Natural Squid Ink Black Burger Buns

4.95 from 18 votes
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These all-natural squid ink black burger buns are the perfect way to impress (or scare) your friends and family, as well as add intrigue to your next burger recipe!

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ll know that last year I catered an event with one theme. Black. I made black foods of all kinds, dips, crackers, mini burgers etc. And now is the perfect time to share my all-natural coloured, squid ink black burger buns!

all natural squid ink black burger buns

I originally wasn’t sure that anyone would really want the recipes for any of these. What with them looking a little bit eepy-creepy. But, although it may not look like it, I never serve up a recipe that isn’t delicious and I think you’ll love these homemade burger buns as much as I do.

Plus, they’re brioche style hamburger buns, which is possibly the best type of burger bun you can get. I love the texture of brioche rolls and these black buns take them to the next level. 

What makes the burger buns black?

For these squid ink black burger buns I have, of course, used squid ink (or cuttlefish ink) for the all-natural colouring. What I love about squid ink, is that it’s extremely heat-stable. Meaning, you won’t find yourself disappointed after baking with some, lacklustre, odd-looking ‘grey’-ish buns.

close up of black burger bun in hands

For a Vegan alternative, I have seen activated charcoal burger buns. However, as activated charcoal (i.e. coconut and bamboo charcoal) is used to rid your body of toxins from poison, it can also wreak havoc on your gut as it binds to the healthy vitamins and minerals in your food and gut too.

There’s a lot more too it than that, and I don’t know enough about it medically to be an expert on the matter. However, it’s definitely something I feel the need to note before suggesting anyone use these items in their home baking.

Also, that’s not to say that I’ve never used it within a recipe or that you should never have any yourself. I’d just be wary with how much you consume and how often. Especially these days as it seems there are new charcoal products being brought out monthly – from charcoal ice-cream to toothpaste, etc.

What does Squid Ink taste like?

fully raised dough with black squid ink

Squid ink does have a fishy/salty ‘tastes like the sea’ thing going on – unsurprisingly. However, within these bread rolls it’s definitely not massively noticeable. Really, all it adds is a little extra saltiness to the rolls. PLUS, when using the buns for flavourful burgers, relishes and cheese etc. you’re unlikely to taste the squid ink.

How to make the all-natural black ink squid burger buns

To make the black burger buns, the process is basically the same as any brioche bun recipe (with the same, pillow-y, delicious results!). Plus, there’s absolutely no need for a bread machine or anything fancy, other than a stand mixer with a dough hook. 

ingredients for burger buns including black squid ink 

The first thing you need to do is mix the milk, water, squid ink and yeast together.
wet ingredients for brioche bun recipe

Leave this to stand for 10 minutes at room temperature until it begins to foam. This takes around ten minutes as the yeast is activating.

activated yeast ready to make black burger buns

In a mixer bowl add the bread flour, salt and star anise powder. Mix till thoroughly combined.

flour, salt and , herbs in bowls

flour, salt and herbs in mixing bowl

dry ingredients for hamburger buns, mixed

Next, using the stand mixer on its lowest setting with a dough hook, incorporate an egg and the squid ink mixture.

black squid ink yeast starter, butter, egg and dry ingredients for brioche buns

In intervals of around 20g at a time, add 100g butter to the dough while mixing on medium, until a shiny, smooth dough has formed.

ingredients for black brioche buns waiting to be kneaded by stand mixer

Leave it mixing until a dough is formed. The dough hook will also knead the dough for you.

ready dough for squid ink black burger buns

Grease a large bowl with butter and place your dough into the bowl as it’s now time to let the dough rise. 

black squid ink dough ready in a bowl

black squid ink dough resting with a cover

Once your dough has proved, weigh and divide the dough into 12-15 pieces, depending on the size of buns you want.

fully risen black squid ink dough

Now, shape these into balls (you can be as precise or ‘loose’ with these as you want).

black bun dough separated into pieces

Place them on a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place again for around half an hour.

Note* The dough balls I made vary in weight from 30-70g as I prefer smaller, cuter buns and was experimenting with sizes.

black brioche dough on oven tray for buns

leaving dough to rise under cheesecloth

It’s now time to create the egg wash; Mix the remaining egg with a little bit of water or milk to brush over the buns. I use whole beaten eggs, however, you can use the egg white alone as we don’t really need any ‘golden brown’ effect for these black buns.

Next step, bake the buns.

Sprinkle the buns with black sesame seeds, a mixture of black & white or even some hemp seeds.

sprinkling seeds over homemade burger buns

Then bake the buns in a pre-heated oven at 200ºC degrees for around 15 minutes. I’d suggest checking on them at around 10 minutes, especially when making mini buns. Once cooked, leave to cool on a cooling rack.

These are then ready to be eaten. I love to have one warm with butter- delicious!

oven baked black burger buns

How to store the black brioche buns

I have to admit, I’ve usually only made these buns when they are being used on the same day so I’ve never fully tested how long the buns will last. As with many fresh-baked breads, I always advise 2-3 days maximum though for optimal freshness. 

Brioche buns can also be frozen for up to two months. To do this, place the rolls in a single layer, in an airtight bag. This will stop the bread from getting freezer burn.

You can also individually wrap the buns, before placing them in the bag. This will not only stop them from sticking together but I’ve also read that this can retain moisture in the bread.

If you give this black burger bun recipe a go then leave your comments below. Also, I love seeing your recreations so feel free to tag me @AlphaFoodie.

Natural Black Burger Buns

4.95 from 18 votes
By: Samira
These all-natural squid ink black burger buns are the perfect way to impress your friends and family, as well as add intrigue to your next burger recipe!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 15 small buns

Ingredients 
 

  • 1/2 cup milk warm
  • 3/4 cup water warm (more if needed)
  • 2 tBsp cane sugar
  • 1 tBsp squid ink
  • 2.5 tsp dry yeast
  • 3 cups white bread flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp Anise powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 grams butter

Instructions 

  • The first thing you need to do is mix the milk, water, sugar , squid ink, and yeast together and leave this to stand for 10 minutes until it begins to foam. This takes around ten minutes as the yeast is activating.
  • In a mixer bowl add the flour, salt and star anise powder and mix till thoroughly combined then, using the stand mixer on its lowest setting, incorporate an egg and the squid ink mixture and leave to combine until a dough is formed.
  • In intervals of around 20g at a time, add 100g butter to the dough while mixing on medium, until a shiny, smooth dough has formed.
  • Grease a large bowl with butter and place your dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a cheesecloth and leave in a warm place with 1.5 hours. In this time the dough should double in size.
  • Once your dough has proved, weigh the dough and divide it into 12-15 pieces depending on the size of the buns you want. *
  • Now, shape these into balls (you can be as precise or ‘loose’ with these as you want, depending on how ‘perfectly’ shaped you want the buns to be) and place them on a lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place again for around half an hour.
  • Mix the remaining egg with a little bit of water or milk to brush over the buns. I used the whole egg, however, you can use the egg white alone as we don’t really need the ‘browning’ effect for these black buns.
  • Sprinkle the buns with black sesame seeds, a mixture of black & white or even some hemp seeds and then bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C degrees for around 15 minutes. I’d suggest checking on them at around 10 minutes, especially when making mini buns. Once cooked, leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Video

Notes

Note* The dough balls I made vary in weight from 30-70g as I prefer smaller, cuter buns and was experimenting with sizes.
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: 2 Months
Shelf life: 2 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1Bun, Calories: 164kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 294mg, Potassium: 52mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 211IU, Calcium: 18mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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16 Comments

    1. Hi Eugenia,
      I find that it’s not really noticeable, especially because I add anise powder. I feel all it adds is a little extra saltiness. You can also add other dried herbs to the flour to mask the taste if you want.

    1. This will depend on where you live – though I’ve found that it’s easy to source online too. Amazon has some available in the UK, so that may be the case elsewhere too.

    1. Hi Eliane,
      Yes, you could leave the squid ink out. If you use curry powder, please note that it might add flavor to the burger buns. Maybe start with just a bit so that it adds color but not too much flavor. I hope this helps.

  1. Hi! Does it work well with almond milk instead of cow milk? And what about leaving the anise powder out? I’m making these for tomorrow’s barbecue!
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Miris,
      I haven’t tried it yet, but normally you can substitute it with almond milk at a 1:1 ratio.
      If needed, yes, you can leave the anise powder out. I hope this helps.

    2. Hi, this looks great. Can i leave out the anise powder? What purpose does it serve? I am not particularly fond of anise powder.

      1. Hi Rebekah,
        Yes, you can leave the anise powder out. It’s used to give a bit of flavor. You could also replace it with your preferred spice. I hope this helps.

    1. Hi Zizi, you can make wild yeast starter / sourdough starter, I have the detailed steps on my instagram highlights (alphafoodie) but will be also uploading the method here very soon.

      1. the sugar is added in step one with the yeast. It helps to feel and activate the yeast 🙂

      2. Need 160 of these, can I freeze the dough in sliders size ball. When needed pull them out the freezer then let sit then bake?

      3. Hi Telisa,
        You would be better off baking the buns and then freezing them. You can unthaw them when you need them. I hope this helps.