recipe for making your own sourdough starter. You can also buy sourdough starters online or you can ask your local bakery if you can buy some of their starters.

You will need to plan a bit when making these sourdough buns, as they do require multiple hours of rising time to get the light and airy structure you want.  I always start to make this recipe the day before I plan on serving the buns.  I promise they are worth the wait!

A sourdough bun cut in a half in a basket.

What You’ll Need to Make this Recipe

  • Active sourdough starter – You can make your own or purchase one
  • All-purpose flour
  • Water (lukewarm) – Make sure the water is lukewarm, as it will help to ‘wake up’ the starter, along with the honey and flour, to help give your buns a good rise.
  • Honey – Any runny honey will do
  • Salt
  • Seeds to decorate the top – you can use any seeds you prefer.  I like to use chia, sesame, poppy, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds and sometimes I use a mix of two or three!

* One important thing to note is if you are using pumpkin or sunflower seeds, soak them for 10 minutes in a cup of water before sprinkling them onto your buns to keep them from burning while in the oven.

How to Make Rustic Sourdough Buns

You will begin by adding the sourdough starter, lukewarm water, and honey to a large mixing bowl.  I like to use my stand mixer fitted with the dough hook to knead the dough.

Mixing the sourdough starter and water in a mixing bowl.

Turn your mixer on to speed #2 and add 1/3 of the flour at a time until everything is incorporated then let the mixer knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Then sprinkle in the salt and continue to knead the dough for another 5 – 6 minutes.

The flour added and formed into a dough.

While the dough is kneading, you can lightly flour a flat surface, (countertop or large cutting board), and lightly oil the inside of a large bowl.

Once the dough is kneaded, move it onto the flat surface that you prepared and gently form the dough into a ball.  Place the dough ball into the oiled bowl, turning the ball around in the bowl so the entire surface is lightly coated with oil.  Now, you’ll let the dough rest for 1 hour to let the starter begin to work its magic!

The dough before and after the 1st rise in a white bowl.

After 1 hour, move the dough back to the lightly floured surface and pat it gently into a rectangle shape.  Next, you are going to fold the dough in thirds, like folding an envelope.  Bring the bottom third up to the middle of the dough and then fold the top third down over the middle. 

Folding the dough on a wooden board.

Turn the dough 90 degrees and refold in the same way you did before.

Refolding the dough on a wooden board.

Next, you’ll reform the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl and sprinkle it with some rice or semolina flour, so it doesn’t stick to the covering, and cover the bowl loosely with a clean towel or plastic wrap.

The dough before and after the 2nd rise.

You will now let the dough rise for 8 – 12 hours. 

You’re Almost There!

After the big rise, place the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface and divide it into 5 – 6 even-sized balls. 

Dividing the dough on a wooden board.

Next, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the balls on the sheet and cover them with a clean towel.  You are going to let the balls rise for 1 more hour in a warm draft-free area.

The sourdough buns before and after rising.

Now it’s finally time to bake your sourdough buns!  Heat the oven to 400 F (200 C) and spray the buns with a little bit of water and sprinkle over the seeds.

Bake the buns for 15 – 20 minutes and then immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

The baked buns on a cookie sheet.

I hope you enjoy these rustic sourdough buns as much as I do!

2 rustic sourdough buns on a board and 3 in a basktet.

Tips for Success

  • Using the mixing bowl and dough hook is much easier, but you can knead it by hand if you prefer. It will just take a bit longer.
  • Be careful not to handle the dough too roughly. Overworking it will allow too much air to escape and the result will be dense bread.
  • If you are looking for a quicker rise, you can place the bowl in a warm draft-free area (e.g. beside a warm stove) for 4 – 5 hours.  

Ways to Enjoy these Sourdough Buns

Homemade buns are worth the wait and the extra bit of effort. Especially sourdough buns. We want to savor every bite, which means complementing the flavour of the bread, and not overpowering it!

  • Simply warm the buns and spread on your favourite butter or sweet spread. Chocolate cream spread anyone?
  • Use to make sandwiches with various fillings (meats, fish, egg salad, etc)
  • Serve alongside soups, stews, and pasta to help mop up those delicious sauces
  • Use them as a bun for your burgers.  You can toast the buns for extra crunch!
  • Split the buns in half and use your broiler to melt some cheese on top (some cheese to try: sharp cheddar, Brie, or mozzarella).

Frequently Asked Questions about Sourdough

What is sourdough?

Sourdough bread is considered a naturally leavened bread that uses a sourdough ‘starter’ to get its rise.  Starters are typically made with flour and water that are encouraged to ferment to create ‘good’ bacteria, which allows sourdough bakes to rise and gives them that distinct tangy taste.

How long can you keep sourdough buns or bread?

Sourdough buns or bread can be stored in plastic wrap at room temperature for 4 – 5 days.

How to freeze them?

You can also freeze the buns by wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap and placing them into a freezer bag.  Frozen sourdough can keep for 3 – 6 months.

Is sourdough bread good for you?

Some studies show that sourdough bread acts as a prebiotic or ‘good’ bacteria which can aid with a healthy digestive system.  Delicious and good for you!

Rustic sourdough buns in a basket.

More Sourdough Recipes To Try

Sourdough buns in a basket with one cut in half.

Rustic Sourdough Buns

These sourdough buns have the familiar tang of sourdough, with a crisp crust and soft interior, and are perfect for sandwiches and burgers!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 5 buns


  • ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons active sourdough starter 100 grams
  • cups +2 ½ tablespoons all purpose flour (312 grams)
  • ¾ cup water (lukewarm) (175 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons seeds of choice (chia, sesame, poppy, sunflower & pumpkin seeds).*

*If using pumpkin or sunflower seeds soak them for 10 minutes in a cup of water. This keeps them from burning while in the oven.


    • In the mixing bowl mix together the water, honey and sourdough starter to combine. Add the flour ⅓ at a time, knead for 5 minutes (speed #2) then add the salt and continue to knead for another 5-6 minutes.
    • Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and from into a ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl turning to lightly cover the dough and let rest 1 hour.
    • On a lightly floured flat surface, gently pat the dough into a rectangle and fold like an envelope, turn the dough 90 degrees and refold. Again form into a ball place again in the bowl, sprinkle with a little rice or semolina flour, cover and place in the least coldest part of the fridge. Let rise 8-12 hours. The dough can also be placed in a warm draft free area and let rise 4-5 hours.
    • When the time has passed, place again on a lightly floured flat surface and divide into 4-6 balls. Place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm draft free area for 1 hour.
    • Pre-heat oven 400F (200C).
    • Spray or brush the buns with a little water, sprinkle with seeds of choice. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Move immediately to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
    Keyword sourdough bread, sourdough buns
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


    1. Flour measurement has to be more then 1 1/2 T.? Please revise, would like to try this recipe. Thank You. Mary

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