Gluten Free Hamburger Buns – Celebrating Gluten Freedom

All good things come back, right?

I’ve been thinking about this post since last week. Friday, to be exact. I’ve tried to figure out the best photo, the best wording, etc. But what I’m left with is the same post I had been planning since before Friday.

Friday was a wild-ride-of-a-day for me. In the fantastical sense. Really.

I teach high school (aka “get paid to have people throw ping pong balls at my head for 6 hours a day“). And Friday was the last day of school before Spring Break. Friday + Spring Break + Teenagers + Sugar (it was Treat Day) = WILD RIDE.

The kids were “adopting” (really…this is the beginning of the irony) other kids “creatures”. They are writing letters in Spanish about their Break to this newly “adopted” “best friend”. (It’s a long story, but you have to understand the “adopting” part for my day to make any sense at all.) And it was Friday Treat Day when the kids – if they want – bring in treats to share with each other. And this is where the giving began.

You see teenagers (and people in general) are really amazing. My students know that I can’t eat the same things they do and they usually end up asking a few questions out of curiosity and then they start to figure it out. On Friday Treat Day, kids bring in extra towels to clean up so I don’t have to touch anything that might get me sick. They often show up with two types of treats in hopes that I can eat one of them. And then Friday they blew me away. One girl made gluten free chocolate chip cookies for me and popcorn balls for everyone. Such a sweet kid, really. I enjoy her greatly in class and it felt wonderful to be so included.

And then in the afternoon, a young freshman boy had volunteered to bring the treats for his class. At the beginning of class he was anxious as he had left the treats at home (of course) and his mother had to bring them in…. and she was running late. Nothing is worse that being a freshmen in an upper level class without promised food on a Friday… let me tell ya. When his mom arrived, she gracefully entered the room carrying 60 (!!!) chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting – all GLUTEN FREE! I was shocked! I also secretly worried about what the kids would think about the flavors, textures, etc of gluten-free food. (If you are wondering, let me just say this…. no cupcake survived to live another minute as everyone ate two!).

As if these acts of amazing kindness were not enough, the universe just felt the need to open up a window for me to show me more. You see, my husband and I are in the midst of adoption planning, fund-raising, praying, etc. And what that entails is time, energy, and creative thinking on our budget (school teacher and social worker). One day at school I was talking to a colleague about it all (the energy, the worry, etc) and the reasons why we have chosen not to try fertility. In her room at the time was her “student-teacher”, a woman who has chosen to enter the teaching field as a second career. We talked about miscarriages (mine) and stillbirths (hers and my cousins) and the grieving process. We talked about an art show that my sister had organized and in which I had participated. We talked about the amazing bonds of humanity with pregnancy and pregnancy loss regardless of whether you are male/female – you have been impacted at the core of your person. Oh. It was a great conversation.

And then just this last Friday, she made me cry all over again. She left the most beautiful note in my mailbox at school with a couple hundred dollar bills tucked inside. She told me that the money was a gift from her mom for her birthday and Christmas together. But since she felt she didn’t “need” anything nor have want of anything, she had tucked the money away for keeping. In coming across the money while cleaning she had decided to send it to me and my husband for our adoption fund. She gave it to me as a gift from a mother to her daughter so that another woman could become a mother too.


Yes. I crumbled in the hallway while reading her beautiful words.

It felt like I had been watching this dream of being a mother through a closed, smudged window for ages and someone had just cracked the window open enough for me to breathe in the fresh air. I am still completely overwhelmed by her act of love and kindness. Completely.

And while I walked into her class, sobbing, and hugged her for however long I could manage, I just repeated “I don’t know how to thank you.” Because I honestly don’t. The poor students in the room (half of which were mine too) were silent and worried. One asked if I was okay and I told them yes, of course. I was just overwhelmed with joy and kindness. I then told them that there are sometimes not enough words in the world to adequately reflect the love and gratitude that you can feel in your heart. And that, they understood completely.

So why am I posting about hamburger buns? Well, have you met Steve? (Okay, me neither…not yet… but I hope to!) Steve has a plan for an act of kindness in April with his “Celebrate Gluten Freedom” event. I’m all over it. And since I can’t sit down and have a BBQ with Steve and Ginger as we would all like, I decided to bring the buns anyway. 🙂 Hey. Gotta try something!

These are great buns and are still tender the next couple days. They are firm enough to split and toast on the grill too. Now that’s what I call a BUN!

May your week hold as many delights and surprises from the human spirit as you think you can handle – and then some.
Happy Hamburgers and BBQs!

Kate’s Hamburger Bun Recipe
3/4 cup warm water + tablespoons until smooth cookie dough
2 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar -“raw sugar”, or just plain ol’ sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoon yeast
1 egg, separated
2/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup powdered buttermilk or sweet dairy whey
1/4 cup tapioca starch flour
1/4 cup potato starch (NOT flour)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 200F
  2. Proof yeast in warm water (not higher than 120F), butter and sugar.
  3. Separate egg (reserve yolk). Whip egg white until firm peaks form and set aside in a small bowl.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together millet, sorghum, powdered buttermilk, tapioca flour, potato starch, salt, and xanthan gum.
  5. Add reserved yolk to yeast mixture. Pour into mixing bowl of dry ingredients and beat together thoroughly.
  6. Fold in whipped egg white.
  7. Prepare muffin rings/pan. Line a pan with a silpat or parchment paper. Place 6 rings on pan (3″ rings). Spray the inside of the rings with olive oil. (Spritz the parchment paper with olive oil as well.)
  8. Evenly scoop the dough into the six muffin rings by dipping a spatula/spoon in water and then scooping. Smooth the tops of the dough with wet fingers or a wet spatula to avoid it from developing tips that will burn.
  9. Turn off the oven. Slide the pan into the warm oven and allow the buns to rise for 40 minutes.
  10. At 40 minutes, dough should have practically doubled in size.
  11. Leave the pan in the oven and turn the temperature to 350F.
  12. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown on top (almost a deep brown) and completely set. The buns will be soft but NOT squishy.
  13. Remove from oven allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting out of the rings. Cool additionally on a cooling rack before storing in an airtight container on the counter top.


  1. Cassandra says:

    Oh, how beautiful and wonderful and selfless and loving!
    (And the buns look nice, too.)

  2. What a touching story! People are amazing.

    (And your buns look good! Take that anyway you wish!! 😉 )

  3. Gluten Free Steve says:

    Now that I can see again from my eyes welling up, I can comment. What a beautiful story, and thoughtful students and coworkers you have. Sometimes, such acts of kindness catch me off guard and I start to get all choked up. I was in Wendy’s yesterday, and this senior woman had spilled her drink and needed a new one. The Wendy’s employee helped this woman, took her tray to her table for her so she wouldn’t have to wobble, cleaned it up and all the while, just kept saying hi to everyone and wishing them to have a good day. I wanted to hug the employee! I walked over to her and told her she’s got a good heart.

    We are all so fortunate to become connected via gf living (and it IS living!) and gluten FREEDOM! and by the Net, we are all so blessed.

    Kate, thanks for a great posting today and for the recipe. It’s a much needed recipe.

    Happy Gluten FREEDOM to each of us.

  4. Kate,

    What a great story, and God Bless you as you head down the road to adoption. While I am not a teacher, I have to say that we have had great school experiences too from other children in our kids classes, and have also me a lot of understanding parents along the way that are more than accomodating – even offering to make a gfcf cake for their child just so my children could share the cake.

    The buns look great! We haven’t gone done the road to adding yeast in our kids’ diets, but when we do, I have this recipe filed away.

    Take care.


  5. Hey Kate

    These look good! You always amaze me with the results you get at bread making! I havent actually done much in the way of of GF breadmaking but am collecting recipes, for not too distant day when I do


  6. Kate, your story is absolutely heartwarming. My husband and I are experiencing similar things, and looking into adoption…we just cannot afford it all. I completly understand your feelings, and it is so wonderful that you have such a compassionate co-worker.

    Your hamburger buns look great as well, I have been looking for a good recipe…I will try this out very soon!

    Thanks for your kind comments, Tiffany. I’m sorry to hear that you and your husband are in the same boat regarding adoption. It *IS* amazingly, astoundingly expensive. And we are trying to figure out some fund raiser ideas to make it a possibilty for us too. We are determined to figure it out too.

    Your blog looks delicious – I’m adding a link. 🙂 Thanks for the comment and kindness!

  7. I have to say that the day you and I “cyber” met was a special day in my life. This post will show the world why you are such a special part of my gluten freedom. I don’t mind being gluten free — just don’t make me be KATE FREE!

  8. That is the sweetest thing. Sometimes it blows me away how generous people can be. You are in my prayers….praying God opens the way for you to adoption!

  9. What a moving post. I wish you and your husband all the best and think that your kid (kids?) will be very lucky to have you as parents. You certainly seem like an awesome teacher.

    Good luck with your adoption.

    And thank you for alerting me to Gluten-Free Steve’s random acts of kindness event. Beautiful.


  10. I can’t wait to try this recipe — and congratulations! We adopted our child seven years ago. Now we’re learning the gluten-free ropes because it turns out she is sensitive to it. It’s a wonderful world of food and friendship!

  11. glutenfreesoxfan says:

    Help! What did I do wrong? I tried to make these last night, but when I took them at of the oven, they sank really flat. They still taste quite good (I cut one open and toasted it for breakfast), but it looks more the shape of an english muffin than a burger roll. I used a hamburger-roll pan, not rings. And I did have to make one substitution – I couldn’t find powdered buttermilk or sweet dairy whey, so I used regular powdered milk. Was this my problem?

    Now, I’m not going to complain too much — they do taste really good and they will work fine for burger rolls. They just weren’t as pretty as yours! 🙂


    Hmm… I don’t know, Karen. I wonder if maybe your oven runs a little cooler than mine? When my GF stuff sinks, I think it is because I haven’t quite baked it long enough to set. I doubt the change of powdered milk would make such a huge difference (that would be more about taste and moisture). I think maybe the difference in size/pans might be it? I’m GLAD they taste well (hooray!). Maybe next time bake them a few minutes longer? If the tops are browning too fast. cover the top with foil and then bake for the last few minutes. I’ve also baked for the set time and then shut the oven off, cracked the door open those first several inches and let the breads start to cool in the oven.
    Oh… I hope these ideas help! Anyone else have sinking breads? What do you do?

  12. Just experimenting with gluten-free food but I like the whole story very much–okay if I link?

  13. Kate, I just read this post today while looking up hamburger and hot dog buns after discovering the brand I’d been buying has tested positive for gluten. *sigh* Anyway, the part of the story about the fellow teacher giving you the money with the incredibly sweet note made me teary-eyed! Thanks for sharing it.

  14. HElp Kate, where do I get the muffin rings to make these with? I have been hunting and no luck!

    • Rose –
      You can order them from Amazon here or use tuna cans (just remove top and bottom of the cans, wash well, and wa-lah: rings!). Hope this helps!

  15. Marla Senter Morris says:

    I am a gluten free adoptee, with six adopted kids. Although we share no biology, my mother, myself, and my daughter are gluten-free!
    I have walked the adoption path 4 times, and have also been overjoyed.
    Love & Prayers to you on this joyous, tumultuous journey!


  1. […] whipping the egg whites to see if it will lighten the rolls a bit. (This idea worked to lighten the hamburger buns I made […]

  2. […] I’m also going to be trying to make Carrie’s bagels as well as a chickpea crepe that is a common Italian snack.  I’ll post about that later.  And if I get to it before Friday’s cookout, I’m going to try making Gluten Free Gobsmacked’s Hamburger Buns. […]

  3. […] for a good hamburger bun recipe recently. Kate, over at Gluten Free Gobsmacked came up with a great hamburger bun recipe I need to try (once I get my butt in gear and get some millet flour!). I’ve adapated my yeast […]

  4. […] with gluten free buns or lavash bread or without.  Serve with tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, feta cheese, tomato relish, […]

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