Achieving soft and fluffy hamburger buns is easier said than done. The seemingly simple rounds are made more difficult because many recipes require a mold to help them achieve their hallmark flat bottom and nicely rounded appearance. Skip expensive hamburger bun baking trays that take up space in your kitchen and instead opt for some easy do-it-yourself alternatives.
Aluminum Foil Molds
One of the simplest solutions is to use aluminum foil to form individual molds that can then be placed on a baking sheet for cooking. Create several small cups measuring about 4 inches in diameter for a standard-size bun or make them different sizes based on your preference. Cut individual layers of foil into rounds and use your fingers to pinch the sides up to hold the dough in its shape. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray and flatten the bottom of each bun once it is in the mold.
Tin Cans and Jar Lids
An economical solution, tin cans and jar lids are also an easy way to create a do-it-yourself hamburger bun mold. Use old tuna fish cans or wide-mouth canning jar lids to create perfect-sized buns for your hamburgers. Line the lids or cans with parchment paper and spray them with non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking before filling the molds with dough and baking. Allow the tins and lids to cool before removing the buns from them, and when using cans, be careful of sharp edges.
Muffin Top Pan
A muffin top baking pan is nearly identical to the hamburger bun-baking sheet, with depressed spaces for holding muffin tops measuring 4 inches across and 1/2-inch deep. If you have this bake ware in your arsenal, there is no need to double up and buy another baking mold, since this is a near-perfect solution. Form hamburger buns into rounds measuring the same diameter as your baking sheet and press them in to the spaces, being sure not to make the dough too thick, because it will rise further while cooking.
Go Pan Free
A pan simply allows you to create uniform buns that have smooth edges and a visible delineation between the top and bottom of the bun. However, with a little practice, you can shape near-perfect hamburger buns on your own and bake them alone on a baking sheet prepared with non-stick cooking spray. Hand-shaped hamburger buns will not be as clean and precise as ones baked in a mold, but in a pinch, they work just fine.